Having a six-pack or defined abdominal muscles can be a goal for many fitness enthusiasts. How to obtain this desirable look though? You may have perhaps put hours over a number of weeks into the gym and yet that six-pack is still eluding you.
There are some things you can do to improve your chances of obtaining those defined abs that you desire. By following these ideas you will gain some other significant health benefits too.
Why are abdominals so desirable?
Strong, defined abdominals do not only look good they are also desirable for good health. Strong abs mean there is more support so these exercises can help with lower back pain. There is also a correlation between hip and waist ratios along with BMI in judging the risk of heart attacks. Carrying extra weight around the waist can also increase the risk of diabetes and even asthma.
What is BMI and what should yours be?
Body mass index is a way of checking whether someone has the correct body weight for their height. You can calculate your BMI online to see how it measures up but here are guidelines laid out by the National Institute of Health:
- Less than 18.5 is measured as underweight
- 18.5 to 24.9 is normal
- 25 to 29.9 is overweight
- A BMI of 30 or over is considered obese
To gain those abs you so desire you will have to monitor your BMI as part of your fitness routine. Another key area to gaining a six-pack is your diet. Below are some key points for both exercise and diet.
Foods to eat to help obtain abdominal lines
The place to begin when aiming for defined abs is the kitchen. When you are looking for tips for a healthier lifestyle your diet is where you should start, exercise alone won’t bring all the changes you desire.
You are aiming for an overall fat reduction so forget any ideas of spot reduction as this has been proven to be largely ineffective. The foods you want to be eating are high in protein, healthy fats, whole foods meaning fruit and vegetables, and whole grains. Here is a list of foods that will aid you in your quest for ab lines:
- Fatty fish
- Fruit and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
Green or black tea has been shown to increase weight loss and reduce waistlines. Legumes such as peanuts and lentils are high in protein, vitamins, and minerals and their fiber content can help with losing fat around the belly. Fish has the protein you need and Omega-3 fatty acids too.
Foods to avoid
Of course, some foods will only hinder you and you’ve probably already guessed what they are. Alcohol, soda, and sugary drinks fried and processed foods are all bad when you are looking to lose fat from your waist area and are generally unhealthy too. One thing to note is that you are not going on a crash diet, being runway thin is a killer and you want to eat nutrition-rich food and just avoid empty calories.
Exercise routine for defined abs
It is important to realize that you cannot just concentrate on your abs. You need a balanced fitness regime to go along with your new clean eating habits. Nutritious food will only take you so far however so here are some ways to use the gym effectively.
Include cardio in your routine
This is the best way to burn calories over some time and is much healthier than trying to crash diet. Cardio is good for your heart and will increase your overall fitness as well as burning off extra calories.
Perform high-intensity training
A couple of times a week include some high-intensity workouts as part of your routine. You will lose some extra calories quickly and it’s great for your general fitness too.
Perform core exercises
As well as adding more muscle on you will need to work your ab and core areas. Your diet combined with cardio exercise will have lowered your overall fat and hopefully, your abs are slightly more visible. Ab and core exercises will help take your definition to the next level. Use the following to help with more defined muscles:
- Bicycle crunches
- Vertical knee raises
As well as your diet and exercise you can also incorporate some technology into your routine. Using a FitTrack BMI scale can help give you some extra motivation as it accurately tracks your progress and helps you to make informed decisions about your health from the data it provides.
If you want those desirable ab lines then you will need to combine a healthy diet with exercise and maybe the use of some technology. Of course you can lose weight without going to the gym but you won’t get those killer abs. The bonus of improving your abs is not just aesthetic but there are also health benefits to be considered too so the work you put in will be worth it.