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What is the SECRET to having great abs?

One of the top questions I receive at dinner parties, social events, and even at the gym is “how can I get great abs”.  You’ve probably pondered that question at some time or another and you’re likely frustrated with your waistline. Maybe you’ve given up on your abs after doing dozens of crunches only to see zero results. I don’t blame you and before I knew anything about exercise I tried it.  It didn’t’ work.

Forget the infomercials that tell you that you can have great abs if only you buy their product –  crunches simply won’t give you a six pack. One of the most common myths about abs is the concept of spot reduction.  Spot reduction is the idea that if a person workouts an area like abs, they will be able to reduce fat in that specific area.  This is simply incorrect.  Simply put, training one area of your body will not specifically burn fat from that area.

So, what is the answer?  Reduce your overall body fat.  When a person loses fat, they lose it from head to toe.  Think of it as if you are wearing a fat suit.  This fat suit covers your face, your legs, your arms, etc.  The goal is to shrink the thickness of the fat suit.  Once your fat suit begins to shrink, you begin to see great abs.
How thick is your fat suit?  If it is thicker than you like, than you need to begin to take steps to lose body fat.
What are the steps to having great abs?
How often do you exercise? If your answer was anything less than 4 times a week, then that’s the first thing getting between you and streamline abs. How do you define a fat burning workout? A routine including intense cardiovascular training coupled with effective resistance training.

Also, walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes isn’t a fat blasting routine. Neither is a leisurely 20 minutes on the elliptical machine. The truth is that you can dramatically increase your results while investing less time when you exercise right.

Cardio exercise is all about maintaining an effective level of intensity. This doesn’t mean that you should be out of breath or gasping for air. It does mean that you need to push yourself.

Resistance training is the second key part of a fat burning workout.  It is your muscle that is the standard for your metabolism or metabolic rate.  The more muscle you have the faster your metabolism and the best way to build muscle is resistance training or weight training.

What kind of shape is your diet in? Diet is a big stumbling block for most people-especially as it relates to their midsection. Here’s a fact: If your diet is out of control then your abs will be too. You can’t trim your waist without trimming the junk out of your diet, regardless of how hard you exercise.

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.  One of the best tricks for fat loss that I have my clients do is to eat a bag of romaine salad or spinach salad per day.  This trick makes losing fat so much easier because salad in that quantity acts as an appetite suppressant.  Also, the health benefits are amazing – lots of fiber and nutrients.  For dressing, I have my clients add lemon, pepper and balsamic vinegar.
  • Just say “No” to junk food.While this may seem obvious, your definition of “junk food” may need an alteration. Refined sugar is one of the biggest culprits in the junk food world-it is found in soft drinks, blended coffee drinks, cookies, cakes, packaged snacks, and other sinfully sweet treats. Processed fat is another monster. As a rule of thumb you can safely view all processed or refined items as junk food.
  • Eat more frequently.The key here is to never let your metabolism “crash” by going hours without eating. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to skip breakfast-as this is the meal that ‘breaks the fast’ that your body goes into each night. Stick with eating small meals every few hours and always avoid stuffing yourself.
  • Add protein to every meal.  This would include fish, turkey, eggs, whey protein shakes, chicken, or pork.  This tip is important for many reasons; 1) It takes protein to build muscle, 2) Protein is hard to break down causing a thermogenic effect – you consume less calories from a protein meal, 3) Protein is filling.

 

You should now understand why you are better off not wasting time on crunches.  While it is important to exercise your abs a couple of times a week, it is not a long term solution to achieve your best body.