I want to see my abs. I am 16, active and not overweight but I don't have abs. I've been running for about 40 minutes 3-4 times per week. I do crunches twice a week. I wanted to know more about cutting up. By spacing out my meals and not eating too much will I lose muscle along with fat? How do I prevent this? I'd really appreciate some advice.
First of all let's look at your muscle-building program. Crunches twice a week may not be enough for you to build muscle at any great speed. I use a low-key program much like that to maintain not build. You will need a more intense program to build any body part initially.
Having a strong inner core system along with low body fat will give you the results you want to see. There are many exercises that help strengthen your inner core. Try to use as many different types of inner core and abdominal specific training exercises as you can.
Palates and many forms of Yoga are excellent forms of strength work. You can go to classes at your local gym or buy a good DVD to follow along with. Watch for Brenda Kelly's Video Workout Series due out by the 2003 Holiday Season.
Click Image To Enlarge. Author, Brenda Kelly.
Go into your gym weight room and use the different weighted abdominal machines. For anything requiring sets, use at least 4 sets of no fewer than 10-12 reps. When using any weight equipment, if you can do more than 25-30 reps, you need to add weight. Abdominal work can take a higher repetition of weight than other body parts.
There are also many abdominal non-weighted products out there to purchase for your use. Research these well and ask fellow exercisers and your fitness trainers for any practical research before purchasing anything. You don't want to regret spending money for a worthless gadget.
One great product I can recommend is, Grizzly Hanging Ab Straps. It is specifically designed for intense abdominal training. You may have seen some hanging in gyms clipped up on the chin-up bar. The inventor and owner, International Action Movie Star Brad Harris is a walking advertisement of his invention. At 70 years old his abdominal definition rates an A+.
Many top trainers have told me the abdominal group is the only muscle group you can train everyday if you want fast gains. Try to train at least 4 days a week with at least two alternating programs. A sample program would be 4 different exercises, 5 sets of 15-25 reps. 2 times a week and palates class 2 times a week.
Make sure you do some sort of cardio at least 4 days a week. Use 5 days a week for the final cut up stage. Also, never go less than 40 minutes for top level fat burning. Watch for injury, overuse and boredom by mixing up your cardio with a more non-impact choice such as the elliptical rider. A sample program would be running 45 minutes 2 times a week and the stationary bike 50 minutes 2 times a week.
To keep lean tissue (muscle) you must eat enough of the right types of calories. If you do not eat enough food, you will loose your hard earned muscle with any weight loss. It is a good idea to make an appointment with a nutritionist to get the best idea of your fitness level and calories needed.
Click Image To Enlarge. Author, Brenda Kelly.
You will be eating at least 5 meals a day and you must stay on schedule. Supplements can help out when busy days threaten your eating schedule. I like Muscle-Link Profusion for a quick, great tasting protein fix.
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For abdominal definition you must keep track of your fat grams per day. Body fat percentage estimation for visible abdominal cuts are 10% or lower for men and 15% or lower for women. A sample daily program is to eat 15-20 grams of fat a day.
Many people have to temporarily cut out dairy, wheat and fruit products from their diets to achieve abdominal definition. Many people are actually allergic to these food products. Physical reaction may be so mild it can go un-noticed. The body will surround the offensive food groups with water to try to flush it through the body.
Hence, water retention in the digestive tract is a problem. Of course it is difficult to see definition while retaining water. Experiment. Remember to add fruit back on and off during the year for proper health and true fitness. I also take a multivitamin everyday.
The deep abdominal cuts you see in the fitness magazines both on stage in competition and advertising can also be a result of proper use of diuretics at the final stages of physique fine-tuning. There are some good herbal products as well as other favorites that the competitors and models use to achieve an impressive six-pack.
Be sure to only use these as directed or have supervision. More is not better in this case and you could end up with the reverse effect of holding too much water if not used correctly or too often.
Finding my abdominal definition for the first time was one of the most fun and rewarding physical experiences I can remember. Have fun with yours. Remember to pay attention to what works for you. Every body is different and responds differently to nutrition and intensity training.
Bonus Getting Hardcore With Ms. Fitness Ab Workout
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