The concept of having a goal(s) is crucial. How else would you be able to set a plan to get what you want?
Wherever you are in ANY facet of life, for that matter- is the culmination of the last 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years, 30 years.
Your financial situation.
What if you had started 3 months ago, where would you be now? Depending on the endeavor, 3 months can be enough to make massive strides, or it could barely be enough to scratch the surface of the goal. That’s why the best time to start is right now.
If you’re a guy interested in a good ab workout – and maybe even get some of your old swagger back – you may be wondering “are situps and crunches the only ab exercises to get a flatter stomach and six pack abs?”
Absolutely not. Pull up a chair, have a seat, and listen up.
How to Get a Six Pack
Somewhere after 30 years on this planet you start noticing things just don’t work the same anymore. You need more sleep after a night out, the libido isn’t what it once was just a few years ago, and somewhere along the way you picked up a spare tire to cover your once-proud waistline. You’re still a young man with plenty of fuel left in the tank so you’re not ready to throw in the towel and roll with that mediocre “dad-bod” look just yet. So you pick up a fitness magazine or read an article online that tells you to do a hundred situps before bed every night. You try it for a month but come out the other side with little to show for it. But all is not lost. Look- it’s a fine start. You got yourself to do something, which is a big key to success. After all, the best way to get started is… to get started.
As you know, most people have too much body fat to see abs at any point in their life, no less a 6 pack- so getting there is a sweet accomplishment- one that can trigger impulsive desires in women.
So how long does it take to get a leaner stomach and ripped abs? Well, it takes hustle and hard work, but if you’re willing to pay that price you can get lean and see your abs peaking out pretty soon.
Six pack abs are the hallmark of a well-conditioned man. They give you an immediate physical presence that people can sense. But I want you to realize that although getting a flatter stomach may seem like a shallow and purely aesthetic endeavor, there are some very real and very important benefits here. All health markers generally get to where they should be. Strong abs also give your entire body stability and and overall foundation of strength. You probably don’t realize it, but your abdominal muscles are involved in almost every movement you make- not to mention the provider of power while playing sports or exercising.
So what’s the difference that makes the difference? Why is it that what you’ve been doing hasn’t worked, and what can you do to get a flatter stomach as soon as possible?
The only way to achieve this is to combine a low abdominal fat percentage and building the muscle fiber of the abdominal wall.
I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying that if you carry out your orders like a good soldier, you’ll look good with your shirt off, on the beach, or however you like to spend time naked. Hustle and hard work I can’t give you, and nobody else can for that matter. You need to provide the drive to execute the plan. But if you want to win the battle, you need the right strategy, and that’s what I have for you.
So here they are on a silver platter:
Ab Exercises For Men: 3 Key Strategies for Six Pack Abs AKA Catnip for the Ladies
1) Resistance Training the Abdominal Muscles
Yes, the ab muscles respond to resistance just like your biceps, triceps or any other muscle. The abs can be trained in a way that actually makes them grow more muscle fiber. This does not make your stomach wider as you may think. It actually does the opposite and gives you a more lean visual appearance.
Training the abdominal muscles also makes them prominent when you get your body lean (read as: body fat low) enough. This is what give you ripped abs like my friend Charles Damiano:
I’m doing 3 sets of 100 crunches every day, but I still can’t see my abs. Should I aim for more reps?
As with all muscle, you must apply increasing resistance to make it stronger. The body’s adaptation mechanism will create filament (muscle fibers) to bolster the muscle that is there.
After you stimulate the muscle with resistance, you need to rest the muscle (i.e.; not work them hard every day). At most you’ll need to work the abs is 3 x per week if you’re creating enough intensity to overload them properly.
Doing 100 crunches every day is NOT going to make the abs change. You’ll get better at doing more and more crunches, but that’s not the goal here.
What about spot reduction in the abdominal area?
Spot reduction is not possible. No matter what these “fitness experts” pimping abdominizer gadgets on TV tell you at 3am. Fat loss around the waistline is achieved through a caloric deficit. I’ll get into this more in #3.
2) Cardio Training
Of course you need to burn the fat stored on your stomach and love handles if you’re going to see your abs. Cardio is a great way to burn off extra calories and the fat that blurs the definition that you can achieve in the abdominal region. I’m sure you’ve heard of the 4-pack?
Yup, that’s really a 6-pack that is still slightly covered with fat.
Still some work to do.
A person with a 4-pack can transform it into a 6-pack in about 2 weeks with proper resistance training, cardio and #3.
In performing cardio for fat loss, our goal is calorie expenditure. To achieve this, we’ll want to change variables for each cardio workout.
Key point: The wider variety of routines and variables you have in your repertoire the better.
3) 6 Pack Abs Diet
We want to make that 6-pack shine like a diamond. Although I put diet down at #3, it is by far the most important factor and can make the biggest impact in a short period of time.
Yes, proper diet -even more than cardio and resistance training- will speed your way to great abs.
Lets take a step back… all the way back to physiology 101
Fat loss boils down to calories in vs. calories out. Every day of your life you take in calories through food and drink. Calories come in the form of protein, fat and carbohydrates (and alcohol.. but of course if you’re trying so hard to get go down a belt notch, you wouldn’t be banging down shots of tequila with your friends.. would you?)
Here’s the break down of calories per gram of each of the macronutrients. Kcal is the term we use for calories.
There’s more than meets the eye in terms how these macronutrients interact with the body, but to keep this article simple, we’ll use this chart as the basis. (We’ve covered this and simplified fat loss for you in Man on a Mission)
Calories are being burned 24/7. Everything you do burns calories. Blinking burns calories. Chewing gum burns calories. Lifting weights burns calories.
EVERYTHING you do burns calories. You only stop burning calories when you’re dead. I’ll assume if you’re reading this you’re still alive and in the game.
To illustrate, I’m going to bring this out over 1 day and a 1 week time frame.
The name of the game is to burn more calories than you take in during a 24 hour period. Then we’ll take it out over a week to show you how this all comes together.
Lets say your average 24 hour calories burn (through blinking, chewing gum, exercising, and every day life) is 2,700 Kcal.
And your average 24 hour intake (spread over 5 meals) is 2,200 Kcal
2,700- 2,200= 500 calories
That’s a LOSS of 500 calories.
If you were to keep this pace up for a week, that would be 1 pound lost
500 Kcal * 7 days= 3,500 Kcal (1 pound)
Again, there’s a lot more going on in the body than this, but it’s easy to understand and a simplified primer on how to get abs fast.
You’ve gotten this far. Don’t be shy:
Got yer shovel in hand? Good.
Now scoop up all the bullshit you’ve been spewing about how you can’t eat right and exercise, and throw it off the roof. Make sure it hits the neighbors’ constantly-yapping Chihuahua.
Payback for years of lawn abuse.
Open your eyes so I can show you what to eat, cause’ healthy eating ain’t THAT hard.
From the unofficial life tips handbook:
Consistent exercise keeps your mind sharp and gives you energy to carry out the physical activities you enjoy doing.
Healthy diet plans keep your body fat in check, bringing you closer to six pack abs and makes you look better in clothes (and without clothes).
If you’re just getting into the game for the first time, or just need a kick-start to eating healthier…
How to Start Eating Healthy
Eat a decent amount (about the size of a deck of cards) of lean protein at each meal and add a fibrous vegetable such as broccoli, spinach or asparagus to at least 2 of those meals each day. (We tell you exactly which proteins and vegetables are best in Body Fat Sniper, If you haven’t yet scooped up your free copy yet- get it here).
Protein is the backbone of every cell in your body and is involved in everything from keeping your metabolism running hot to building lean muscle tissue. Fibrous vegetables will provide valuable antioxidants as well as fiber to keep you feeling full and avoid over eating.
Maximize Nutrient Value and Minimize Insulin Release
Focus on those foods that maximize nutrient value and minimize insulin release. That would be meat, leaves, and berries.
If it Comes in a Shrink-Wrapped Box with a Free Toy Inside, Don’t Eat It
Eat foods that are minimally processed and as close to their original state as possible. Heavily processed foods are stripped of nutritional value and provide empty calories while putting your insulin levels on a roller coaster ride. Packaged foods tend to be loaded with salt or sugar and can stimulate hunger- resulting in you eating more. Usually way more.
The foods you eat on a consistent basis dictate how much weight you lose and how fast you lose it.
Become the Alpha with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3’s are an essential nutrient that have been shown to have a positive impact on almost everything in the body. They’ve been shown to have a positive impact on everything from bone health to brain function, mood improvement, joints, skin, hair and nails.
Even more impressive, Omega-3’s play a role in lowering blood pressure, pain and inflammation and in battling diabetes, heart disease and certain forms of cancer.
How much do you need daily? Current research shows 1.5 grams on the low end to 3 grams at the high end. Fish oil is usually sold as liquid or in capsules. EPA/ DHA are how Omega-3’s are commonly referred to on the label.
Many fish oil capsules on the market provide 120 mg of EPA and 180 mg of DHA for a total of 300 mg’s of Omega’s. In this case you’d take 6- 10 capsules daily with meals.
I know some people who take the whole amount in one shot, but most of my clients who take the capsules prefer to space them out over 3 meals- 3 with breakfast, 3 with lunch and 3 with dinner.
With that said, I’m a big proponent of the liquid form made by Carlsons. You can get it in lemon or orange flavor and you don’t really taste fish at all (they deodorize the oil). Capsules tend to give you a fishy after taste and some people get indigestion.
Drink Your Water
By remaining hydrated (drinking more water) you will have more energy, think clearly and perform better at the gym. You’ll also recover faster after a workout and reduce your chance of injury. Have a glass of water before you go to bed at night and you should find you have increased energy when you wake up in the morning.
Keep calorie laden beverages like juices, soda and specialty coffee drinks out of the house. All they do is rack up calories and body fat.
and don’t forget to MOVE!
You don’t need a high-intensity workout every day, but on your days off from the gym you should still get some lower intensity activity in. (3-5 days of moderate to intense exercise is sufficient).
Even if it’s a simple 20 minute walk around the block after dinner, or playing with the kids. The health benefits are immense. And, not to mention those extra calories burned on a simple walk add up over time.
Now, go enjoy life! (clothing optional).
Slow down time…
We all wish we could, but it just ain’t gonna happen.
However, we may be able to slow the aging process a bit with antioxidants.
In recent years, fitness enthusiasts have started to take note of how antioxidants could be beneficial to health and performance. Antioxidants are nutrients and enzymes that fight free radicals, which are charged molecules that roam around like rogues.
We don’t like rogue molecules.
These stealth ninja’s circulate in your body-they basically go around screwing up the function of cells and other molecules that move in the blood.
Antioxidants Are Your Secret Nutritional Nunchucks
Some experts believe that free radicals are involved in numerous diseases such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease, and that they are associated with the aging process, even resulting in death.
Scientific research has indicated that strenuous exercise (the good stuff) increases the amount of free radicals; thus many sports nutrition experts are recommending increased antioxidant protection and a sweet pair of nunchucks for avid exercisers.
What Are These Prized Antioxidants?
Some examples of effective antioxidants include Vitamins C and E, carotenes (like beta-carotene), glutathione, CoQ10, N-acetyl-cysteine, selenium, and Alpha Lipoic Acid.
These antioxidants may help your body prevent free-radical damage that could ultimately lead to a decrease in performance as well as boost immune-system function to keep you going strong, strengthen collagen, and protect connective tissue cells.
On top of that, Alpha Lipoic Acid is a multi- faceted compound and may help you improve the action of insulin, safeguard cells against free-radical damage, increase energy production in your muscles and decrease fat storage in your body.
Where Do I Obtain These
Antioxidant Foods Nutritional Nunchucks?
The best way to get them is through eating natural food sources such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, peppers and garlic.
On the sweet side, fruits and berries- blueberries, cranberries, plums, goji berries, and watermelon. These sources are more complete in that they often contain phytonutrients and other substances not contained in the isolated supplement types.
If you’re like me and get lazy sometimes with the prep of these fruits and vegetables, but still want to get the benefits, Trader Joe’s makes some pretty solid blends- Super Greens and Super Red powder. 1 scoop in water, tastes ok, benefits are great.