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Workouts and diets for achieving your dream six pack

by Anna Miller, How to lose belly fat.

You cannot get your dream six pack abs miraculously. But if you get your diet and exercise right, they might look miraculous.

Exercise plays a major role in developing abs. Contrary to what many people think, it's not all about exercise. To get great-looking abs, you must follow a healthy and nutrient-rich diet. It needs to be relatively low-calorie, but contain the right amounts of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins; thatís the key.

Sources of Protein

Eating adequate protein is important for developing abdominal muscles. You must find out how much protein you need. As a general rule of thumb, it's 1 gram for every pound of lean body weight (not total body weight). Start there, and adjust until you find what's right for you.

You must also get adequate calories so that you can build muscle and melt fat fast. Many people think fewer calories means better definition, but it's not quite that simple. Fewer calories can mean less muscle, and definition comes from both increased muscle and decreased fat. Too few calories also puts your body into the catabolic state, which means it's conserving fat and consuming muscle. This is the exact opposite of what you want.

Building and maintaining muscle makes your six packs more visible, simply because there's more muscle under the skin and fat. It also raises your base metabolism, which will help reduce the amount of fat that's hiding your abs.

Rich sources of protein include lean meat, eggs, fish, soy, poultry, and yogurt. If you are having trouble with eating enough of these, protein shakes can help close the gap. Bars may also help, but be careful what you buy. Most are loaded with sugar.

Carbs are Important

Carbohydrates are important for muscle building, but consume them in moderation. There are some healthy carbs, such as brown rice and whole grains. You can also include green vegetables, such as broccoli, romaine lettuce, and kale. Kale and broccoli are "super vegetables," and as members of the brassica family are excellent sources of calcium and other important nutrients.

Choose the least-refined sources of carbs. For example, whole grain brown rice trumps white rice. Old-fashioned oats will trump instant oats by a country mile, every time. Most wheat products aren't even in the ballpark, so try excluding wheat in general.

Fats

Yes, thatís right! Your body needs fats for developing an impressive six pack. Fats are extremely important for a healthy and balanced diet. However, you need to limit saturated fat. For example, if you eat meat then trim the excess fat off it. Or if you use butter in cooking then add a bit less than the recipe calls for. Your body can handle saturated fat, but not if you gorge on it. A person on the typical American diet is way past gorging. With only a little effort, you can reduce saturated fats to a healthy level.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good sources of fats. You can find these in  avocados, nuts, naturally derived peanut butter, olives, soy bean oil, and sunflower seeds.

In addition to the sources of foods, it's important to concentrate on your meal timing. Your body's metabolism is geared toward 6 small meals a day. While this might seem "unusual" many people already do this. Construction workers, for example, typically have a sandwich or piece of fruit at break time. It's a tradition. And it keeps their energy up while they're on the job. In the U.K., five meals a day is standard. In the USA, people somehow got off track with only three--it doesn't work.

An interesting side effect is that if you eat six small meals a day, you're more likely to consume fewer total calories. Several mechanisms drive this outcome.

Eating 5 or 6 small meals a day ensures that your body is constantly fueled. This revs up metabolism (read, "burns fat and builds muscle"), and helps fight food cravings that could hinder your results. Stronger metabolism makes six packs visible more quickly.

Exercises Ė The Key

You cannot achieve your dream six pack if you are not serious about exercising. That means doing it right and doing it on a regular schedule. Ab muscles are difficult muscles to stimulate to grow, and it can be extremely challenging to work them out. Thus, you have to take great care to train and develop your abdominal muscles to get the desired look.

You can do ab exercises at home. You need not spend hours of time and a lot of money at the gym. In fact, good ab training is very time-efficient. People who do hundreds of sit-ups aren't doing ab work. They are doing hip flexor work. Take a look at their abs, sometime. You won't see very strong muscle there, because they've been wasting their time doing hundreds of useless exercises. Situps also put you at risk for chronic back pain. leave them out of your program.

Don't overtrain. If you do your ab work correctly, once a week is often enough. You need to condition your whole body to have great abs, so those other six days will involve other workouts (and a rest day or two).

Here are some of the common exercise forms you can try for developing six pack abs:

  • Crunches, a modified form of the sit-up, are great for working the upper and middle abs.
  • Reverse crunches work the lower abdominal area.
  • Double crunch is a combination of reverse and normal.
  • Leg lifts work the lower abs. You can do hanging leg raises or do the floor exercise version.

Planks. The plank is one tough exercise, if done correctly. It recruits many major muscles, so it burns calories at a very high rate. Because it's a compound exercise, it also draws on the stabilizer muscles in your trunk. The plank helps improve your posture, which is also a significant factor in having great-looking abs.

Besides these exercises, do strength training to work the core muscles. In particular, the front squat when done slowly, provides an awesome ab workout while also optimizing your body's hormonal environment in a natural way. To avoid overtraining, do these twice a month and never on an ab workout day.

Anna loves to blog on belly fat reduction. To know more about her updates please view How to lose belly fat.


 

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