I’m going to let you in on a personal trainer’s trade secret. Doing lots of abdominal exercise is NOT the best way to get 6 pack abs. It doesn’t even come close to the level of effectiveness of the training and diet tactics I’m about to reveal to you.
It’s almost sad that there are so many people who think they can reduce belly fat and get 6 pack abs by doing lots of abdominal exercise. The truth is, this is a training myth known as spot reduction. Spot reduction assumes you can lose fat and achieve a toned look in a specific spot by doing exercises that work that specific spot.
The fact is, the human body is much more intricate than that. It’s energy systems are dynamic not compartmentalized. Following this belief (myth) will significantly inhibit the return on your training efforts. You may create stronger abdominal muscles but they’ll never show because there’s still that layer of fat wrapped around your midsection you haven’t dealt with properly yet.
What’s worse? Over training muscle groups without working other muscles that work with them in a balanced way leads to strength and flexibility imbalances. This also happens to be one of the leading causes of injury.
In this case, muscles that support the low back are the muscles working along with the abs. If you injure your back, you may be out of commission a while, or limited to what you can do. Then, you’ll have a hard time doing a lot of things you used to to do, let alone getting six pack abs.
Here are some of the most important elements in my fat burning 6 pack abs formula that will help you reduce belly fat and summon the elusive six pack abs.
My fat burning formula for six pack abs consists of 3 necessary components. They are: Strength (resistance) Training, Nutrition, and (Cardio) Interval Training. Without all of these in the right combination for your body type, your abs will definitely be lost forever.
Strength | Resistance Training
Strength training is THE best form of exercise for burning body fat and increasing your metabolism. When you perform strength training exercises your body will continue to burn many more calories long (days) after your workout is over as it uses the nutrients to repair and restructure its tissues. This is also the reason why combining the right training program with the right nutrition can seriously augment the shape of your body.
Strength training exercises that work large and multiple muscle groups at the same time work best. Why? Simply put, larger muscles like legs and back use much more energy (calories, and fat) than smaller muscle groups like abs, or biceps.
It might be hard for you to swallow, but ab exercises should be a very small part of overall training in relation to the rest of your workout. You certainly don’t need to dedicate entire workouts to your abs alone. But don’t worry your abdominal and core muscles do a lot of work during large, multiple muscle group exercises like squats for legs and rows for back since your stabilizing through your core while performing these movements.
Walking on the treadmill at a slow steady pace is the best way to burn fat, right? WRONG! This is yet another training myth I’ll deal with again in more detail later. For now here’s the bottom line.
As mentioned, strength or resistance training is no doubt THE best way to burn fat and change the way your body looks. In the way of cardio specifically however, the most effective cardio training strategy for fat burning is interval training. Interval training isn’t for everyone. especially if you’re just starting out, or have some physical or medical restrictions. You’ll need to work your way up a little first before you can really crank and start burning fat. If you’re intermediate to advanced then it’ll work very well for you. Interval training will keep your metabolism elevated for many hours after the workout is over. You continue to burn fat and calories long after you’re done.
During particularly intense interval training, such as High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.) you can accomplish more in 12-20 min. than over an hour of slow steady state cardio (like walking or jogging for an hour). So, interval training also accomplishes much more in less time. You’ll just need to work harder and condense your effort more intelligently, rather than meandering along for so long.
I could easily write, in fact i did write a book on nutrition alone. For now, I’m going to go over a few principles that are at the foundation of all good diets.
Most importantly, following any crazy crash course fad diet, or relying on the latest supplement will certainly be a recipe for failure in the long run. Eating healthy doesn’t mean starving or depriving yourself of the foods you love.
Be an Educated Consumer. Things are not as they appear.
Develop an awareness of what you take into your body – Read and more importantly, understand food labels and ingredients. Choose foods that are wholesome and natural with the food itself being the only ingredient or the food containing very few ingredients (3 or less). Just because a prepackaged food appears to be healthy through advertising on the label, doesn’t mean it is. Don’t be fooled. If the food has a long list of ingredients you can’t pronounce, then it’s not that good for you.
Drink plenty of water – Drinking plenty of water is one of the easiest and best things you can do to improve your health and your diet. It is also one of the most underestimated. Water is in fact the most important nutrient that affects physical performance. Drink at LEAST 6-8 glasses of water per day. Timing water intake around workouts or events is also one of the most important factors that affect performance.
Eat a wide variety of foods in moderation – a healthy diet summed up in one statement
Time and Portion properly. Eat regular well-balanced meals that include a mix of protein, carbohydrates (fiber), and fat (unsaturated w/ small amounts of saturated fat)
Listen to your body. Eat until you’re satisfied then stop. Don’t stuff yourself, and don’t deprive yourself and leave yourself feeling hungry either. Keep in mind It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register how full you are.
By taking in a wide variety of foods you’re giving your body all the nutrients it needs to function properly. By eating in moderation you never starve or deprive yourself. Spread well-balanced meals out evenly throughout the day so you’re not starving or gorging yourself. By following these basic guidelines you’ll feel fuller longer, allow your body to release it’s fat stores, and have much more energy all the time.
No magic pill or potion can take the place of proven science and proper nutrition combined with the right exercise program. If ever there were a magic formula for the body you want, this is it.