Many people dream of ripped abs. Only a few, however, make this dream real. Achieving visible abs is not easy unless one resorts to the surgical reduction of fat around the midsection. Even then, keeping those ripped abs visible is a difficult task. Most people know the general formula for reaching their fitness goals – diet, exercise, and discipline. In this article, we will will discuss these three attributes to help you plot out your road map to success!
There is an old saying — “abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.” The main principle to be followed here is to take in a lesser amount of energy (calories) than the amount expended. Over time, because the body is forced to use whatever it has stored in order to compensate, fatty deposits in various parts of the body are utilized. It is important to determine one’s base metabolic rate (BMR) using one of many online calculators. From there, a diet can be built that is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and contains moderate amounts of fat. Many people forget that one must intake fat (both saturated and unsaturated) in order to burn fat.
Don’t forget to eat! Some people try to starve themselves into weight loss. This will work temporarily, but the body will soon enter “starvation mode.” Because you have stopped taking in food, the body believes that you are starving to death, and will store everything you eat as fat. Eating small, low calorie meals frequently is key to fat loss.
Sudden, heavy exercise which results in over-fatigue may seem effective in the short term, but it is difficult to sustain for a beginner. Most people who are just starting develop an intense exercise regime and a healthy diet, only to soon burn out and eventually succumb to the their old lifestyle.
There is also a misconception that the key to visible abs is through thousands of crunches, sit-ups, or weighted stomach flexion maneuvers. This is not the case. The key to visible abs is reducing one’s overall body fat percentage to a level where the abs are visible. Even if you can do 200 pound weighted crunches, your abs still won’t be visible if they are covered by a blanket of fat.
That being said, the abdominal muscles can still be built up and toned. It is important to focus not just on the “six pack,” but all muscles in the core area of the body — including obliques and the lower trunk portion of the back. Building these muscles will help to strengthen the core and reduce overall bodyfat — thus increasing the likelihood of visible abs.
The most important element in attaining one’s fitness goals is to have the discipline to stay on track. Every January, the gym is filled with New Year’s resolutionists — and by April, only the dedicated remain. The difference between these two groups is discipline. Almost anyone can achieve a great physique if they create a solid plan to get there and are able to stick to it. The “sticking to it” part is the area where most people fail. They work hard for a few weeks, have a good diet, etc., but soon give up because they don’t achieve the six pack abs they want overnight.
It is important to realize that overall fitness is a lifestyle. It is not obtained by trend dieting, or by doing thousands of crunches. Total fitness is the sum of many parts — diet, exercise, and discipline.