How to get abs? Have you ever heard the saying that abs are made in the kitchen and not in the gym? What that means is that the quality and quantity of foods you eat will dictate how much body fat you have. And if you have low body fat levels then your abs will be visible. Everybody has abs but the difference in your abs showing and not showing is the amount of fat you have in that area.
How to get abs? photo credit: iStock-rez-art
The amount of subcutaneous body fat you store around your stomach will dictate the visibility of your abs, also known as your six pack. For guys if your body fat is 12% or lower you should see your abs appear. If you are a woman and if your bodyfat is 18% or lower, you should be able to see your abs.
These numbers are below what is needed for optimal health so don’t think you have to attain these numbers to be healthy. Most people can’t maintain bodyfat levels this low just eating in a maintenance phase and exercising. Genetics plays a huge factor in being able to stay in those low bodyfat levels to maintain a visible six pack.
There was a study that showed that the normal body fat range for a man is between 17.6 and 25.3%. And the normal body fat range for a woman is 16 to 20% bodyfat. Women tend to store more fat near their hips, legs, and butt because of the hormone estrogen. And guys tend to carry more fat near the abdomen area.
There are some people in our society that believe that if you do just sit-ups and crunches that the fat around your stomach will disappear and your abs will magically pop out. That only happens in fairy tale movies where you are the hero. But in real life there is no such thing as spot reduction. Just because you are training a certain body part doesn’t mean the fat there will just go away.
What should you do to lose enough body fat to get abs?
You want to be on a diet that is low in calories and that puts you in caloric deficit of 500 to 1000 calories. And being in this deficit will allow you to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. The types of foods you should eat that will fill you and is low in calories is:
- Fruits and vegetables such as apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries. Vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, spinach, brussell sprouts, etc.
- Protein foods such as chicken, turkey, fish, salmon, tuna, beef, etc.
- Complex carbs such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, etc.
- Choosing drinking water over sugary drinks. If you drink up to 6 to 8 glasses of water daily which will make you fuller and suppress your appetite.
You have to exercise to burn fat and get your bodyfat levels low enough to see your abs. The types of cardiovascular workouts you can do that can help you burn body fat are swimming, walking, jogging, stationary bike, gardening, dancing, walking up steps, etc.
The types of resistance training workouts you can do to help you burn body fat and build and maintain lean muscle mass are resistance band exercises, dumbbell training, bodyweight exercises, weight-lifting machines.
If you follow a balanced diet that puts you in a caloric deficit, incorporate at least 4 days of cardiovascular and weight-training about 4 days a week this is enough to help you get leaner to see your abs.
There was a study that showed that consuming protein beyond the recommended dietary intake was associated with lower body fat and maintenance of lean muscle mass. There was another meta analysis study that found that fruit and vegetable intake was associated with losing bodyweight and bodyfat.
Incorporating a weight-training workout that targets every single body part is important to help you reach those goals. Cardiovascular workouts allow you to burn calories during the workout. And weight-training workout allows you to burn after the workout.
Of course, it is important to do abs exercises such as planks, sit-ups, crunches, kneeling cable crunches, leg raises, etc. These are all helpful, but the most important thing is to get your body fat levels low enough to see your abs. And the only way to get to this goal is through diet and exercise.
The Bottom Line is the best way to get abs is through maintaining low bodyfat levels through a sensible diet and exercise program.
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