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6 Tips to Sculpt 6-Pack Abs

With summer now rapidly approaching, many of you may be making a conscious effort to achieve a body you’d be proud to show off. Whereas some of you may be thinking this, but haven’t yet converted those thoughts into actions that can be added into your daily routine. A common consensus I’ve become aware of over the years, is that the aim of most males is to develop a chiselled abdomen, therefore I’ve put together 6 tips to help you in your journey to achieving this goal.

1. Strategic intake of carbohydrates

To make it clear early on; carbs are not the enemy, however you must understand how they affect the body and structure your intake accordingly. Carbohydrates eventually break down into blood sugar (glucose), in order to cope with the elevated glucose levels the body uses the hormone, insulin to shuttle this nutrient – and other nutrients – into the body’s cells. When this happens the body goes into storage mode, meaning its ability to burn fat is minimalised – not a state you wish to maintain when the goal is the reduce body fat to expose your abdomen. With this in mind you should aim to consume your carbohydrates after you have trained, a time where the body’s muscles need this valuable nutrients.

2. Train the whole body

Although the goal is to develop the abdomen region, a larger goal within this is to reduce your body fat. This is because the body has strong tendencies to store fat around the torso. In order to help burn this fat you must train with intensity, which largely means engaging as much of the body as possible when you exercise, to recruit as many muscle groups as possible and increase the heart rate. Training at such an intensity is not only great for burning fat whilst you’re training, but also research shows this form of training increases the metabolism for up to 72 hours post-training. A great way to achieve this intensity is by performing compound exercises, such as deadlifts; squats and bench press.

3. Monitor your calorie intake

With such a large part of this goal being dictated by your body fat percentage, it is imperative you expend more calories than you consume, therefore monitoring calorie intake is key. The Harrison benedict formula is a great and easy way to gage what your daily calorie expenditure is and there are many apps now available to help you record your calorie intake, such as myfitnesspal. Being in a caloric deficit on a consistent basis will enable to body to gradually reduce body fat.

4. Train your abs

This point may seem incredibly obvious, but with the philosophy of "abs are made in the kitchen" being passed around by many fitness experts, it can become easy to neglect dedicating time and training specifically for the abdomen region. Although, as previously mentioned - it is key to bring your body fat down, training this area will also help you expose your abdominals by developing the muscle in that region and assisting with spot reduction of fat in that area. Aim to train your abs 2-3 times per week for 20 minutes, ensuring you vary the resistance placed on the muscle group, working towards 8-20 reps per set.

5) Cut out the booze

Probably the point many of you have been dreading, but I’m afraid this one is as, if not even more crucial than the other points. A quick way to gain unsightly weight is by drinking your calories, so if you’re drinking large volumes of alcohol (7 calories per gram), such as beer, you’ll find it incredibly hard to keep your body fat percentage low. Furthermore, alcohol also reverts the body out of an anabolic state into a catabolic state: where the body is predisposed to store fat and reduce lean muscle mass.

6. Drink lots of water 

Not only will drinking an adequate amount of water help maintain a healthy metabolic rate throughout the day, but it will also help reduce water retention, giving the body a much leaner look. Aim to consume 6-8 glasses of water per day as a minimum, increase this amount if you are exercising as you’ll lose fluid due to increased sweating.

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