After spending countless days and weeks downloading and learning to love (and hate) ab challenge, daily workout, and “water intake” apps, the frustration just doesn’t seem to simmer. Where in the world are those damn abs that I’ve been working on? I’ll let you in on a secret: the ab challenge and daily workout don’t do much when you’re eating pizza for lunch every day.
The idea that we get abs through working out is essentially untrue – we already have our abs. Doing exercises for our core only makes them stronger and bigger, prime for reducing our chance of back injury and for improving sports performance. But if your abs aren’t visible, it’s not for this reason.
Getting actual visible abs is instead a result of cardio and a wholesome, healthy diet. If there is a layer of fat covering your abdominal muscles, you could basically do leg raises and crunches every day for months and you’d never see a difference. A healthy meal plan will lower your body fat and uncover your abs, so replace your pizza with a healthier option to make your time at the gym really count.
Another reason your abs might not be visible is because you’re focusing more on the number of reps you do as opposed to how much you’re putting into each rep. While doing 500 crunches might seem insane and ridiculous, you’re actually better off doing reps of 15-30 with a heavier weight. You’re also better off having variation in your workouts. Doing the same exercises every time you do your ab workout won’t be as effective as changing it up every time.
#Spoontip: There are tons of free apps with varied abdominal workouts (and more) if you need some inspiration such as Daily Workouts Free, Runtastic Six Pack, and Belly Fat Workout Free.
So, you ask, what can you actually do to get those abs?
Cardio is essential to body fat loss. You still won’t see your abs immediately (sorry) but it’ll put you on the right path. Cardio doesn’t only mean going for a five-mile run, because who can do that anyway? There are tons of different ways to go about getting your cardio in such as HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) and LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State).
2. Keep Your Reps Low
The key to your ab workouts is resistance. Try exercises like Russian twists, hanging leg raises, and side bends for a more effective workout. Try three sets of 15 reps. Do this 2-4 times a week alongside your cardio.
3. Steer Away From the “College Diet”
It’s really no secret that college is full of pizza, beer, and late night popcorn binge eating. While this is great when you’re studying for a final exam every once in a while, it isn’t great in terms of your visible ab development. Eating in the caf can be hard, but nutrition is key in this process. It’s important to get well-balanced meals with protein, carbs, fruits, veggies and more.
Next time you’re eating dinner, shoot for a piece of grilled chicken with some brown rice and a side salad. Sounds boring, but it’ll have a way more effective response on your abs than that BBQ chicken slice you had the other weekend. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices to attain our goals.