What’s more elusive than Bigfoot and arguably more actively sought after? Money? Fame? True love?
You’ve already read the title so you know where I’m going with this.
Abs. Rectus Abdominis. We all have them. If only we could see them.
Even after slimming down, the abs elude. We think that if we could just get that last five or ten pounds off, perhaps they’ll show up. So we exercise. We crunch. We sit up. We buy fancy machines with great hope and promise. Two weeks go by and the stomach looks more irritated than dissipated.
I don’t think that getting abs is as simple as finding the perfect workout. You could spend the rest of your life searching for great ab workouts. Google it. As of this writing, there are 12,800,000 results from a generic ab workout search. Yahoo Answers shows over 55,000 questions related to “Best Ab Exercise”. You would think with so many results, less people would be asking the question.
That’s not even taking into consideration the question of “Abs after babies”.
The goal here is to find the process that works. I wanted to be able to provide a quick Five Step tutorial or “10 Best…” but you can find plenty of those in the above mentioned 12 million.
Let’s address the big factors involved with achieving the Holy Grail of fitness.
Always start with food. When it comes to anything health related, food is your number one factor. It’s becoming more and more common knowledge that general health and fitness is 80% diet. So let’s talk about food.
We’re not going to go over what not to eat. If you’re already healthy, you know all about cutting sugar and other good habits. However, we can mention one thing you may not have considered, especially if you’re in the Paleo/Primal world.
Cut down the animal protein.
I know. It’s heresy. The Paleo Police will be at my door any minute.
Hear me out. The problem with animal protein is not necessarily the animal protein. It’s the fact that you may be smashing it in between two large chunks of carby goodness with a side of more carby goodness. That one piece of lettuce and wilted tomato is not making up for the buns and fries. Even if your bun is gluten free, consider your ratio. Consider the macronutrient balance.
Say you have a third pound burger. The bun obviously is larger than the meat, and then you have two of them. With the fries, you have nearly three times as much carbs as you do protein.
And how many veggies? Not a lot, unless you have two stomachs.
The same thought process could go with any high protein meal. The problem with protein isn’t necessarily the protein. It’s the carb load on top of it. Think of your favorite red meat meals. It’s as though more starchy carbs instigates more protein, which leaves little room for the good carbs called vegetables.
Lower the carb and protein load and make up for it with veggies. You really can’t have too many greens on your plate. Go with the third pounder on a bed of lettuce if you really want some fries. Balance.
Last thought on the food portion of your abs. MORE VEGETABLES.
Yes, I just yelled at you.
Before you get too crazy on exercise, let’s work on remembering one very important number.
Your body has to rest. The more exercise you do, the more sleep you need. It only takes 20 minutes of exercise to need an entire 3 hours of rest to recover.
However, it only takes a couple of those 20 minute exercises a week to see some dramatic results. If you do the right exercise.
Targeted exercises like crunches are merely cardio. If you want abs, you have to work on your whole body. To cut straight to it, one of the best types of workouts is a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
The name sounds a little intimidating, but it’s more fun than you may think. Most HIIT exercises are high energy and short duration. Typically, they are also under 20 minutes. What you want is a core exercise, because that is what will get you to your abs.They just happen to work out the entire body.
Burpee's are a great way to start out, as you can start from a slow pace and kick up a couple notches as you become accustomed. From there, you can youtube all day for other HIIT workouts. Just remember to keep it short, and only a few times a week. If you keep your body in a high state of stress constantly by working out every day, you’ll never lose that belly fat. Stress equals weight retention.
Eat more veggies. Do the right exercise. And rest.