Six pack abs have slowly but surely become the most desired aspect of a fitness program. All over TV and the movies men and women are walking around with ripped abs. From Brad Pitt in fight club to Megan Fox in Transformers, everyone wants to know how to get a flat, sexy midsection. The sad thing is everybody wants to do thousands of crunches instead of doing it the real way! I will show you some common myths and then explain to you the REAL way to get six pack abs with minimal effort! One summer I followed this method and got ripped without working out once! Try it for yourself and find out.
Myth - spot reducing
One of the biggest myths that circulates around gyms is the myth of spot reducing. This is the one that says doing hundreds of crunches will "burn away fat" on your stomach, making the abdominal muscles visible.
First of all, your body is not capable of losing fat from one area or another. When you lose fat, it happens when your body removes fat (from all areas of the body at once) and uses it for energy, much like if you ate a sandwich. If anything, the illusion created by doing hundreds of crunches is that the abdominal muscles will be "pumped" - that is the hundreds of reps will force blood to surge into the muscles, causing them to appear bigger and harder, seemingly "poking through" your stomach fat.
The truth is, everyone has a six-pack, it is just usually hidden under a layer of body fat on the stomach. How then, do you get rid of this body fat?
1. Start drinking more water Not only is water essential for your body to optimally burn fat, it can also help your body burn more calories. Every 8 oz. glass of ice-cold water you drink burns around 30 calories. Also, drinking more water will help you feel healthier by eliminating headaches created by dehydration. Your skin will also look a lot more healthy and clear with increased water intake.
2. Cut out simple sugars If you can't cut out simple sugars, you are going to have a very hard time getting a six-pack. The key to fat-loss is controlling insulin. Insulin is a storage hormone responsible for storing nutrients in fat cells. Eating a meal high in simple carbs (like sugar) causes your body to release a lot of insulin, spiking the levels of insulin in your blood stream. Many people eat three meals a day, filled with simple sugars and carbs. These three meals result in three large insulin spikes throughout the day, resulting in the majority of those nutrients being stored as fat. Cutting simple sugars out of your diet and replacing them with more complex carbohydrates will make the amount of insulin released by your body smaller, resulting in less fat storage. The other thing about insulin spikes is that they stop fat loss dead in it's tracks. This is why we need to keep insulin to a minimum when trying to get a six pack. Here is a list of foods to avoid, and good foods that you could replace them with:
Foods to avoid:
* Fruit juice
* Anything with "high-fructose corn syrup" in the ingredients list
* White bread
* White pasta
* Highly processed foods
Foods to replace them:
* Black Coffee
* Whole-wheat bread
* Whole-wheat pasta
* Splenda instead of sugar in coffee
3. Eat 4-6 small meals per day The idea behind eating 4-6 small meals per day instead of the traditional "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" is all about insulin control. As we discussed earlier, insulin control is vital to fat loss. Three big insulin spikes throughout the day is very detrimental to fat loss. Eating four to six small meals creates four to six small insulin releases and keeps fat storage to a minimum.
Eating many small meals also keeps your bodys fat burning engines churning. When you eat a meal, your body generates energy to try to digest it. This is called the theromogenic effect of food. Think of eating a meal like a workout. Eating three meals makes your body work hard to digest a big meal three times per day, and is not optimal for keeping this engine revving at full speed. However, if you eat four to six times a day (every 3-4 hours), your body will keep revving at full speed and the maximum amount of energy will be expended to digest the food (more energy expended = more fat burned).
4. Start lifting weights The more muscle your body has, the higher the capacity it has to burn fat. Also, the more muscle mass you add to your body, the less fat you have to lose to see your six pack. For example, say a 200-lb man has 10% bodyfat. This means that he has 180lbs of lean mass and 20lbs of fat. If the man adds 20 lbs of lean muscle, he now weighs 220lbs, but still has 20 lbs of fat. 20/220 X 100% = 9.09% bodyfat. Without losing any actual fat, the man brought his body fat percentage down one percentage, which can mean the difference between visible abs or not. You should use compound, multi-joint exercises such as squats, deadlifts, dips, chin/pull-ups, overhead presses, bench presses, heavy barbell curls, and dips as the core of your regimen.
5. Eat more protein Just like eating multiple meals, eating more protein has a thermogenic effect- it is harder for your body to break down so it takes energy. Protein also spares muscle tissue when you are losing fat. This is essential because while we want to burn calories, we want to make sure the calories that we burn are from fat and not from precious muscle tissue. Try to eat lean sources of protein such as chicken and turkey breast, egg whites, and fresh fish. (Tuna is awesome too by the way). You should shoot for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight every day. So if you weigh 150 lbs, you should eat 150 grams of protein per day. Spread out over 6 meals per day that is roughly 30 grams of protein per meal. You would cover this with a good sized chicken breast and a helping of rice. Another favorite of mine is the classic tuna salad sandwich on whole-wheat bread.
Stay tuned for example meal plans so you know EXACTLY what to do!
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