100 1 25 25 bodybuilding.com
Bodybuilding.com Information Motivation Supplementation
in:

Abs Fuel: How To Build A Fat-Loss Meal Plan

Many people would like to see ripped abs in the mirror, but not everybody knows how to get them. Learn what changes to make in your diet so you can finally achieve that 6-pack!

Ah, the warmer weather is upon us. It's time to wake up from hibernation and uncover those abs! What's that, you say? The snow has melted but your abs are still covered with some winter-time flab? Sounds like you're ready to make some changes to your diet.

Endless crunches aren't going to get you what you want. You can exercise all you like, but if you're not eating the right mix of foods, you'll never see that lean, hard tummy. This might sound like a cliche, but I'm going to say it anyway: Abs are made in the kitchen!

To make your diet more six-pack-friendly, implement these five changes. They'll help you do the right thing at home so your work in the gym isn't wasted.

1 / Watch Your Sodium Intake

Although your sodium intake isn't going to have any influence on your body-fat levels, it will make a difference to the way your body regulates water retention.

If sodium is a main component of your diet, you're not going to look as lean as you could. Especially if you vary the amount you get each day, high sodium intake will cause your body to retain water.

Waking up to that bloated, puffy look is anything but motivating. Although it will be flushed away with the right amount of water, a surplus of sodium in your body doesn't do much for aesthetics.

Keep your sodium intake as steady as you can, and watch for hidden sources of sodium in sauces, condiments, and frozen foods.

2 / Curb Your Processed Carbs

Packaged cereals, baked goods, candy, and other processed carbohydrates cause insulin to be released and blood glucose levels to spike. If the spikes are too high and too frequent, insulin resistance will tend to develop. This entire process will do nothing but encourage faster fat gain—and eventually, perhaps, saddle you with type 2 diabetes. For those who have difficulty managing their hunger, snacking on simple-carb foods will only make it worse.

Instead, select whole, complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, or quinoa. If you do want to include processed carbs in your diet, limit them to just after you train, when your body is most receptive to dealing with them.

3 / Make Smart Dairy Decisions

Many people, especially those who follow a Paleo lifestyle, avoid all dairy. Although eliminating dairy products is one way to lean down, it's not a necessity.

According to a study published by the International Journal of Obesity, low-fat, high-protein dairy products can accelerate abdominal fat burning. The study assessed the total fat loss and lean tissue loss in two groups eating the same amount of calories. The only difference was that one group ate yogurt, while the other did not. Researchers noted both higher fat loss from the trunk region and higher lean muscle mass retention in the group that ate yogurt.

When choosing dairy products, be sure to select types that aren't high in calories. If you keep your choices lean to maintain your proper caloric intake, you should see progress.

4 / Regulate Your Fiber Intake

Fiber forms an important part of a healthy diet, helping to offset hunger and slow the release of carbohydrates into your body.

However, too much fiber can leave you bloated and feeling gastrointestinal distress. Excessive fiber can also cause your stomach to distend—which makes you look a lot less lean than you are.

The Institute of Medicine recommends 38 grams per day for men 50 and younger, and 30 grams for men older than 50. For women, those numbers should be 25 and 21 grams, respectively. If you fall short of those goals, ramp up gradually—say, 5 grams per day at a time.

5 / Pay Attention to Calories

To ensure that you move in the direction you want, you need to regularly assess your progress. If you find that you're not leaning down as quickly or efficiently as you'd like, you may need to cut some calories.

Making periodic drops to your calorie intake as you continue to lose weight will be essential to keep progress moving along. Along with these drops, you also need to add periodic cheat meals to help "reset" your body to increase fat loss. A diet that's missing periodic drops and increases is going to plateau.

If you make these changes to your winter diet and spend time working hard in the gym, you should begin to see positive changes in your body.



Bookmark and Share

Related Articles

About The Author

I’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.

RATE THIS ARTICLE
POOR
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
EXCELLENT
OVERALL RATING
6.2

Out of 10
Good
10 Ratings

25

Comments

Showing 1 - 25 of 25 Comments

(5 characters minimum)

      • notify me when users reply to my comment
Casali

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Casali

Make all kiiiiinds of gains!!!! Get in that refeed day every now and then too.

Mar 18, 2013 5:31pm | report
HBDYWI

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
HBDYWI

hahaha was that a marc lobliner reference?

Mar 18, 2013 7:29pm | report
GoldstandardAsh

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
GoldstandardAsh

Nope that will be a Hodge twins reference! Aka Mr feathers Aka Mr striations Aka Light skin avatars!! :P

Mar 19, 2013 9:19am | report
Casali

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Casali

Yeah, Hodge twins. Those guys are hilarious!!!

Mar 19, 2013 3:21pm | report
Roblow96

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Roblow96

So you wanna bulid some muscle? Thats good, mayn, real g- da f**ck out the way!

Mar 21, 2013 11:00am | report
atokad

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
atokad

I never payed attention to sodium, until now. No more soy sauce for me

Mar 18, 2013 6:09pm | report
HBDYWI

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
HBDYWI

naah soy sauce is fine. just dont empty the salt shaker on your food every meal. even in a pre-contest diet people use soy sauce, hot sauce or mustard and their ingredient profiles consist of 1 thing: sodium.

Mar 18, 2013 7:28pm | report
33yearsofblah

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
33yearsofblah

You can also buy a low sodium soy sauce. I use braggs. Has great flavor too!!

Mar 18, 2013 9:14pm | report
TheSpazzzz

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
TheSpazzzz

Hellz yeah braggs liquid aminos is delicious.

Mar 18, 2013 9:26pm | report
dbaldridge78

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
dbaldridge78

So how often do you need to add that cheat meal? Once a week, once every 2 weeks?

Mar 19, 2013 6:11am | report
grindmybones32

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
grindmybones32

it depends on your BF% i know people under 10% can cheat once a week, then 10-15% once every two weeks and 15-20% maybe once a month not sure on that one tho could be once every 5 weeks

Mar 19, 2013 11:22am | report
Luna101

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Luna101

im deployed right now ... so i cant eat how i want but i cant wait to start this plan

Mar 19, 2013 7:08am | report
ThatDudeCheek

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
ThatDudeCheek

Same here, it kind of sucks that I work so hard in the gym then have to eat the food from the DFAC lol

Sep 4, 2013 11:29am | report
tyurin

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
tyurin

Thanks, Captain Obviousness!!!:)

Mar 19, 2013 7:14am | report
tyurin

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
tyurin

Thanks, Captain Obviousness!!!:)

Mar 19, 2013 7:14am | report
CHIVUNK82

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
CHIVUNK82

excelente inform��es! continuem , se poss�vel, nos orientando sobre as diversas formas de manternos alerta sobre os diversos assuntos e perigos da m� alimenta��o!!!

Mar 19, 2013 8:09am | report
chiefgreybeard

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
chiefgreybeard


sodium is my main complaint when eating out. If you go on line and look up the nutritional facts of meals from most food chains you will find 150% of your daily salt in just one meal. I always thought that they put salt shakers on the table so that you could choose your salt intake. Wrong!

Mar 19, 2013 12:18pm | report
shredduck

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
shredduck

And that last part is why you are a red.

Mar 20, 2013 8:08pm | report
jamezcatt

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
jamezcatt

If you are preparing for a bodybuilding show why would you worry about salt until it really even matters?

Mar 19, 2013 1:51pm | report
gorana

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
gorana

too general to make a difference...

Mar 19, 2013 2:33pm | report
YanaBanana

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
YanaBanana

I didn't now there is such a thing like too much fibre -.- never looked into it tbh :/ But then again them dietitians change their mind aaaaall the time. Am I not right? Just google it ^.^

Mar 25, 2013 8:24am | report
d1anarav3n

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
d1anarav3n

Trueeeeeeeeeee! i didn't know that there's such thing like that. Too much fibre eh.

Mar 30, 2013 8:45am | report
bellamella

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
bellamella

i read lots of articles ..hear lots of inputs on losing belly fat.. all i see is what works for one does not mean it would work for another...our bodies are similiar but yet different and i will eventually find a way to lose belly fat because i hate cardio with a passion...im not saying i dont do it but i rather lift weights ...

May 8, 2013 6:01am | report
Middy

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Middy

The excess fiber reference makes a lot of sense. I'm glad it was explained. Solid information right there.

May 9, 2013 4:47pm | report
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 13'6"
  • wt: 162.04 lbs
  • bf: 19.0%
BASH7

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
BASH7

I need to reduce bodyfat and i need to reduce calories to do so. Thing is, i need about 300g of protein per day and this is where the majority of my calories come from. How can you reduce calories and maintain protein???

Jun 19, 2013 3:01pm | report
Showing 1 - 25 of 25 Comments

Featured Product

Give Us Feedback:
Report A Problem
Site Feedback
Follow Us:
Twitter
Facebook
RSS Feeds
Bodybuilding.com Newsletter

Receive exciting features,
news & special offers from Bodybuilding.com