Who doesn't want a sleek and sexy mid section? Who doesn't want rock hard rippling abs and a fat free mid section? Everyone wants them, and curiously enough, very few people have them.
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When you think about it, abs are right up there with biceps in terms of what people generally notice on a physique.
Think about it for a minute...When you see a well developed abdominal region, what immediately comes to your mind? Personally, when I see a well developed and chisled abdominal section, I get impressed.
Not only am I impressed by the ab development but also, the sheer amount of time, work, dedication and discipline it takes to build a nice set of abs.
I know better than anyone that a nice set of abs doesn't happen by chance or overnight. Attaining a well developed abdominal region is by far, the hardest thing to do when it comes to developing your physique. Not only do you have to be diligent with your weight training but you have to be just as, if not more diligent when it comes to your dietary habits.
The only way to build a nice set of 6 pack abs is to have your diet and meal plan down to a science. That's right, down to an exact science. There is absolutely no way in hell you are going to build a well chisled abdominal region without properly planning your diet and meals.
With that being said, there are two things you have to understand about the whole process of building an impressive midsection. The first thing is to exercise. Exercise will build and sculpt your midsection and will help burn those extra calories which will help strip the fat off. The second thing is to plan your dietary and eating schedule. This point will be the deciding factor when it comes to your 6 pack success.
Now, you have to understand the most important element to attaining a six pack of abs. And that is to...
No, I'm not talking a drastic reduction in calories, I'm talking about a slight reduction in your daily intake of calories. This is it. No secret or magic formulas.
Although the exercises we perform are important when it comes to sculpting a six pack of abs, by far the most essential way to attack any waist line and lose weight is to reduce overall calories.
You can do all the sit ups in the world and work your abs till your head spins but at the end of the day, if you have a layer of fat around your muscle, you simply won't see your abs. It was commonly accepted that if you performed a certain amount of sit ups and leg raises each night that you would develop and impressive midsection - This is not true.
Given, regular ab work will firm up your stomach muscles but it is seldom enough to make them show up as ripples or ridges. Why? Simply put, it isn't enough exercise to burn off the excess fat that accumulates around the waist line. It will be necessary to combine a system of aerobic exercise such as jogging or biking while creating a calorie deficit in your daily routine.
“Alright, what exactly is a calorie deficit?”
The first thing that you need to do, is to adjust your diet. Why do you have to adjust your diet? Simple, if there's a layer of fat covering your abs, how are you supposed to see them? You need to get rid of the fat that surrounds your muscles and in order to do this, you need to create a calorie deficit in your daily nutritional intake.
In order to do this, you need to cut out 500 calories from your daily caloric intake. By cutting out 500 calories (immediately) you will lose roughly one pound per week. This is where you start.
However, most people don't know how much calories to cut. So, before you begin cutting calories, you need a starting point. So, here's what I suggest:
Take your body weight and multiply that by 12. So, if you weight 190 pounds, multiply that by 14 and you get 2,280. Therefore, your base calorie rate will be 2,280. There are some other fancy equations to determine your caloric intake but this is one will do just fine. It's simple yet fairly accurate.
This is where you will start and you will base your meals on this number. Now, the second thing you need to remember is that you will have to spread your meals apart every two to three hours. That is, you need to eat about six small meals throughout the day that equals your base starting point (see above example).
This point is very important and one that you need to work out. You need to sit down, get a pen and paper and find out what meals you will be eating for the next week. This is vitally important and can save you a lot of headaches and disappointments. Let me tell you why. By planning your meals ahead of time, you know exactly what you're putting into your mouth and ensuring success with your diet.
If you don't plan, you will end up flying by the seat of your pants and more often than not, start eating junk food. So, plan your meals!
Here's what I do. I'll sit down on Sunday morning and make out my diet for the following week. Now, my meals are pretty consistent so really, the only meal that changes is dinner and maybe the odd lunch. I always have the same thing for breakfast and snacks because I know they work.
Once I know what meals I want to make, I'll take out my trusty calorie counter (a small book that lists most foods and there nutritional content - You can find these at health food or book stores) and figure out my calories and macro nutrient intake.
You can easily get a calorie counter at your local bookstore Once that is done, I get all the ingredients I need on a grocery list and I head out to the food store. I will get all of my ingredients that I need for the following week. Another great thing about this is you don't spend a lot of money on unnecessary purchases.
This is the basis for your six pack quest. Do this and your on the right track.
Now, as you progress you will need to take your weight and measurements on a bi-weekly basis to ensure you are on track. You should be losing about 1 to 3 pounds per week and no more . You also want to make sure you are keeping the muscle and not losing it, so take your body measurements and get them down on paper.
I highly recommend a meal journal to keep track of what your eating on a daily basis. This way, you always know what your eating and will know at the end of the day that your keeping on track with your caloric requirements. I remember when someone first told me to keep track of my eating with a journal, I thought that was crazy. However, after giving it a try, it made all the difference in the world.
The next thing you want to do is figure out your workout which will include cardio. This type of exercise is absolutely necessary if you want to burn off the fat and start exposing those abs. Sorry, there is no way of getting around this. Cardio will need to be performed on a regular basis.
Here's what I suggest, start out by doing cardio 3 to 4 times per week for about 20 minutes per session. Activities such as jogging, skipping rope, elliptical training, biking, hiking, exercise bike training, boxing, or anything else that gets your heart pumping will qualify. You will want to perform your cardio first thing in the morning (However, you have to be the judge depending on your schedule).
That is, as soon as you get up, your going to put on your sweats, drink a glass of water and do your aerobic exercise. I will usually do my cardio work Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays - Always in the morning.
After about two to three weeks of steady aerobic exercise, increase your aerobic activity by 10 minutes. Eventually, you want to be doing your aerobic activity for about 30 to 45 minutes per session.
The next thing you want to do is exercise your abs. Now, you don't have to do 500 sit ups every day to get the desired results. This is a thing of the past. What you want to do is stimulate your abs for growth- Not Annihilate.
I suggest that you try and train your abs about two times per week and no more than three times. Remember, abs are just like any other body part that you want to build so don't overtrain them. And like any other body part, you want to fully stimulate the abdominal area. That is, you want a full contraction in the ab area. It's not the quantity of the abs exercises or sets that you do, it's the quality of the set.
Remember to contract the abs and really squeeze the abs muscles during the movement.
What you need to do now is select the type of ab exercises you need to start working on the those 6 pack abs. There are a ton of ab exercises for you to choose from. I suggest you pick two exercise to start with and perform this routine 2 to 3 times per week - And no more. Now, when you are performing the exercises, be sure to contract the abs at all times during the movement - This is the key to effective ab building.
When it comes to ab exercises, try and choose an exercise that gives you the opportunity to fully contract the abs at all stages of the movement. Personally, I love to use the cable machine for my crunches. The exercise allows your to fully contract the 6 pack area during all stages of the movement. I also suggest you try and incorporate a movement like the simple floor crunch.
Here is a list of exercises for you to choose from. Simply click on the link and you'll be taken to that exercise and how to do it.
These are some examples of ab exercises for you to choose from.
Remember, perform two maybe three exercises and do them twice a week, and no more than three times.
To sum up, you need to concentrate on three main things:
#1: Calorie Deficit And Meal Planning
#2: Cardio Exercise
#3: Ab Exercises
If you can follow these three points on a consistent basis, I can assure you that you will have a sleek and sexy waist line in no time at all.
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All the best,
As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.
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