Many people assume that the road to six-pack abs is paved with hundreds upon hundreds of crunches. Those late night infomercials would have you believe that all you need to do is purchase their overpriced gimmick and use it three times a week to get the ripped, sexy midsection you dream of.
Save your money and abandon the crunch because there are far more efficient ways of earning rock hard abs. In fact, the things that you don’t do are just as important as the things you do. There are three major lifestyle changes you will need to make if you want abs to envy.
A Poor Diet Prevents Six Pack Abs
Diet is by far the biggest factor when it comes to seeing that six pack. You can do crunches until you’re literally blue in the face, but if your diet is less than nearly perfect, you will never see the effects of any exercise. People that have obvious abs haven’t necessarily worked them harder; they have just dialled in their diet with more discipline.
Depending on which professional you ask, you will likely be told that diet is about eighty percent responsible when it comes to fat loss. In order to see those abs, you will need to be lean and the leaner the better. You simply cannot work off the fat no matter how much or how hard you work out if your diet is filled with junk or excessive in calories.
Too Much Sugar Will Prevent a Six Pack
Sugar is simply poison when it comes to fat loss. Not only does sugar add excess empty calories, it creates a huge spike in blood sugar. When blood sugar rises, it causes a large amount of insulin to be released from the pancreas. Insulin is the hormone that is responsible for fat storage and too much insulin will only result in more efficient fat storage.
Not only does excess insulin promote the storage of fat, it seems to prefer to store that fat predominantly in the belly. Obviously this is a double-edged sword if your goal is to have washboard abs.
You will need to eliminate, or at the very least, cut down drastically on the amount of simple sugars you consume. This means avoiding sweets like cookies, candies, cakes, as well as juice, soda and other sugary beverages like mochaccinos and caramel lattes.
Try using stevia as a sweetener in place of table sugar. Stevia is an all natural sweetener that is very low in calories, sugar free and void of harmful chemicals found in other sweeteners.
Too Many Processed Foods
Processed foods like instant rice, white bread, packaged and pre-made meals are as much your enemy as sugar is. The more processed a food is, the less nutritious it is. Processed and refined products have been stripped of their goodness in the name of convenience. Not only are they loaded with harmful chemicals, dyes and preservatives, they are also detrimental to our physique.
When processed foods are consumed, blood sugar levels spike, much in the way they do when we consume a high sugar meal or snack. Since many processed foods are also high in sugar, this produces even more of a negative effect. In response, insulin levels rise and fat is stored.
As with excess sugar in our diets, a lifestyle that relies on instant and packaged foods will result in a higher percentage of body fat, both ugly subcutaneous fat and dangerous visceral fat. Visceral fat is the type that resides around the organs and is known to increase health risks like heart disease and stroke.
Not only will a diet rich in these two poisons potentially create a number of illnesses, it will also make it nearly impossible to see the abs that are so desired. As stated previously, the appearance of the six-pack is directly related to a person’s percentage of body fat. In order to see a ripped midsection, you absolutely must peel off the layers of pudge.
Complacency in your Workouts
It happens to all of us from time to time. We get complacent and perhaps a bit lazy with our workouts. Perhaps it’s boredom, or a hectic schedule or maybe an illness that’s zapped your energy. Whatever the reason may be, you’ll need to make some changes, ignite that motivation and put some extra effort into your workouts if you want to earn those abs.
Applying full intensity to your workouts is the only way you’ll burn all the necessary calories it takes to lean out while simultaneously sculpting a perfect six-pack. A well designed, balanced workout program is what you’ll need on paper but the effort put forth is all on you.
Doing hundreds of sit ups a day is inefficient when it comes to sculpting abs. Along with your full body resistance programs and possibly interval training, you will need to add a core component to your workouts that is balanced, effective and intense.
This means working the whole core in all directions, rotations and planes of motion. Exercises like planks, T stab push ups and side planks need to be put together with things like the hyperextension, woodchop, hanging leg raise and the bicycle to really round things out and work every part of the core, in all kinds of ways.
Living in a State of Stress
Stress has a huge impact on both our health and our appearance. While stress is a normal, unavoidable part of life, it needs to be managed in appropriate ways if we plan to stay lean and healthy.
Excess stress causes an increase in production of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is known to cause a rise in the release of insulin, which as we now know is responsible for the storage of fat. To make matters worse, cortisol also appears to have a preference for abdominal fat storage. Exactly what you don’t want if your goal is a washboard tummy.
The methods of managing stress are the same as the methods of eliminating belly fat. Consuming a diet rich in whole foods, veggies, fruits, healthy fats and lean protein, along with a workout program that is balanced, consistent and intense are both ways to lean out and reduce stress triggers simultaneously.
Eliminating processed foods and sugars from the diet has also been shown to help reduce the symptoms of stress and depression by regulating both hormones and neurotransmitters.
Six Pack Summary
There really is nothing top secret about getting a six-pack. It’s all about feeding your body well, working hard and keeping balance in your life so that you ward off stress to your best ability. Treat your body well, give it what it needs and you’ll be turning heads on the beach in no time.