The elusive six pack abs. Hiding somewhere under there, the ab muscles are just begging to be toned and exposed–and with summer right around the corner–now is a great time to give them a chance! Six pack abs require a committed regime that includes calorie burning cardio, abdominal exercises, and careful attention to nutrition. Only with all the pieces of the puzzle in place will those six pack abs come to fruition.
Wherever you see a link in this post, it means I felt there was so much more to share about that section–so be sure to visit those links when you can!
This post is also linked up with Wild Workout Wednesday hosted by Annmarie from Fit Foodie Mama, Angelena Marie from Angelena Marie: Happy, Healthy & Balanced , Sarah at Creating Better Tomorrow and Amber at Bold Fit Mom to bring you workout ideas, motivation, inspiration and recipes to try. Check them out!
6 Tips for 6 Pack Abs
1. Eat Clean
The most challenging aspect of attaining six pack abs is reducing the amount of fat that covers them. Step one to solving that problem is to take a look at your diet–and not which one you are on.
The overall diet for six pack abs is similar to any healthy, weight loss diet. Focus on eating clean and the 80/20 rule to get your diet on track. Consume a diet of whole grains, lean protein, and vitamin rich fruits and vegetables. Know how many calories you should be consuming each day, and then plan meals accordingly. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and snack (if necessary) is a plan that will keep your metabolism burning, and keep your hunger satisfied. Portion control is also crucial. If you are eating too much of all the right foods, you will still end up with excess calories being stored as fat.
2. Drink Water
Keeping your body adequately hydrated can curb hunger and bloating. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks. Also try to avoid drinking alcohol which dehydrates the body, and often adds hundreds of excess, empty calories.
3. Burn Calories
Here’s the part where the goal is to expose the ab muscles. Only by burning calories will those abs ever come into sight. Running is a great for burning calories, HIIT workouts are an excellent addition to your program as well. Be sure to work at a high intensity to get the most out of your workouts.
4. Targeted Core Exercises
Six pack abs are created when the abdominal muscles are tight and toned. This means to achieve those six pack abs, you need to be working out the entire abdominal region on a regular basis. The rectus abdominus muscle, (the six pack), the external and internal obliques, and the transverse abdominus all need to be toned to get the entire six pack look. Varying your exercises, as opposed to just doing crunches, will help you work the entire region.
Many people believe the only road to six pack abs is hundreds of neck straining sit ups. However, there are numerous other effective exercises that will tone and tighten all areas of the abdominal region. Planks, side planks, and all their variations provide excellent crunch free alternatives. Click here for a sample, ‘crunch-free’ routine.
Isolating the abdominals takes focus on each and every repetition. When performing any abdominal exercise be sure to concentrate on tightening only the abdominal muscles. The most common complaint of neck strain often occurs because people are struggling to get through the movement. It is more effective to do 10 perfect, ab burning reps, than 20 straining ones. Soon those 10 will turn into 15 and those 15 will turn into 20. Focus on form and let the six pack abs come to you.
5. Hard Work
‘Don’t wish for something. Work for it.’
This is oh so true when it comes to six pack abs. You see the pictures everyday and wish you could have abs like that, well, it’s not going to happen unless you do something about it. And if you don’t ever try–you know what the result will be.
It also won’t happen overnight. Most people give up on their fitness goals because results aren’t immediate enough. Stay motivated and stay committed to your goal everyday. Immerse yourself in material that motivates you–read posts, watch videos, plan, learn.
Six pack abs require careful attention to nutrition as well as exercise. With hard work and commitment in those areas, you too can achieve the elusive six pack abs.
I love #6…I think people get so defeated quickly because they don’t realize health, fitness, wellness it is a LIFE TIME commitment…no short fix…commitment for life!
Sarah@creatingbettertomorrow recently posted…Take the Stairs Workout
Michelle Homan says
I know! 6 pack abs definitely show off a lifestyle more than the number of crunches someone can do.
I am not sure I will ever have a six pack but I just want to feel comfortable with my mid section enough to show it off every once in a whlie 😛
Annmarie recently posted…Mountain Goat Race Recap: The Road to Success Runs Uphill with Friends
Michelle Homan says
Haha…6 pack is a little over used sometimes! I’m just happy to see some sort of ‘pack’ as well (especially after 2 kids!) I guess it’s good to ‘shoot for the moon’ anyway!
Michelle Homan recently posted…6 Tips for 6 Pack Abs
jill conyers says
You’ve got the ab tips covered. I just recently started being more intentional with my ab workout instead of making it an after thought or often skipped due to time.
jill conyers recently posted…11 Ted Talks That Inspire Change
Michelle Homan says
Yes, me too! (Resulting in this post!) I always say, if you do one day of strength training, make it core strength. Besides a six pack, there are just so many benefits of a strong core, plus, many of the exercises (planks, etc) also work other body parts as well.
Angelena Marie says
These are all awesome tips! I had a “six pack” once in my life. I am working toward a flat tummy and just all around core strength now, especially after having one baby, and hoping for a second. It is so important to have that core strength when being active and carrying around a 3 year old during the day!
Thanks for linking up! I love your website 🙂
Angelena Marie recently posted…Wild Workout Wednesday + Chest and Arms Circuit Workout
Michelle Homan says
Thanks! Yes, I once too had that elusive six pack and took it for granted! Now after two kids I really have to focus on core strength!