Three simple steps to flat abs

I often get asked, what is the best way to “get abs”? Most people are looking for a magic exercise at the end of a workout that would make the abdominal muscles suddenly appear.

Three simple steps to great abs

I often get asked, what is the best way to “get abs”?  Most people are looking for a magic exercise at the end of a workout that would make the abdominal muscles suddenly appear.

Everybody has abs.  If we didn’t, basic functions such as standing, walking, sitting and turning would be impossible.  Whether or not you can see your abdominal muscles is another story.

The goal of getting great abs usually differs between men and women.  Whether you are a male and are striving for a chiseled six pack, or a woman who wants a toned, bulge-free midriff, follow these three steps.

Step 1: Get motivated!

This first step is by far the most important step for getting flat abs.  Once you are motivated, executing a diet and exercise plan is a piece of cake (low fat, high fibre cake of course!)

To get motivated, figure out why you want those flat abs.  Imagine how great you will feel when you can comfortably wear a bikini, zip up your skinny jeans or flex and see a six pack.  Maybe your doctor has advised you to lose weight around the midsection to lower your risk of health problems.

In the journey to a trim waistline, there will be barriers to overcome.  For example, a friend might try to get you to stray from your diet at a party, or you might not feel like exercising one week.  The stronger your ‘why’ is, the more committed you will be to your goal and the easier it will be to overcome the barriers.

Step 2: Eat to fuel the muscle and shed the fat.

As I mentioned, everybody has abs.  What differs between a soft tummy and tight, sexy abs is the body fat hiding the muscle.  No amount of sit ups, crunches, leg raises or rides on the ab trainer will do the trick. Shedding abdominal fat requires proper nutrition.

To get into the details of a proper eating plan would require an entire book, but here are some general guidelines:

• Clean up your diet: Get rid of the processed foods, sugar, unhealthy fats and ‘white’ foods (white rice, white pasta, white flour).

• Eat regularly.  Eat four to six times per day.  This means you eat breakfast too!

• Eat protein and fibre at each meal and snack.

• Include healthy fats in your diet (think fatty fish, avocado, heart healthy oils, nuts and seeds).

• Stick to proper portion sizes for your goals and activity level.

Step 3: Get fit!

Combined with a proper eating plan, a full body workout routine is essential to shed body fat and achieve a lean, sculpted midsection. Cardiovascular exercise (such as power walking, running, cycling, or stair climbing) will burn extra calories, contributing to fat loss.

Full body strength exercises, such as squats, lunges, push-ups and chin ups will also work to burn extra calories and boost your metabolic rate (also important for fat loss).

Finally – and possibly the least important of all – include exercises that target the midsection.  Just like any other muscle group, strengthen the abdominals by doing 8-15 reps of an exercise.  Doing hundreds of abdominal curls or crunches will only lead to boredom and poor posture.  Bicycle crunches, cable rotations, planks and hanging leg raises will do the trick.

While there is no magic exercise to achieve that sexy midriff, cleaning up your diet, regular exercise, and the motivation to stick to the program, will get great looking abdominal muscles.

 

Tanja Shaw is a Kinesiologist and personal trainer, specializing in weight loss, group fitness, pre and postnatal fitness, and health and wellness programs.  She owns Ascend Fitness Coaching, which offers Boot Camps, mom and baby fitness classes and personal training in the Chilliwack area.  Reach her at tanja@ascendfitnesscoaching.com.

Just Posted

Good things cooking at Barn Burner BBQ event this Sunday in Yarrow

Fifth annual event in Chilliwack raises funds for the Full Cupboard

Bail denied for alleged Chilliwack firearm thief convicted of similar crime in Alberta

Andrew Scott Charpentier charged with numerous offences after guns seized from Reece Avenue address

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

Taser takedown in Chilliwack complex after incident gets violent

Male suspect became agitated under questioning and repeatedly punched an officer

Agassiz man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Moni at the Chilliwack SPCA

This week’s animal is Moni, an obedient 10-year-old Australian shepherd cross at the Chilliwack SPCA

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Most Read