I see people at the gym doing crunches and sit-ups, pulling on their heads, compromising their form, and hoping that by doing so many abdominal exercises they will attain a flat stomach.
You’ve probably heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen” – the reason for that is because showing your abs is about fat loss and body composition more than it is about exercising your stomach.
There’s a little more to it than that, so today let’s take a look at 3 important factors in seeing the abs so you can approach this with the right mindset.
Overall fat loss is the only way to reduce abdominal fat. Plain and simple, we can’t spot reduce fat.
Fat comes off our body in the same order it came on, which is a little different for everyone. Some people struggle the most to lose the fat on their thighs, others their stomach. This is all to do with your genetics, and there’s no changing it. Since belly fat is often one of the last areas to go, overall fat loss is the only way to get to that point.
So when you start burning fat, it’s not guaranteed to come right off your abs just because you’re exercising your stomach.
There are a few great ways to target overall fat loss…
One of course is with your diet, and I don’t mean “go on a diet.” I mean support your body with enough food for your energy needs, and choose from wholesome sources of protein, carbohydrates and fats – with plenty of green foods in the mix.
2: HIIT Training
The second supporter of fat loss is to perform HIIT workouts – which stands for “high intensity interval training.” HIIT training has been shown to be more effective for fat loss than aerobic training (think steady state cardio).
HIIT workouts combine short bursts of high output with lower output exercise. One example is a “tabata” style workout, where you go all out for 0:20 intervals, followed by short rest periods of 0:10 and continue this for 4:00 total.
3: Resistance Training
Another component in reducing body fat overall (with the goal to see your abs) is to strength train. Resistance training helps build lean muscle (when accompanied by healthy eating – and by that I don’t mean eating salads).
You can get an amazing strength-training workout using your own bodyweight against gravity, or you can add equipment like dumbbells, stretchy bands or machines.
The more lean muscle you have on your body, the more calories you can burn at rest. So you will be a more efficient fat burner by carrying more muscle.
Muscle takes up 4 times less volume than fat, which is why when you add muscle and lose body fat you look and feel more compact — even if the number on the scale doesn’t move.
So we’ve established that in order to see the abdominals, we need to burn off the fat. But as far as the underlying STRENGTH of your abdominal muscles are concerned, remember to focus on strengthening the ENTIRE core for a balanced and supportive center.
While we see the “abs” because they’re in the front of our body, our CORE is made up of the entire section of our torso that wraps around from the front to the back. So to really create a strong and balanced base, you want to think about targeting that area 360 degrees around.
That means doing moves that activate your lower back muscles, your deep core stabilizers and side abs – as well as your lower and upper front abdominals. Interestingly, it’s harder to build abdominal muscle to its full capacity without focusing on the muscles that frame it.
The body is super smart and when you are building muscle on only one side of your body for example, you actually will hit a wall in the amount you’re able to develop. This is your body protecting you, as too much muscle on one side will put undue stress on your underlying bones and pull you out of alignment.
So be sure you’re adding moves that target your lower back as well as the different layers of abdominal muscle too!
Being consistent is key. If you’re training smart, you’ll be activating your core in almost all the activities you do.
Your NEXT 30-day CHALLENGE is on deck! It’s ABS and BOOTY!
⭐ The Booty and Abs 30-day Challenge will work your body head to toe, with a special emphasis on sculpting and defining your abs, booty and legs! ⭐