What is the secret to getting shredded abs? Is it all about what you eat or is it the type of workout program you implement? Truthfully, the answer is yes to both of those questions. Losing fat and building muscle requires both nutrition and a killer fitness program, there is no quick fix in the world of getting shredded abs. While it may not be an overnight process, there are 7 tried and true tips for working towards achieving cut abdominals, read on to see out for simple steps for defined abs.
Tip One: The Workout
If you’re looking for cut abs you need to both burn fat and increase your lean muscle mass. There are plenty of skinny people without defined abs so if you want to get shredded you need to build up the muscles–the more muscle you have, the more ripped you’ll look.
Creating a weight training routine that focuses on weight training three times a week will support your goals of building lean muscles. Spending your other days in cardio workouts will help with the fat burning as well.
Though you want to see results in the abs, focusing on a full body workout will increase lean muscle mass overall and give greater results in other muscle groups at the same time. Many compound lifting movements and heavy lifting require your abdominals to engage so don’t put off working other muscle groups in your goal to get shredded.
For high-impact, core-building exercises make sure to incorporate sit-ups, leg lifts, oblique twists and planks during your workout routine. There are plenty of variations on these basic exercises including hanging and weighted options. Increase your difficulty and variation of these four exercises at least 3 days a week and you’ll be building abdominals over time.
Tip Two: Cutting Calories
The basic science of weight loss is to simply burn more calories than you consume each day. Simple as it sounds, cutting back the calories will help burn extra fat and are an essential step in getting shredded.
Calories give your body energy but when you eat more calories then you use in a day, your body takes those extra calories and stores them as reserve energy which is just a really nice way of saying fat. When you eat less then you need your body taps into those fat reserves and burns fat for fuel. Burning the fat off your building abdominals is necessary to seeing the definition of what was hiding behind the fat.
While tracking calories isn’t glamorous, it’s a good way to determine how many calories you can eat in a day and lose weight and to determine how many calories you normally eat in a day. Online calorie calculators or dieting apps can help you figure out the right number of caloric intake for a day.
Just by following these two tips you’ll start to see results. So what are you waiting for?
Tip Three: High Intensity Interval Training
If you tend to engage in jogging, walking or biking on your cardio days and you’re still not seeing results you should give High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) a try. When you increase the intensity of your cardio you will see more fat burn, and switching up your routine to HIIT workouts can promote extra fat burning.
In fact, some studies have shown that HIIT workouts can help promote fat loss faster than just weight lifting alone. This type of workout encourages your body to stay in a high calorie burn even after you’re done training.
The internet is full of great routines for HIIT workouts and most can be done at home without any special equipment. HIIT routines involve pushing yourself hard during the intense phase of your workout followed by a less strenuous recovery period where your body is still moving but without the same intensity.
An example of one type of HIIT workout is the Sit Up and Stand. In this routine you will do 10 sit ups, stand up and then do 10 vertical jumps, reaching as high as you can and going as low as you can each time you jump. After giving those movements your all, using your full body to engage and make the movements intense, you rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute before repeating the movements.
Tip Four: Focus Your Diet
If you’re already in calorie counting mode, focusing on eating the best foods is the next step to getting shredded abs. You’ll never get a 6-pack while eating trash and there are certain foods that can help define those abdominals.
Increasing your protein intake can help build muscle. Protein provides the necessary nutrients needed for building, repairing and maintaining muscle mass. Protein rich foods also leave you feeling full and satisfied for longer which helps with Tip #2, cutting the calories. Make it a goal to get 30% of your calories from protein, or one gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.
Another food to focus on is eating a moderate amount of healthy fats. Eating fat does not equal gaining fat unless you are eating too many calories. The type of fat is important and enjoying sources of healthier unsaturated fats like avocados, olives and peanut butter can help you feel full longer. Plus, having a diet with tasty healthy fats will make it easier to stick to your diet and not leave you feeling deprived.
Finally, trying carb cycling when working towards getting shredded can also help. Enjoying carbs on days when your body needs it most on those intense work out days allows your body to utilize carbs more efficiently. Carb cycling may promote more fat utilization on the days when your carb intake is limited, helping your burn more body fat.
Like with the fats, including carbs in your diet on the days when you are training hard can help you stick with your diet since you can enjoy those foods by timing them right.