Want to lose fat and have great looking abs? If so, you are not alone. Millions of people have this goal, yet few attain it. As you read this countless people around the world are trying to crunch their way to firmer, trimmer waistline and failing miserably. Want to know what really works? Like it or not, here is the truth about losing fat off your waistline.Forget spot training
When it comes to training for fat loss, many people mistakenly use small, isolation exercises to target the muscles under their “problem spots”. Because the abs a common problem spot for many people, their efforts automatically turn to lots of useless abdominal exercises. Now, if you could spot reduce, this would be a brilliant idea. Since it is not, this is a tremendous waste of time. If spot reduction did work, we would have obese people with six-packs. However, the only people you see six-packs on are people who are lean all over! For more information on spot reduction, check out my post on The Greatest Fitness Myth of All Time.
Look to the kitchen
A while back I was at a gym and noticed an important sign over by the crunch mats which read, “abs are built in the kitchen” – well said! The number one most important thing you can do for great looking abs is to change how you eat. Spending more time searching online for fantastic fat-loss recipes, going grocery shopping, preparing healthy, fat-loss appropriate foods, cleaning your kitchen and food logging will have the biggest impact on how your abs look.
For more information on fat loss nutrition, see these posts:
Look outside the gym
Sleep, rest and stress management go a long way to helping you recover from intense training and creating the optimal hormonal environment to help you lose fat. Do not underestimate their impact on your waistline. For more information, check out my post on 10 Steps to Faster Fat Loss.
Improve your posture
While there are no quick fixes to a better body, you can instantly look leaner, fitter, healthier and more confident by improving your posture. Most of the information about the benefits of good posture focuses on health, injury prevention and performance, but proper posture has a HUGE impact on your aesthetics. For more information on this, check out my posts: How to Instantly Look, Feel and Perform Better and How to Improve Your Posture.
One common problem spot for ladies is their lower abs. If you want flatten your lower abs, you have to fix anterior pelvic tilt. For more information, check out The Real Secret to Flat Lower Abs.
Train to maximize total-body fat loss
Once your eating posture and lifestyle are order, it is time to look at your training. Here, is where most people go back to the spot reduction myth and pick small, easy, useless exercises. Instead, you want to go in the exact opposite direction and embrace the big, hard, uncomfortable ones. These are the ones that will have the biggest impact on your fat loss efforts. When I am writing a fat loss program, I look for exercises that:
- Use multiple joints
- Move the body through space
- Are hard & uncomfortable (but not damaging to your joints)
- Are easy to progressively add weight to
- Do not let you sit or lie down
Also, throw in intense interval training such as sprints, hill sprints, sled pushing or sled pulling after your lifting.
Even though you may not feel a burn in any of these exercises and they are not considered ab exercises, they are the most effective for stripping fat off your body and thus they will have the biggest impact on how your abs look.
What about the ab exercises?
Does that mean that you should not do any direct abs work? Not necessarily. Once you have accepted the fact that you cannot spot reduce, adjusted your nutrition, improved your posture and are doing the big, hard total body exercises, you can by all means add a small amount of direct ab work to your routine. However, you need to pick the right ones. I’ll tell you more about this next time…