Take a look around the next time you are at the gym. What do you see?
No, not the girl on the leg curl machine! Keep looking….
You see people lying on dirty gym mats doing endless crunches and spending hours on cardio machines like a hamster stuck on a wheel. Even today, with all the great information out there regarding exercise and weight loss, this is what people continue to do to lose unwanted belly fat and get rock hard abs.
So let’s finally end this confusion on how to get awesome abs. People seem to train their ab muscles differently than any other muscles. This is a big mistake. You wouldn’t build your biceps by doing 100 reps with no weight, so why would you think you would develop your abdominals by doing 100 crunches or more? For that matter, you don’t even need to do crunches at all to build rock hard abs!
Your abdominals primary purpose is to actually stabilize your spine and to keep your torso from twisting in half under times of physical stress. Some great ab exercises are the elbow bridge plank, the side plank, stability ball plank, ab wheel rollout, cable woodchop, Russian twists, mountain climbers, seated leg lifts, hanging leg raises and cable crunches. Yeah, I know, the cable crunch is technically a crunch, but it is a great exercise for working the ab muscles under load.
Another great tool for your abdominal training should be the use of a Stability Ball. You notice I said “tool.” This is not some magic bouncy ball that burns belly fat as the TV infomercials try to make you believe. You might have seen them in your local gym as soccer players to soccer moms use these to help develop functional core strength. They allow you to build overall core strength and stability by bringing into play all the little stability muscles that you cannot stimulate through regular resistance exercise. You can do almost any weight training exercise on them using dumbbells. It is also a great tool for a simple home gym. Just make sure you are using an anti-burst ball if you plan on using heavy dumbbell exercises!
Overall, the best exercises for your abs are exercises that allow your body to use your core the way it is meant to be used: for stability and support. Heavy squats and standing overhead presses work your abs better than any crunch will ever do.
The most effective exercise method is a two-pronged approach of weight-lifting and high-intensity cardio. Studies show that weight-training elevates your metabolism up to 39 hours after your workout. Studies also show that interval cardio burns fat 9 times faster than slow long duration cardio. For best results, follow the exercise guidelines of 3 weight-training workouts a week combined with short interval burst cardio like is found in the Dad Fitness workouts
To finally see those lean abs looking back at you in the mirror, you have to realize that your DIET is the most important aspect of getting to reveal those rock hard abs that you train so hard in the gym. I love the quote, “Abs are built in the kitchen.” This is primarily true because you could do a 1000 crunches a day and still not see your abs if you are eating the wrong foods. Most people today are overweight, so basically do the opposite of what most people do so you don’t look like most people.
Here are 3 simple secret diet strategies to get those abs once and for all.
1. Eat Dinner For Breakfast
Yes, you read that right, eat dinner for breakfast! Stay away from the highly processed boxed cereals and have what most people see as a dinner meal. Lean meat and veggies. Here is another diet secret that Olympic athletes use to get super lean, super fast. Have a meat and nuts breakfast every morning. This keeps your blood sugar stable and gives your muscles lean protein and healthy fats to keep your metabolism elevated. You will also find that you have better mental clarity. Example meals would be a turkey burger and cashews, or steak and walnuts. Try a different meat and nuts combo every morning.
2. Earn Your Carbs
You need carbohydrates for energy right? Yes, but are you consuming more energy in the form of carbs than you are burning up? Here is a simple and easy way to manage your carb intake: Only eat starchy carbs during the 2 hours after your workout. During this time your body will use the carbs to replenish your muscles energy stores and they won’t be stored as bodyfat. Starchy carbs are pasta, potatoes, rice, oatmeals, breads, and cereals. Even when you do eat these post-workout, make sure you choose the whole grain and whole wheat varieties. The rest of the day, eat fruit or veggies as your carb source.
3. Eat Breakfast For Dinner
So you already had dinner for breakfast. It only makes sense to have your normal breakfast for dinner. Keep remembering to do the opposite of what is the norm. Most people’s diets are backwards; they eat a small breakfast, if at all, then a medium lunch and top the day off with a large dinner. To achieve a lean body you need to have a large breakfast, a medium lunch and a small dinner. This coincides with most people’s activity levels, making sure calories are being used as fuel and not stored as fat. So for dinner, an omelet with mixed veggies is a great choice to end the day towards leaner abs.
Well, there you go. When you feel overwhelmed with information on finally getting rid of that belly fat or you feel your current weight loss efforts are getting you nowhere, use these tips to keep you on track to lifelong fitness and to achieving those Awesome Abs.
Original Article Image: Nathaniel Dodson
Sean Barker is a busy dad who finds time for family, fitness and fun. He likes pumping iron as well as producing it, as a heavy equipment
operator in the iron ore mines. He is ALSO a nationally certified personal trainer who writes for Fit Parent and Inside Fitness magazines and is the author of The Dad Fitness System at www.DadFitness.com. Sean also has a Dad Fitness Blog with tips, thoughts, and humor on being a fit dad at DadFitnessBlog.com.