Now that summertime is here, guys everywhere are hitting the gym to get ripped for the beach. Of the many beach muscles guys train, the six-pack is one of the most sought-after fitness goals…and one of the hardest to achieve. Before you start crunching away to create your own “Situation,” read this blog to make sure you do it right and don’t waste your time on silly gimmicks and commercials.
1. Learn some basic ab-natomy
In men, the stomach is usually the first place the body stores extra fat and the last place they will lose it — that’s why you’ll see so many older guys with giant pot bellies but skinny limbs. When training to get cut abs, it’s important to know that ab muscles aren’t created, but already exist. Everyone has muscle cells in their abdomen — the front of your stomach is one large muscle called the rectus abdominus that runs from below your chest all the way down to your bladder. The sides of your abs are the obliques and the inner abs are known as the transverse abdominus, which is the body’s natural weight belt. Although everyone has muscle cells in their abdomen, most peoples’ abs are undeveloped and have a layer of fat covering them; which is generally the result of being a couch potato.
2. Forget spot reduction
The biggest mistake guys make when training to get a six-pack is only doing countless ab exercises like sit-ups. This practice is called spot reduction, or the act of doing specific exercises for specific body parts to lose fat. The reality behind spot reduction is that unless you’re training for a sit-up or crunching competition, doing countless ab exercises will strengthen your abs, but will leave you with the same amount of fat compared with when you started. The burning sensation you feel when doing continuous ab exercises, or any exercise in general, is the build up of lactic acid, not the depletion of fat. The only tried and true methods of getting a six-pack include cardiovascular exercise, eating properly, and strength training, in addition to ab exercises.
3. Do cardio
If you are already lean, ab exercises will help build muscle definition and improve the appearance of your midsection. Check out these ab exercises that will help develop your core. Unfortunately if you are more than 40 pounds overweight, ab exercises won’t do much more than make you sore as hell. Muscle and fat are completely different cells, so to get a six-pack you must burn your fat reserves and develop your muscles. To do this, you will have to do some serious cardiovascular exercise in addition to ab work. When doing cardio, find something you enjoy doing. There are plenty of cool alternatives to running like Mixed Martial Arts training that will blast fat while helping to build your core.
4. Drop the pizza and the Natty Light, frat boy
If you’re doing cardio and lifting weights several hours a week, you won’t do your body any favors if you eat an extra large greasy pizza and down a 12 pack of beer after your workout. To lose body fat, you have to eat healthier by avoiding fried foods and sugary beverages. You may not want to hear it, but alcohol is probably one of the first things that should go if you want a six-pack.
5. Pump it up
Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn at rest. Believe it or not, you don’t have to do a ridiculous amount of ab work to build a six-pack when there are so many different compound exercises that indirectly work your core. Starting out, spend less time on directly training your abs and do more indirect training like pulldowns, chinups, squats and deadlifts.