“How do I get abs?” – This is probably the most asked question in the fitness industry. A lot of people seem to think that they can lose fat in the one area and just target their abdominal muscles in the hope that they will someday have that nice six pack they have always wanted. This is not how it works. The truth is, you already have a six pack! The difference between you and that fitness model in the magazines is body fat percentage. In this article I will give you tips on both nutrition required for your abs to ‘show’ and also exercises and workouts which will give you bigger and stronger abs.
Like I said you do have a six pack (maybe even an eight pack if your lucky!). Everyone has a layer of fat between their skin and their muscles, and it is this layer of fat which determines whether your abs are going to show through or not. This does not only apply for the abdominal area, this applies for your whole body. You cannot lose fat in the one area, fat is lost over the whole body.
Typically for your abs to show your body fat percentage needs to be:
Men: 10% or less
Women: 15% or less
This varies depending on genetics and just how large your abdominal muscles are. To get your body fat percentage to these levels you will need to eat correctly and train hard. To strip your fat down you are going to need to burn more calories than you are consuming each day. This is called a calorie deficit and because you are burning more calories than you have ate, your body needs to get the energy from somewhere else and therefor burns your body fat. It is a simple concept. Your diet should be made up of mainly protein, some carbohydrates and a small amount of fat. Check out or Nutrition/Recipe guides if you want to find some low calorie meals.
Now we understand that to get your ab muscles to show is determined by your body fat, it is time for us to understand how to make them BIG. There are so many great exercises for your core muscles that you most likely know; Situps, multiple variations of crunches, planks, leg raises. All these are great exercises but what people forget is that exercises such as squats, dead lifts, lunges all work your abs as they require your core to stabilize your whole body.
While most people know the main core exercises we talked about above, they forget one vital thing. Your abs are muscles! Just like any other muscle in your body (chest, back, arms, legs, shoulders) you need to train your abs with weights in order for them to grow and pop out even more. So when you are doing some crunches, hold a weight to your chest to make it more difficult and activate more muscles fibers. Hold a dumbbell in between your feet when you are doing leg raises. Anything to add more resistance and make the exercise a little bit harder to do (no pain, no gain). This, like any other muscle, will tear the muscle fibers and through recovery and good nutrition will repair stronger and begin to get larger.
Check out the BodyBase exercise finder for ab exercises (coming soon!).
So, to summarize – eat less calories than you burn in a day and train your abs (with weight!). If you stay dedicated and consistent you will get there!
Get Smart, Train Smart, Achieve Goals.