The six-pack. Every man in the world wants one but only few will do what it takes to get it. No, it is far from easy and the lucky bastards with the genetics to be born with visible abs are not part of this discussion. This is for the vast majority of males longing for what every female looks for in a man – and if your lady friend tells you otherwise, she is just being kind.
Now that you’re totally demoralized, it’s time for some advice on how to change that.
Doing cardio is a must if you have any hope of obtaining a six-pack and it is no coincidence that we have chosen to list this first. Running and/or walking on a treadmill is not the best option for cardio and – if results are expected – very time consuming, as well.
Doing 20 and 30-yard sprints with little rest in between each one are a much wiser choice. No track or football field available nearby? You’re not getting away with it that easy, pal. These can be done right on your block where you live.
Start off with 20 yards for the first two and give yourself a five-to-10-second rest in between. This will give you a crash course in how H.I.I.T. works. Not familiar with that? It stands for High Intensity Interval Training and will get your high rate up and burn fat off your body.
Do two full football fields (120 yards each way, counting both end zones) or two blocks; the choice is yours.
Drink as much water as you like and force yourself to get in more. You may need to find a bathroom often but it is totally worth it. Water is not only a necessary component for good health, but is imperative if you expect to possess a nice set of abs.
Here is a suggestion that will surely pay off in the long run: besides drinking water throughout the day, include a 20-ounce glass 20 minutes before and after each meal. And, of course, during your meal. That’s right; put the soda (regular or diet) back on the shelf.
Following up on the above soda reference, sugary foods need to be either cut out or cut back drastically. (Diet soda is just an excuse to eat unhealthier and contains a plethora of chemicals that are terrible for you.) Sugar turns to fat; plain and simple. So abdominal muscles will continue to be hidden under that layer.
4. BAD CARBS
They taste great, just like sugary foods. But in a similar fashion, bad (or simple) carbs will continue to stunt your quest for a six-pack. Breads, especially white, need to be left in the basket on the restaurant table.
5. GOOD CARBS
We’ll get you off the ledge by allowing carbs in this diet, albeit of the complex variety. Whole grains such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes and brown rice not only could, but should be eaten. A no or low-carb diet will drain all of your energy and you’ll have nothing to get you throughout the day or your workout (we’ll get to that next).
The new chic word in the fitness industry is ‘core,’ and it basically means your abs and lower back. The scheme behind it is that one side will strengthen the other, so work both. The most basic movement to accomplish this is the plank and if done correctly, you will feel it in your mid-section, lower back and even legs and arms. Do four sets of a one-minute plank with 30 seconds of rest in between.
7. WEIGHTED AB EXERCISES
Building muscle is not rocket science. You have to increase the resistance as your body grows accustomed to it if you want to see results and improvements. So while your abs differ greatly from your quads or chest, some extra weight used in abdominal exercises is going to help build that muscle group and hasten the entire process.
There is an argument that using weights for abs will make you look blocky and that may have some credence. But our recommendation to you is to use a light-to-moderate amount of weight just to give it that additional resistance. Keep the rep count high, though, in the 25-to-50 range per set. So if your form is lousy and you can’t meet that amount of reps, the weight is too heavy for you.
8. BREATHING/STRETCHING EXERCISES
Stretching your muscles before and after training is always a good way to go so why would you overlook your abs? Some basic breathing in and out and holding it will enable you to feel these muscles and have better control over them. The stretching can be as simple as standing and reaching high and doing the same lying flat on the ground.
Also try these out: while sitting at a red light or rinsing off in the shower, do sets of 10 of pushing out your abs, tightening them and holding it for a five count.
9. TIGHTEN YOUR CORE DURING EXERCISE
Here’s a trick that many of the top IFBB pro bodybuilders on the circuit use and many of them do not even do isolation exercises for their chiseled abs. During any movement, keep your core tightened. Be cognizant of it and while doing lat pull downs, for example, get your core involved, as well.
Getting enough rest after exercising is imperative for your overall health and that includes losing fat and eventually seeing those much sough-after abs. Seven or eight hours per night would be the ideal number so even if your schedule is a tight one, try to get as close to that as possible.