How to Get the Great Abs You’ve Always Had – Three Tips for Losing Belly Fat and Looking Better
We all want great abs – lean and chiseled six-pack abs. And we’d do almost anything to lose that belly fat and look better at the beach or in the bedroom. The thing is, though, you’ve already get fairly decent abs. It’s just that no one can see them . . . yet. To get the great abs you’ve always wanted (and already have to some degree), you just have to do three simple things: jettison the myths, choose the right exercises, and implement the right diet (the most important of all).
Jettison the Myths
- The first of these old weight-loss myths is spot reducing. There just isn’t any such animal. To lose abdominal fat you’ve got to lose fat all over your body. Then and only then will your abs begin to peek through. And for holistic fat loss you’ll need both exercise and diet.
- Second, high reps are for fat loss and getting cut. Wrong. We all know the best tool for burning fat and building muscle is progressive resistance exercise – weight training. The problem, though, is that most of us still cling to the old myth that says you’ve got to do thousands of reps when you’re trying to lose weight. But that’s terribly outdated. If you build some abdominal muscle – with lower reps and heavier weights – while you’re burning off the fat, your abs will show sooner. And additional muscle mass speeds up your metabolism, which means even more and faster fat loss.
- Third, and most counterproductive of all, is the idea that significant weight/fat loss can be achieved only through a severe and extended caloric deficit. Wrong again. Your body is made for survival, and this kind of near-starvation diet, for more than just a few days, will send your body into famine mode. And you’ll wind up losing muscle mass and gaining fat. Not good.
Choose the Right Exercises
So now you’re at the gym and ready to get started on getting those great abs. What do you do? Treadmill? Stationary bike? Dumbbell curls? Nope, nope, and nope. Here’s what you do:
- You need to concentrate on the big compound movements (with free weights if at all possible) – the movements that engage as many muscles as possible – such as squats, deadlifts, pull ups, overhead presses, bent rows, and bench presses. (NB: If you’ve never done these before, get a good coach or trainer to help you learn proper form. And if you’re beginning an exercise program for the first time, be sure to check with your physician first.) The virtue if these exercises is that they not only build muscle, but they also speed up your metabolism. And, consequently, your body becomes more efficient at burning away fat.
- And when it comes to abdominal exercises, forget the crunches. Concentrate on exercises that will build the most stomach muscle in the shortest amount of time. (You do want the most bang for your buck, don’t you?) Instead, try weighted sit-ups, hanging leg raises, and Roman chair sit-ups. These are difficult and demanding exercises, but they work. When you take off the stomach fat, you’ll have washboard abs to show.
Implement the Right Diet
As mentioned earlier, you already have good abs. They just can’t be seen because there’s a layer of belly fat covering them. So lose the fat, and you’ve got envious abs. And this is where diet comes in – exercise alone won’t do it. Now, in theory, a fat-loss diet is pretty simple. The hard part comes in when we try to put it into practice. But you should fare well if you keep the following in mind:
- Eat Clean One easy step toward getting those great abs is just to start cleaning up your diet. Get rid of the sodas and beer (pretty tough for some of us), eschew all processed foods, skip the fast food, and eat lean meat and fresh vegetables. Really, we all know how to do this. Keep a food diary for a few days, and you’ll be surprised at how much junk you’ve been stuffing down your neck.
- Eat for What You’re Going to Do – You need to eat for what you’re going to be doing for the next 2-4 hours. Are you headed to the gym to work out? Then you’ll need some protein for muscle repair and a good quantity of carbs for fuel. Are you in for the evening and going to bed soon? Then you’ll need some slow-assimilating protein for repair – but no carbs because you’ll be expending hardly any energy. Just think ahead, and eat accordingly.
- Drink Plenty of Water and Get Enough Fats – We all know we should drink lots of water. But it’s hard sometimes when you’re on the go and constantly offered coffee and soda. But it’s vital, so do it. The other thing is fats. You just have to have some good fats in your diet, fats from sources like olive oil, fish oil, egg yolks, nuts, and so on. These fats are essential for proper brain, nerve, and cell functioning. And you also want you body to learn to burn fat instead of carbs for energy. So continue your fat intake, and decrease your carb intake (except when you’re going to engage in some strenuous activity like working out).
- Eat Several Small Meals Throughout the Day – Ideally, you’d eat a mini-meal every 2 hours. It keeps your blood sugar at a constant level, revs up your metabolism, and keeps your body from going into famine mode as it can do when you eat only a huge meal once every 6 hours. As beneficial as eating every 2 hours is, for most of us it’s just not practicable. Still, you can get in a nutritious snack between meals that will do almost the same thing. But do your best – it’s important.
So there you have it: three tips for getting the great abs you’ve always had, but are now making better. All you have to do is jettison the myths, choose the right exercises, and implement the right diet. And always remember this: persistence pays off.
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