I always see people do a double take on men and women who have washboard abs. Awe-inspiring rippled abs signify an extreme level of conditioning — plus a pretty good-looking bod.
Everyone always talks about getting a six-pack, but in reality, it’s an eight-pack.
“The eight-pack is a long, thin muscle whose fibers run vertically down the body from the breastbone and fifth, sixth and seventh ribs to the top of the pubic bone. The eight sought-after bumps poke out through a grid of flat tendons that run down the center and across the muscle at intervals.”
You don’t really care, do you? Come on, be honest. You just want to know how to get them, don’t you?
You’ve come to the right place, but you might not like the answer.
If you think 100 or 1,000 abdominal crunches per day will give you an eight-pack, then you really need to read this.
Here’s how it’s done:
1. NUTRITION: This is the most important component to achieving great abs. Nothing is more important than food.
First, you’ll need to control blood sugar levels in order to lose body fat. This is best accomplished by consuming five to six meals per day. Don’t mistake the definition of a meal for a six-course extravaganza. A meal might be an egg white omelet (with vegetables) and oatmeal with some blueberries in it, chicken with a 1/2 cup of rice and a large salad with some oil and vinegar, an apple with a scoop of protein powder or cottage cheese with some fruit.
Get the picture? I’m referring to them as meals, but they’re actually feedings. Each of the meals is comprised of protein, a little carbohydrate and a little fat. In some cases, the fat is built into the protein. In other cases, it’s added to the meal.
2. RATIOS: It’s unlikely that you’ll get tight abs and a flat stomach by consuming 80 percent of your calories from carbohydrates. Ratios can vary quite a bit, but consuming more than 55 percent of your calories from carbohydrates is not optimal for fat loss. Many people do quite well on extremely low-carb plans, while others succeed on more moderate plans. As long as you eat no more than 55 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, you’ll be at a good starting point.
3. TIMING: I realize four to six meals sounds like a lot, but you must keep in mind that the body always seeks to store body fat. The body doesn’t care if you want to lose fat. In fact, your body would prefer to keep fat in order to accomplish its No. 1 goal of keeping you alive in case of future famine or drought.
Always consider the body from the inside out and not the other way around. In order to control blood sugar, eat every two to three hours throughout the day; eating every few hours and using the most effective nutrient ratios will help control blood sugar and assist in body fat loss.
4. CALORIES: I’ve received emails from people telling me that they?re perfect with their nutrition, ratios and timing, but they still can’t lose body fat. In every case, they’re still consuming too many calories. It doesn’t matter how healthful your nutrition program is if you’re eating too much.
It’s important that you determine maintenance calories first. Maintenance represents the amount of food you consume without any change in your weight. This will take some experimentation and some effort. You’ll also need to document your foods — total calories as well as grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats.
5. SLIGHT CALORIC DEFICIT: After you’ve determined maintenance, simply reduce your calories by 200. Our goal is to have you eating as much as possible while still losing fat and retaining muscle. I don’t want you eating as little as possible (thereby slowing the metabolism and losing valuable muscle tissue). The first week, you may lose 4 to 6 pounds of water. After the first week, you should only lose about 1.5 pounds per week. The goal is to preserve muscle and make your body a metabolic inferno. If you’re not losing up to 1.5 pounds per week (it will fluctuate week to week), you should reduce calories by another 100. Then, monitor your progress after one week — you’ll probably be right on track.
6. CONSISTENCY: You’ll need to be on this nutrition program six days a week with one day being somewhat of a time to cheat. Unlike many, I’m not a big fan of the “cheat” day. I find that people tend to use it as an excuse to gorge themselves.
So on Sunday, for example, you’re allowed to have some pizza and a bit of ice cream — but nothing extreme! When you pig out, blood sugar levels can be elevated for seven hours or more. This will absolutely halt your fat loss.
7. WEIGHT TRAINING: At this point, you should be aware of the importance of resistance training. Just three to four workout sessions that last no more than 35 minutes to an hour will do the trick. For every pound of muscle on your body, you’ll burn 30 to 50 additional calories per day.
Part of your program should include abdominal exercises to strengthen and build the upper and lower abdominal region. This way, when you achieve your low body fat level, your abs will be tight and visible.
8. CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE: Perform moderate cardio exercise three to five days per week for approximately 30 to 40 minutes. During two of the days, you can exercise at a higher intensity level to accelerate fat loss, but only if you reach a sticking point. If you’re a beginner, then remember to increase exercise gradually.
Do this consistently; keep adjusting calories slightly (with the help of our nutrition support staff and the specific nutrition program you selected from the site); and change your routine every three to four weeks.
As always, check with your doctor prior to beginning any exercise program.
Article contributed by, Raphael Calzadilla, eDiets Chief Fitness Pro