Recently, I've had people come up to me at the gym put their hands on their stomachs and ask, "What can I do about this?" The first thing I ask them is, "What is your diet like?" Their reply, "Well, I could eat better."
To achieve great abs, a proper diet, training and cardio routine is needed to strip the body of fat, making the abs visible.
You've heard the saying, "Abs are created in the kitchen." Let's start there. Friends of mine have mentioned to me they eat very few carbohydrates. If I were to do this, I wouldn't perform well during my weight training and cardio sessions.
Our digestive systems break down carbohydrates to produce glucose, which in turn provides us with fuel for a more efficient workout. Complex carbs such as starches and fiber are what I like to call the good carbs: oatmeal, whole grain breads, vegetables and brown rice. These types of carbs are not processed and loaded with fiber, minerals and vitamins, which gradually release glucose.
Simple carbs, or empty calories as I refer to them, contain refined sugars and are digested quickly. A few examples of refined sugars are table sugar, brown sugar and fruit juice. Try to eliminate the sodas, donuts, processed foods and white rice. Complex carbs, protein and healthy fats, Omega 3's, which can be found in salmon, flax seeds, olive oil and nuts, will be the lifestyle change needed.
The following are my favorite exercises focusing mainly on the upper, middle, lower and oblique (side) abdominal muscles. However, incorporating a weight-training program to build lean muscle tissue and by adding one to two high-intensity interval training workouts to your cardio sessions each week to lose fat will bring you that much closer to a flatter stomach.
While performing crunches, remember the following tips: elbows open wide, hands behind your head resting lightly on your fingertips, chin up and avoid lifting your neck. Draw your abs in to keep your lower back from arching, exhale when you lift and inhale when returning to the floor.
Bring feet in close to your buttocks, head on your hands, resting your neck. Lift your shoulder blades slightly, pulsing up and down keeping tension in your upper abdominal muscles.
Move your feet forward, bending your knees at a right angle. Lift your shoulder blades higher off the ground this time. Tighten abs as you crunch up; maintain it as you lower your shoulder blades back to the ground.
Move your feet out further so there is a slight bend in you knees. This time, as you perform the crunch, slow down and hold on the lift for a moment. This action is harder, working the abdominal muscles more.
Bend knees up to neutral position, cross one ankle over the opposite knee, hands behind your head, lift and twist with your oblique muscles. Visualize shoulder to hip, keeping the other arm resting on the ground, exhaling as you come up and inhaling as you return. Switch legs and repeat.
Training abs in the gym will help, but making the lifestyle change outside the gym is where it will count the most.
* Achieve great abs by proper diet and training.
* A proper diet consist of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats.
* Carbohydrates are essential for a more efficient workout.
* Add one or two high intensity interval training workouts to your cardio sessions.
* Different areas of the abdominal muscles can be trained simply by changing the position of our feet.