Ever heard of the saying "Abs are made in the gym not revealed in the kitchen"? It's a popular saying that links the importance of weight loss or fat loss to building healthy abs. In truth, setting out to build abs without losing weight is like pouring water into a basket. It's all work in futility. The best way...No, scratch that. The ONLY way to build abs is to remove all that belly fat. What's the use of building abs if they are not revealing? Fat has a way of hiding abs. Why not burn that fat to show them off?
The best way to build a revealing well-defined six-pack?
Simply put, exercises are not enough. Complement with a diet to get abdominal muscles. A study of 24 participants who lived a sedentary lifestyle proves this. In that study, 6-week abdominal training did not do enough to reduce abdominal subcutaneous fat and other measures of body composition. According to Dimeji, a fitness coach and owner of Fitness Food Recipes in the UK, "the problem for most people who want to lose weight and have abs is that they do lots of ab exercises and hope that along the way, they burn some fat to reveal their abs. But burning fat doesn’t work that way".
To burn fat successfully, Demeji suggests incorporating a high protein or healthy fat diet. He further explains that a high protein diet ensures that you can build more lean muscles. Fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, milk, cheese, yogurt, and meat fall within the category of food that would enhance your muscle training. Healthy carbs can also be part of your diet to give you that energy you need to do vigorous exercises that train the muscles.
The important thing is to make sure that the amount of calories you take in is LESS than the number of calories you burn. It means burn more calories than you take in.
Building abs without burning more fat
Granted, it is not all the time that building abs come with losing weight. Some people may not possess belly fat and still venture into building packs. For others, they have burnt sufficient fat, but only need to maintain that shape while they continue to build muscles. Here's the trick.
- A healthy high protein diet still works for a lean person trying to build abs.
- Engage in resistance exercises while doing ab exercises twice a week. Resistance exercises alongside ab training ensure that you build muscles not just in your abs but throughout your body. Resistance exercises are also called strength training or weight training exercises. They work to strengthen your overall body muscles and build anaerobic endurance.
Some examples of resistance exercises
- Bent-over Row
- Bench Press
Be on a calorie match plan not a calorie deficit plan
The whole point of this is to make sure the amount of calories you take is exactly the amount of calories you burn daily. Use a diet tracker to be able to estimate how many calories you take in a day. After that, balance it up with the amount of exercise you do.
So, the first step to maintaining your current weight is to be aware that as you begin an exercise program, you will need to increase your daily caloric intake in proportion to the amount of exercise you are doing. The next thing would be to track how many calories you burn each day. Online calculators can help in this regard too.
In balancing your calories like this, you may need to use a weight loss treatment or technique. If you have figured how many calories you need in a day to match what you burn, you can do any of these two things while still on a diet.
- Intermittent fasting helps you restrict calories you feed on by staying away from food at a particular time of the day. Since you are on a calorie match plan, you don’t need to fast as long and as much as when you had weight loss as your goal. Your goal with a calorie match plan is to maintain your current weight.
- Weight loss medications that can help you stay full and restrict your appetite while some interfere with the absorption of fat.
Do circuit training to incorporate cardio training
Even better than resistance training is Circuit training. It is a style of workout where you cycle through several exercises (usually five to 10) targeting different muscle groups with little rest in between (one minute rest is usually enough after one set of circuit training). Circuit training helps your muscular strength and endurance and your cardiorespiratory system.
It helps you work different muscles by doing a variety of exercises. One set of circuit training can include five to ten exercises. And it is recommended that you do not do less than 3 sets of circuit training to get the desired results. Circuit training should fit between 10-45 minutes, depending on how much time you have. To get the most out of circuit exercise, include at least one of the following types of exercise.
- 1 upper body exercise. These exercises strengthen your arms and core. They generally improve coordination and stabilize the muscles. It goes without saying that these exercises are crucial to building abs. Some examples include, push up and bent over row.
- 1 lower body exercise. These kinds of exercises Increase bone strength, improve balance and boost stamina. calf raise and deadlift belong to this category.
- 1 compound exercise. They help you gain more muscle mass and improve intramuscular coordination. Jumping lunges and bench hop-overs make it to this list.
- 1 cardio exercise. Cardio exercises are good for the heart. Cycling, running or any aerobics are cardio exercises you should add to your circuit training.
One set of circuit training could look something like this.
- Bent over row 60 seconds
- Deadlift 60 seconds
- Jumping lunge 60 seconds
- Cycling 3 mins
- Rest for 1 minute and begin the process again.
You can add more exercises to this list.
Make sure to replace the energy expended. Only then can you define your abs without losing more weight thus putting you in better shape.
Article made possible by Amaka. Amaka is a content strategist at ofnoah.com. She has been working in social media and content marketing for five years. She specializes in the health, tech, innovation, and travel sectors. When she is not writing, you will find her teaching math, and trying new diet recipes and writing audiobook reviews.