Abs Are Made In The Kitchen – Here’s How To Get Them
Think “abs” and what do you see? The gym, endless crunches and the holy grail of the fitness fanatic. Yet the truth is a lot simpler. Abs are made in the kitchen! No matter how much you train/crunch, unless your food focus is right then you’re always going to be on the journey rather than at the destination. Here we look at where your focus should begin.
Regardless of time spent in the gym, the secret to better abs, is your diet. Key elements to perfect abs lie in muscularity, genetics (not everyone is the same and we all cannot get the same results), diet and body fat percentage. The abs lie behind your belly, so if it has a layer of fat, it is overlying the abs themselves and hiding them.
Crunch away all you want. If you’re munching on the wrong foods, then your abs will never become visible, yes you’ll have them, but not to show off!
Depending on muscularity, some male abs will be visible around 15% body fat, but usually you will need to be 10% or lower –it depends on the spread of fat. For women, abs become more visible around 15%.
Certain foods contain more refined sugars, and this causes your body to produce a spike of insulin, resulting in additional calories being stored as fat. This is opposed to natural sugars such as those contained in fruit or whole grains, which does not have the same effect on insulin levels produced. Be warned though, fruit juices and dried fruits are not always the same and often contain refined sugars.
Not all food is equal and the quality and makeup of the food you eat affects how the body deals with it. Protein and “good” fats promote a thermic effect meaning that the body’s metabolism speeds up, burning more calories. Protein also stimulates muscle growth and muscles themselves burn more calories than fat.
This is the focus on one muscle group, such as the abs. If you repeatedly use a muscle it gets damaged through exertion and thereafter repairs, and grows if fed properly. But if this muscle is hidden underneath body fat, then it will not be apparent, regardless of how strong it is.
Here are some basic dietary tips to help reduce body fat:
- Cut down carbs, and if you do have them, ensure they are complex carbs and not simple carbs like refined sugar
- Cut out/down alcohol – why do you think they are called beer bellies? However the empty calories come in all guises including wine and spirits etc.
- Eat protein
- Eat good fats – they help the body function and repair
- Exercise and sleep well. A good regime includes resistance training and some cardiovascular training in the form of HIIT (high impact interval training) not just crunches – think of your whole body/core. All this effort will promote good sleep. Sleep itself is linked to the body’s production of cortisol which is linked to the storage of fat.
Gym v Food
You do need to train, but 500 calories less food is easier than 500 more on a treadmill. Focus on both as part of a healthy lifestyle, not as individual elements. This way you will not feel like the regime is harsh or punishment based, but rewarding and worthwhile.
Abs remain the number one aim of many gym goers, it’s just a shame that they do not see that the journey starts before they even leave the house!