Getting a sixpac is one of the most desired physical attributes for many gym-goers. It’s not always as easy as it seems, but I give you five tips that will help you reach your goal on getting ripped abs.
I have been personal training for over six years now and I hear the question asked over and over again, “how do I get abs?”. I then proceed to to tell them some of the things you have to do to have abs all year. The reality of it is that everyone likes the idea of having a ripped core but not everybody wants to put the work in. I am not one for ‘bulking’ as I like to have abs all year round. I love the way it makes you feel, being lean all the time. It’s natural for us to stereotype or judge others even if it’s not a nice trait to have. When I first meet new clients I like to be an example which is why I like to stay lean. If I was ‘bulking’ as the famous word goes then I wouldn’t feel or look great all the time. As John Wooden says “The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own example”. I am going to give you five tips you can do to get that ripped core you have been after for all the years.
As with any goal, patience is a must. The amount of people I have seen give up with fitness goals within the first month is ridiculous. You have to take certain things into consideration such as the condition that you are currently in. If you are four stone overweight and have been abusing your body for the last ten years then having a ripped up core is going to take a lot longer. Just be patient, set your goals and keep going until you get there. My best advice would be to have small goals to break down the end goal. For example, if the goal is to get to ten per cent body fat then set that you want to get to 15 percent first then make alterations from there. If you have not got any patience you may as well give up now.
Train Hard but Smart
Abs are made in the kitchen is something we have all heard at some point. I agree with this statement however if you have no muscle then you aren’t going to build any abs. Train smart! By this I mean do not do hundreds of sit ups everyday and train seven days a week. Get some structure to your training and listen to your body. Focus on lifts such as deadlifts, squats, overhead presses, and cleans. Big moves that will work your core like no other. Now I’m not saying don’t ever train your mid section specifically. Just train them smart. Implement exercises like hanging leg raises, L-sits, dragonfly, and window wipers. Also aim to train them like you train any other body part with the rep range being 8-12 rather than doing 50 to 100 reps. If you cannot do these moves then it is something to work towards or keep the reps low to start with. Always focus on your form first and don’t let your ego take over.
Sleep and Rest
I know what you are thinking, sleep and rest are the same thing. Not exactly. Both are vital to building muscle and burning fat. Sleep is crucial for you wanting to get in great shape. Sleep is the first thing I ask clients about when they start training. They look at me as to say what’s that got to do with anything. Well everything. Try to get your sleeping pattern sorted before anything else. It is recommended that we get a minimum of seven hours sleep a night and eight to nine hours if we are training regularly. Deep sleep is a perfect natural way to release growth hormone. Growth hormone is released by the brain into the bloodstream during sleep, and it’s release is part of the repair and restoration function of sleep. Shawn Stevenson has a book called sleep smarter that I think everyone should read who wants to improve their health and athletic performance.
Rest on the other hand it crucial as we all need days off from training. Yes you are getting enough sleep but have days off to allow your body and mind to recover. Go get a massage or jump into a hot tub and let your muscles grow whilst out of the gym. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to have rest day which are signs that you are training hard and pushing the body. Let is recover or you will start picking up injuries that will force you to stop training. I remember once I didn’t have rest day for thirty eight days and even though my body was telling me to rest I would carry on. What an idiot! I now rest two days a week and feel strong and fitter than when I was training more.
We have all heard about HIIT training by now. If not then you must have been hiding in a cave somewhere. The principles of high intensity interval training (HIIT) is that it is short and intense. Exercises are performed with maximum effort. An example of this is sprinting. Do 30 seconds flat out sprints with 30 seconds rest. Do this for 15 minutes and it will torch fat aswell as get you super fit. A recent study shown that 10 minutes of HIT training can be just as effective as going jogging for 1 hour. I don’t know about you but I would rather save as much time as possible to do other things with my day.
Right…well this is he most complicated tip out of them all as everyone is a nutritionist. No matter how many people you speak to or read a different magazine you will hear a different opinion on what diet to adopt. My honest opinion is that you have to be happy with the foods that you are eating. What’s the point in having abs if you are unhappy everyday from the foods you are consuming. Also you want the diet to benefit your health. A standard bodybuilding diet might get you in great shape but it isn’t exactly healthy. It is a lot of meat to consume and not alot of fruit and vegetables. My advice would be to experiment with different diets to see what one suits you and your lifestyle. It needs to suit your lifestyle for you to be consistent. For example, I have put clients on diets who work ridiculous hours and it does not suit them so I change it to suit their needs. Once you have decided what diet suits you better you can move forward with improving your body. It might be worth paying a professional to adjust your calories and macros so you know that you are doing it correctly. If you are comfortable with working it out yourself then get cracking!
With these tips you will have abs in no time. Enjoy the journey and remember “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.