A well-defined set of six-pack abs is the holy grail for every man who labors hard at the gym. Unfortunately for men, they hold the most fat in their abdomen which is going to make it that much difficult to get those abs to show. And doing hundreds of crunches just won’t work because spot reduction is just a myth. The only way to go about getting the abs that you want is to reduce overall body fat.
The American Council on Exercise considers a body fat percentage of 18 to 24% to be healthy. However, for just the upper two abs to show, you’ll have to cut it down to 15% or less. When you push down just two or three percent, that’s when your abs come to the fore. This means you’re looking at a body fat percentage ranging from 6-13% if your goal is a six-pack. Here are a few tips and tricks to get you closer to your ab goals.
1. Count Your Calories
When you want to lose fat, you just cannot ignore the calorie numbers. It’s ultimately a numbers game which means portion and size control are crucial. Look at where you’re slipping when it comes to gaining calories. Though foods like peanut butter, avocados, and hummus are considered as healthy fats/carbs, binging on them does not reduce your calorie count. So keep a watch.
2. Balance Carbs And Protein
Ideally, you should be aiming for four to six ounces of protein at every meal and around half to one cup of starch, and a couple cups of vegetables. Three such meals with two smaller protein-heavy snacks in between should be a good way to go about your fat loss diet. This diet helps you to boost your metabolism and stabilize your blood sugar. As you work out, your fat burn also begins to increase. A a study in Nutrition & Metabolism found that consuming 20 grams of protein every three hours, four times a day was better at helping men build lean body mass than eating small amounts more often or large amounts less frequently.
3. Skip The Alcohol
Alcohol is heavy in calories and most people end up consuming more alcohol than they should. High-alcohol craft beers can be 350 to 400 calories a pop which is way too high if you’re serious about getting those abs to show. Too many calories also stall the fat burning process, destroy your B vitamins, and cause dehydration. If you must have alcohol, stick to low-cal spirits like gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, tequila, brandy, and cognac rather than having beer.
4. Stop Mindless Snacking
Working out does not give you an excuse to have an extra beer or an extra few fries. Even if you have worked hard at the gym and can afford to have a few extra calories, you should be careful about where the calories are coming from. Hoarding on beer or fried food will thwart your efforts toward a six-pack, but spending getting the same calories from vegetables will help. Take a good hard look at your diet and find out where the empty calories are coming from. You calorie sources should be more nutrient-dense if your goal is to be lean and ripped.
5. Pay Attention To Your Body
Every single person is different when it comes to metabolism. You’ve friends who can binge all week without putting on an ounce of weight while others blow up even though they hardly overeat. Unfortunately, this reaction to food is mostly genetic. However, if you put on weight easily, a high-fat, high-protein, low-carb diet can keep your water weight down, giving you the muscle definition you want.
6. Sleep Well
It’s not even funny how many times nutritionists and health experts have to stress on the value of optimum rest. While nutrition should be your main battle plan, you shouldn’t skimp on sleep. Studies show that sleeping less specifically boosts belly fat. Sleeping is also the time your body rests, repairs, and restores itself. So aim to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night and try to sleep and wake up at the same time.
7. Strength Training And HIIT
As far as workouts are concerned, stick to strength training to gain muscle mass and supplement it with a healthy dose of high-intensity interval training to shed fat. Your abs begin to show even if you do not do crunches but if you want definition, an overall workout that trains all the muscles in your body is important.