One of the ultimate ways to showcase your fitness is by showing off your six pack abs. It’s become a common badge of honor among fitness enthusiasts to be able to prove that they have them.
There are many things you can do to shed fat and reveal the toned and carved ab muscles you want everyone to see – or just for your own personal satisfaction! Sometimes it has nothing to do with showcasing anything, and everything to do with simply feeling strong and healthy.
#1. Increase Cardio to Tone Your Tummy
When people think about what they’d look like being in shape, one of the most commonly sought after features is having six pack abs. Everyone wants abs because it’s seen as a pinnacle in fitness, meaning that not only do you have a flat stomach, but you’ve also toned and worked it out to where the abs can shine through.
There are a lot of steps to get to that point, one of which is using cardio to tone up your midsection. For many people, their lack of abs is from a combination of excess fat hiding them as well very little (if any) definition from a lack of exercise.
This is why cardio is a great starting point to work towards them. Cardio helps you burn fat, but it also engages your core along with your legs, helping you develop muscles there so that you can see your abs a bit faster to begin with.
There are some forms of cardio that just happen to work better than others for this purpose. For example, rowing machines and jumping rope force you to engage your abs more, making them more defined.
Things like swimming are mostly for burning belly fat. It’s not a really massive difference, so as long as you’re doing a form of cardio you enjoy, that’s what matters. As far as scheduling goes, you should be doing cardio around 3 times a week.
Whether you combine it with your weightlifting days or keep them separate is up to you, though many people prefer to keep them separate so they’re not too tired to do either the weightlifting or the cardio.
At that rate, you’ll be in a pretty good spot to start developing some abs. It’s also helpful to mix up the cardio you’re doing not only so that you don’t get bored, but also to hit slightly different parts of the body.
Not every form of cardio attacks belly fat in the exact same way, so by mixing things up, you’re more likely to see results instead of letting things get stagnant. Do a different form of cardio each time you go throughout the week, or alternate each week if you like settling in a bit longer.
If there’s one thing to remember, though, it’s that no matter how much cardio you do, diet is still going to be important. Your intense cardio session can be undone in a single meal, so plan your diet carefully if you really want those abs.
#2. Engage in Specific Ab Building Exercises
One of the most important parts of having a six pack is actually building your abs up. They don’t usually just appear when you’ve lost enough weight – they’re muscles just like any other and they need to be exercised.
By doing core workouts, you’ll be able to see your abs faster and you’ll give yourself a few other benefits along the way. Ab workouts tend to be fairly straightforward. The most common one that people tend to recognize from gym class is the sit-up.
Sit-ups are decent ab exercises, but they don’t give you quite the same benefits that you might get doing some other, more effective ones. You need someone or something to keep your feet down if you can’t do that naturally, and sometimes they’re a bit too easy.
Instead, one of your main ab exercises should be crunches. Crunches are similar to sit-ups, but a bit more comfortable in some ways, and you see just as good of results, if not better.
Instead of balancing on your tailbone and pulling up your whole upper body, you lay flat and bring up your body just a bit while also pulling in your legs. This helps work out your abs, but it’s a lot better for your back than sit-ups are.
While many people often don’t like doing them, planks are a fantastic ab exercise. If you haven’t done them before, they’re actually quite simple. You get into an almost push-up like form, but instead of having your hands down, you lay your elbows and forearms flat in front of you.
Keeping your back straight and your knees off the ground, you just hold that position for around a minute. This puts a ton of stress on your core and will definitely get you the results you want.
Some of the more fun types of ab workouts are those that involve medicine balls. Medicine balls are those weighted balls you find in the gym that are rubbery and dense. They usually weigh between 2 and 10 pounds, and are typically basketball sized or smaller.
With these, you can do tons of ab workouts that are a bit more enjoyable since you’re at least doing something. One great one, if your gym allows it and has space for it, is combining crunches with medicine ball tosses.
Basically, you do crunches with your feet up against the wall, and when you come up, you toss the medicine ball and have it bounce off back into your hands and repeat. This helps break up the monotony of just a standard crunch workout.
#3. Alter Your Diet to Shed Fat That’s Hiding Your Abs
The most important part of getting abs to begin with is the diet. You can work out your abs every day and not see them unless you get rid of the belly fat that’s covering them up.
Belly fat is a common, yet dangerous kind of fat, being linked to heart disease among other things. It hides your abs in such a way that people only really see a gut or a bit of flab there, even if you have abs underneath.
In order to show off your abs, you need to adjust your diet in such a way that you’ll lose that belly fat. Now everyone’s diet is certainly different, but there are fairly common things that you can try that will likely help you reduce the amount of belly fat you have so that you can better see your abs.
First, cutting sugary, liquid calories is a must. This mostly includes sodas. Sodas are one of the least healthy things you can consume, and will cause rapid gain of belly fat. They’re absolutely full of empty calories and contain an insane amount of carbs, and that’s in one can alone.
Often times, people will get a large cup full of it, which is easily a meal’s worth of carbs and calories all by itself. Next, you should obviously avoid unnecessary sweets. It’s tempting to want to eat dessert, but if you can find a healthier option like fruits or low calories sweets, go for those.
Desserts are often chock full of sugar, meaning they’re going to go straight to your belly as fat. It’s easier to avoid them altogether sometimes instead of trying to fit them into your calorie limits.
Drinking water is extremely important for losing fat. Your body needs a way to get rid of any fat that you’re losing, and it does this primarily through having water carry it out through your digestive system.
If you’re not drinking water and using the restroom regularly, you won’t be losing that belly fat as easily. Really, you can try just about any diet if you want to go with a premade one, but the most important thing is that you focus on getting in more protein and fewer carbs. Carbs are what’s causing the excess buildup of fat in your belly, which is why you can’t see your abs. Cutting back on that may be all you really need.
#4. Avoid Foods That Bloat Your Belly
Sometimes, even if you have visible abs, you might notice that you can’t see them. This is usually the result of eating bloating foods that can cause your stomach region to look larger than it normally is.
You should try your best to avoid these foods because not only do they cause you to bloat up, but they can also put more gas in your intestinal system, which can cause discomfort.
Naturally, one of the most common bloating drinks is anything carbonated. This could be sodas, beers, sparkling water, anything that has some fizz to it. These drinks contain gas which your body has to put through its digestive system, which will cause bloating pretty quickly.
They’re also simply not healthy for you, so you could probably stand to avoid drinking them anyway. Next, you should try to cut back on beans. Beans are fairly healthy for you, so it’s not necessarily bad to eat them, but they do cause bloating.
When your body digests them, it releases gas that can cause cramping and definitely causes bloating. Cutting back on these will have you looking more defined on a regular basis, potentially revealing some abs.
Some people don’t realize it, but you might actually be lactose intolerant without knowing it. It varies in severity, so you might not have horrible reactions to dairy products, but you can still get an upset stomach from them.
Lactose intolerance basically means that your body can’t quite process lactose, a major component of dairy, adequately enough, which causes bloating, stomach cramps, and more.
Try switching to some milk alternatives and dairy free products if this might be an issue for you. Many adults enjoy some alcoholic beverages every now and then, but be warned, alcoholic drinks will often bloat you.
Most cocktails and light drinks like beer and wine are mixed with things like carbonated beverages or sweet syrups that will make you bloat up pretty bad. Alcohol can also make you develop a bit of a gut, which could hide your abs for a longer period of time.
By cutting out these foods and drinks, not only will you save yourself from uncomfortable and unflattering bloating, but you’ll also prevent yourself from gaining weight, since most of these are unhealthy anyways. Eating clean is so important for having those six pack abs, so as long as you’re sticking to a good diet, you’re going to be fine.
#5. Be Consistent to Carve Out Your Six Pack Abs
When you have a goal that you’re really striving towards, it can be a relief once you finally reach it. Six pack abs are a common goal for many people’s fitness ideals, and once they reach it, some people get a little too comfortable.
They go back to their old diets and stop exercising as much, only to find that one day they’re gone again. In order to really achieve that six pack look, you need to be consistent.
One aspect of consistency is not getting complacent when you reach your goal. It seems like many people think that once they reach that point, they’re going to lock it in there and it won’t really require maintenance.
In reality, it does require upkeep and you have to keep on working out to maintain it. Chances are, by the time you get to the point of having abs, you’re going to enjoy working out a lot more than you did when you started, so it shouldn’t be too hard to keep it going.
Consistency isn’t just a factor when you reach your goals, though. It’s also crucial when you’re on the path to your goals. It’s a very common thing for people to give up on diets or workout programs because they’re not seeing the results they want fast enough.
They think that after a month of working out they’re going to have a six pack, while when they started, they had a beer gut. This is simply an unrealistic expectation. It takes time and consistency to make serious changes like that.
It might take months, it might take over a year, but once you reach that point, all you have to do is maintain. You can’t just go back to drinking sodas every day and eating junk food all the time just because you felt like you weren’t getting results fast enough.
It just doesn’t work that way. By staying on top of your diet and exercise, staying away from cheat days, and not skipping workouts, you’re going to see massive changes in your physical fitness.
You’re undertaking a substantial project by getting into great shape, but that’s fine. Fitness isn’t a race – it’s a marathon. If you have the right diet and you’re going to the gym, you’re going to see the results you want like six pack abs as long as you keep up with it and don’t falter.
Regardless of how you get your six pack (or even eight-pack) set of abs, it will take a bit of time to see the results, depending on where you’re staring from in your fitness journey.