Male or female, our eyes are drawn to a person's abdominals ... or gut. To make and maintain a midsection that earns looks of admiration rather than admonishment, certain things have to happen—and others can't happen. Follow these ten important tips, and you can develop those razor-sharp abs you always wanted.
1. Follow a High-Protein, Lower-Carb Diet
Your diet is essential in building a lean physique. It is important to consume 4-6 small meals per day; this helps to speed up your metabolism at an incredibly rapid rate. Although there are many different theories on meal frequencies, eating smaller meals more often will help the average person avoid overeating and will curb hunger. Along with eating frequent, smaller meals, you should consume your carbohydrates first thing in the morning to give you energy through the day.
2. Follow a Constistent Weight-Training and Cardio Program
This will allow you to burn fat through the day. Weight training helps you to burn calories after the workout and throughout the day while cardio burns calories during the workout. A combination of cardio and weight training will give you the optimal fat burning rate you need to stay lean.
3. Drink a Lot of Water
If you're completely hydrated, your fat-burning rate will be optimum. To speed up your metabolism, drink at least 6-to-8 glasses of water per day. Remember: the less water you drink, the slower your metabolism will be; the more water you drink, the faster your metabolism will be.
4. Modify Your Abs Routine
There isn't a specific abs routine that will work better than all others, but changing your abs routine will maximize the results. Some of the common ab moves like crunches, old-fashioned sit-ups, hanging leg raises, broom twists and sprinting, are great for building abdominal muscle. It's important to remember that your abs will show the most development through change and confusion as opposed to stagnation.
5. Understand the Truths and Myths about Abdominals
We all have abs. Unfortunately, some of us have to work harder than others to attain visible ones. Doing 1,000 sit-ups per day is not going to make your abs just magically pop out, but getting your body-fat levels very low will allow your abs to appear. For a male to able to be see his abs, he has to be roughly at 12 percent body-fat and lower. For a female to see hers, she needs to be at roughly 14 percent and lower. If you can get your body-fat to those levels, you will start to see your abs.
6. Always Eat Breakfast
A healthy breakfast is the most important meal for a reason - it jumpstarts your metabolism for the entire day. Not just any breakfast, though. Unless you want a muffin top, skip the muffins and opt for protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. Emphasis on the protein. Can't go wrong with eggs.
7. Be Cognizant of the Frequency of your Abs Training
It is important to train your abs at least three times per week for a beginner and intermediate fitness enthusiast. For the advanced gym guru, train your abs about every other day to build them properly. I would implement at least 3-4 different abs exercises every other day for 25-to-30 reps per set. Your rest for each set should be about 30-45 seconds. You'll really feel the burn with this minimal rest. If not, you aren't working the exercise properly. Muscle grows when you apply shock to that body-part. The only way to do that is to push through the temporary burn of that particular exercise.
8. Don't get smacked by sugar, salt and starch
Also, stay away from foods that are high in unhealthy fat and high in carbs. All of these things can contribute to a high amount of fat gain and prevent your abs from coming out of hibernation. It is okay to consume sugar, salt or starch—just make sure it's within moderation.
9. Implement a Variety of Cardio Exercises
Cardio helps you lose fat. There is a variety of different cardiovascular exercises you can implement. Long-distance running, sprinting, swimming, climbing stairs, cycling, elliptical, treadmill, etc. Bonus: They all work your abs to varying degrees and will therefore help you get definition.
10. Believe in Yourself
If you believe you can do it, you will do everything necessary in your power to attain that goal. Your mind will help guide your fitness goals and if that goal is to attain great abs, then, provided you do the necessary work, it will happen for you.
- 2,500+ expert-created single workouts
- 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
- Detailed workout instruction
- Step-by-step workout tips
- Training at gym or at home
- Access to Workout Plans
- Access to Bodyfit App
- Store Discounts
Already have a Bodybuilding.com account with BodyFit? Sign In