Getting six pack abs through proper diet is the first step to approaching the goal of your new physique.
The mistake most uniformed people make is to think ab exercises is the way to target the stomach to get six pack abs. In fact if that were your approach it is estimated it would take about 22,000 crunches and 1 years time to take a single pound off your middle.
What you will learn from this article is how to use your diet to naturally burn belly fat off your physique. You will learn about hormonal response and the foods that trigger those hormones to fire up your metabolism causing a fat burn while building muscle.
You will understand the differences between good fats and bad fats and how to use eating fats to help you lose weight. You will learn to eat more to lose more.
You will discover the importance of how to gauge your calorie intake in proper portions of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Using amino acids and supplements to stimulate testosterone and human growth hormone for major fat loss.
And you will get some good workout exercises and training to compliment your best abs diet to accelerate your six pack abs.
Regular all-encompassing exercise will help immensely and will speed up the process of weight loss and shedding the fat covering the abs. Ab exercises are good when you have abs to sculpt. If your stomach is laden with fat your not ready to start chiseling with ab exercises. That is a big waste of time. And, if you’re not paying attention to your diet your success will be limited.
Abs are made from your diet and most nutritionist agree account for more than 75% of your body’s form. You are what you eat. You can work out all you want but if you don’t eat properly the majority of the effort will be in vain. The intent of this article is to articulate the techniques of diet from reliable sources and those who have achieved the coveted six pack abs.
The abs diet is 75% responsible for your six pack abs. This article is going to discuss mainly the topic of diet and weight loss. Training and ab exercises will be in proportion.
When you understand how your diet is effecting your abs, it will be much easier to commit and stay disciplined to the goal.
The diet is something you have to be married to 24/7, while physical training is planned normally in advance for about an hour per session. Typically 5-6 times a week. Hence the majority of focus here is on the diet.
And while it is a challenge to eat correctly in itself, being surrounded with all the convenience of fast foods, vending machines, microwavable food and people in your circle who are not committed to the same goal, makes it even harder to stick to the diet.
This is why you need good information, a meal planner and your commitment. You must be disciplined to be successful. That will also mean cutting out alcohol to some extent which can be a challenge with some social folks.
Other Six Pack Ab Impediments to Success -Hormonal Response
Cortisol is the stress hormone that will keep the lower abdominal and love handle fat on the body. These areas are typically trouble areas for most people. Cortisol tends to cause fat to be dumped in these areas and over time accumulates into protruding middle and bulging sides.
The cortisol hormone is a direct response to stress on the body. It can be from a stressful relationship, career pressure, over training, lack of rest, and a bad diet.
There are many factors mentally and physically that cause cortisol to be released. Just know that being stressed is a cause to accumulating fat. Do what you can to eliminate stress. It will make a difference in burning the belly fat off.
One of the biggest benefits of adequate rest is the activation of the human growth hormone. This hormone is responsible for adding muscle to your frame, something you want to actively cultivate as much as possible.
HGH – Human Growth Hormone
The body naturally produces growth hormone in the pituitary gland. It is responsible for cell growth and regeneration. Also responsible for maintaining tissue health including the brain and organs.
Healthy adult men have less than 5 nanograms per millimeter circulating in the blood. A nanogram is equal to one billionth of a gram. Women will produce twice as much for child bearing. Both sexes peak in puberty and production falls off in their twenties.
When is HGH Produced?
Growth hormone is produced naturally three ways. The first way is through consistent physical training which studies have shown to produce GH. An inconsistent approach, hit or miss training, does not result in an increase in growth hormone.
Resistance training has shown to have the best effect for growth hormone secretion.
Secondly, growth hormone is produced when you reach a deep level of sleep.
When the growth hormone becomes present in blood glucose it is for a very short period of time and is quickly processed through the liver. It is released as insulin growth factor-1 containing anabolic properties. Anabolic is the synthesis of the molecules in the constructive phase of the metabolism into tissue.
Human Growth Hormone Benefits
GH has been shown to slow age related diseases, boost mental acuity, improved sex drive and mental wellbeing. This is a powerful hormone.
Amino acid supplements have shown to help to produce HGH. Arginine, glutamine and taurine are good pre and post work out supplements to get into your system.
Testosterone is a big factor in getting lean, building muscle and overall well-being. It effects the mood, sleep, libido, muscle mass, physical performance, and in its absence ADDs fat to your frame. Testosterone production begins to diminish as we advance in age starting in our 30’s.
Women have about a tenth of the amount of testosterone as a man. The hormone is parallel to that of men in the way it is diminished with age and in its production. Testosterone helps balance estrogen in women and will impact their metabolism, fat accumulation, bone mineral density and physical performance.
Exercise and diet are a big contributor to testosterone production. Studies have shown that compound exercises, using free weights boost T-levels. The best exercise for the T-boost are the foundation exercises, squats, bench press and dead lifts. It is optimal to use heavy weights as it is known to cause testosterone stimulation.
Supplements or foods with the following are known to help with testosterone levels.
Vitamin D – arguably the most important vitamin when it comes to testosterone from a study by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology.
D-Aspartic Acid (DAA) – DAA may have a key role in the regulation of the release and synthesis of LH and testosterone in humans according to a 2009 study.
Diindolymethane (DIM) found in vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, helps to reduce the reduce overall effects of estrogen.
Monounsaturated and good saturated fats also have shown to help testosterone production. Research from the Journal of Applied Physiology has shown that those who had a high fat diet vs low fat diet produced more testosterone.
Easy Way to Calculate Calories to Your Advantage
How many calories do you need to take in on a daily basis to get you to your six pack abs? That depends on your lifestyle and your physical training.
You’re going to eat and eat a lot to get your six pack abs. Read on!
The first thing you need to know is your ideal weight. This is typically measured by your height and weight and known as the body mass index or BMI. Keep in mind this is suggested and not absolute and a guide to strive towards.
Now that you know your ideal weight for your height you can figure out how many calories you need to eat per day. This is based on a range of 9-13 calories per pound. So multiply your body weight by 9 and 13 to give you a daily calorie range.
Example for a 5’9, 180lb man
180lbs. x 9 = 1620–and 180lbs. x 13= 2340 calories per day which is a normal intake to maintain the 180lbs.
To get the a ripped six pack abs using the BMI calculator reference above a 180lb man would need to weigh 156lbs to get ripped.
Calorically that equates to 156lbs. x 9 and 156lbs. x 13 = 1404 – 2028 calories per day.
As you progress to the ideal weight your body is going to fight a little to shed the last few lbs. This is natural and part of the body’s survival instinct.
When You Need to Make a Calorie Adjustment
You will need to reduce your calorie intake to 9-10 calories per lb. of body weight. You should also let your calories fluctuate a bit every few days to keep the body from adapting and compensating in trying to maintain the weight.
The Importance of Protein in Your Best Abs Diet
Protein keeps your metabolism running high and is the carrier of amino acids which in turn stimulates muscle growth. There are two forms of amino acids, essential and non-essential amino acids.
Not all proteins are created equally. While eggs have 11gm of protein, dry beans have 22gms. of protein. The beans have non-essential proteins. In other words they do not contain all the nutritionally valuable forms of amino acids.
To make all the proteins your body requires you need 22 essential amino acids. Ten amino acids are essential meaning you can’t synthesize them in the body. You have to get them through your diet.
Animal proteins are similar to humans which contains similar chains of amino acids. Proteins from animal origins are synthesized in the body more efficiently than plant proteins and are more complete. Meat, fish, poultry, eggs and some dairy products are high quality proteins.
Plant proteins are found in fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and beans. They have some amino acids and not near as complete as animal proteins. Soy beans are the best source of plant protein and is packed with abundant amounts of amino acids.
The basic standard of protein measurement is based on the egg. Eggs contain all the essential amino acids and is scored at 100%. While other foods may offer more protein they may fall short of containing all the essential amino acids.
Scoring the Amino Acids in Food
Nutritive Value of Foods (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1991); George M. Briggs and Doris Howes Calloway, Nutrition and Physical Fitness, 11th ed. (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1984)
Protein Intake and How to Measure it for Your Body
You will need a higher level of protein ingestion to obtain your six pack abs. A rule of thumb measurement is for every lb. of body weight you need 1.2-1.5gm. of protein.
Example of a Target Weight of 156 lbs. from previous conversation.
The range of protein you will need using the same example of above would be
1.2 x 156 lbs. and 1.5 x 156 lbs. putting you in the protein range of 187 – 234gm. per daily.
How to Leverage Carbohydrates for Your Best Abs Diet
You need carbohydrates for energy and you should have 25-50 grams before and after a workout. A regular sized red apple has about 25 carbs to give you perspective.
Always be sure to include a good portion of green vegetables as a source of your carb intake.
If you are very strict on the diet it would be beneficial to have a high carbohydrate weekend every 3-4 weeks. Keep in mind the better quality the carbohydrate the better for you. If you can, avoid the processed junk.
When Fat is Good for You
Good fats are found in:
• olive oil
• quality cheese
• dark chocolate
• full fat yogurt
• flax seeds & oil
Meet the Fat Family
Monounsaturated Fats – known to be good for your heart, cholesterol and overall health.
Typical Monounsaturated Foods:
• Olive oil
• Canola oil
Polyunsaturated Fats – similar to its brother Mono the difference here is its double bond structure compared to Mono’s single structure.
Typical Polyunsaturated Foods:
• Vegetable oils
Saturated Fats – are single bond structures and known to raise cholesterol (LDL). These fats are normally found in animal products such as beef. Your typical intake of these fats should be less than 10% of your total calories.
Typical Saturated Foods:
• Ice Cream
• Whole milk
• Vegetable oils including coconut oil
Trans Fats – extend shelf life of food and has a creamy smooth texture and tastes pleasant. Trans fats are made by a chemical process called partial hydrogenation. Liquid vegetable oil is infused with hydrogen atoms and converted into a solid.
Trans fats are worse than saturated fats being a cholesterol builder while simultaneously reducing good HDL levels and increasing triglyceride levels. A three time loser. Avoid this nasty concoction.
Now that you know the fat family you know which to avoid and which to keep in your life.
When you come to a point in your six pack ab journey where you’re down to the last few pounds of your target weight it is recommended that you avoid fat, including the good fat pre and post workouts. Those meals should be strictly protein and carbohydrates. Fat slows down protein synthesis (CHECK) and you want that infusion quickly for maximum effect.
The other 3-4 meals in your day should have 4-7gms. of good fat.
NOTE– both protein and carbohydrates each take 4grms. to make 1 calorie.
Simplifying the Best Abs Diet Plan
Try My Fitness Pal. It’s FREE!
You can set up your diet parameters and goals. You will have to input your daily consumption. The app has a great database of food listings with all the nutritional values to help you succeed in your abs program. The app will use your phones camera to scan bar codes to help you input foods from cans or other packaging making your inputs much easier.
Go to the website where it explains how to use the program. This is a great way to stay on top of what you’re eating and get educated first hand on the amount and quality of food you’re eating.
Summary to Best Abs Diet
One of the diets that gets a lot of attention is the low carb diet. And while this is effective it works for a very short period of time. The body adjusts quickly.
The way to get your six pack abs is by eating as much as you can while dropping fat weight. You use your carb intake to make adjustments in the process.
To get started on your program use the mobile app My Fitness Pal (suggested) and monitor your food intake for 3 days.
Using the average of those total calories adjust your intake to include a minimum of 1 -1.5gms. of protein, .5gms. of fat per lb. daily and the rest from carbs.
Now that you have your intakes adjusted and implemented reduce your carbs by 200 fewer calories. The caloric deficit will begin the process of shedding fat. You will hit another plateau at some point and when you do, reduce your carbs by another .25 per pound.
For example, a 200 lb. person consumes 1200 carb calories (300gm x4= 1 calorie) and has plateaued. They would reduce their carbs by .25gm per body pound for this next round of fat loss. This equates to a reduction of 400 calories from carbs.
Training for Six Pack Abs
One of the most effective ways to train is to use the HITT system, High Intensity Interval Training. This means you’re not standing around when you’re training. You will have full 100% effort of intense exercise for 2-3 minutes followed maybe by 1 minute rest continuing for several rounds. The benefit will by spending less time training and it will be more effective in burning fat and building muscle.
HITT increases your post workout metabolism while you’re not exercising and because of the intensity of the training you get an anabolic workout.
Some are concerned of losing muscle with this training because of the cardio effect, but research has shown that muscle is not lost but gained with this training.
Consider the physique of a sprinter compared to a long distance runner.
A study published in the Journal of Physiology found HIIT delivers all the health and fitness benefits of steady state endurance cardio in a fraction of the time
A study at Colorado State University found just 150 seconds of intense exercise can burn as many as 200 calories over the course of the next 24 hours thanks to a boosted resting metabolic rate.
Who should do HIIT?
Those who have already active and exercising on somewhat of a regular basis. This is high intensity training and not for a beginner but it is something to strive for if your not there yet. It is very effective in developing a lean physique, burning belly fat and a faster path to six pack abs.
There are several approaches to the training from the perspective of doing cardio style, resistance or a combination of both. here are a few examples.
HITT Cardio – Using a Treadmill
A cardio workout on a treadmill could look something like this:
• Start at about 10mph (75% of your max) for three minutes.
• Increase the grade (incline) by 10%. If at zero move to 1 continuing for 2 minutes.
• Slow down at minute 3 to a fast walk but increase the grade by 20% to a gradient of 3.
• Increase the speed again to 85% max for another 2 minutes.
• At minute 3 slow down to a fast walk and increase the gradient by another 2 to level 5.
• Continue this pattern until you reach the maximum grade on the treadmill which is usually 15. Don’t hang on to the rails. If you do you will incur a penalty of having to hold dumbbells for the duration of the training.
• There are some variances you should invoke over time. Such as keeping those dumbbells handy and even when you’re not in the penalty phase.
A Twist to Keep it Interesting
After your 3 minute run starting on gradient level 3.
• Instead of walking at a fast pace for a minute. Jump off and get into a squatting position holding the dumbbells. Do 10 or more squats with a dumbbell press at the top of your squat for the next minute. And do them deep for maximum effect.
• Take one minute to rest before jumping back on the treadmill unless you’re a masochist.
• Continue with the routine ramping up the treadmill incline and pace for the next two minutes and continue the pattern. Try to get 5 rounds in so that will at minimum a total of 50 squats and shoulder presses. Ideally strive for 100 reps.
• You can also use lunges in-between your 2 minute treadmill intervals.
Stationary Cycle (Cardio)
Similar to using a treadmill cycling is another way to use HITT training for cardio.
• Cycle at a resistance that allows for 70-80 rpms and go for about 3 minutes.
• At the beginning of the 4th minute explode those rpms over 100 and maintain it for 1 minute.
• Ease back to the 70 – 80rpms for another 3 minutes and repeat the sequence.
• Go for 5 rounds.
Resistance Training HITT Style
This is an example of resistance training outside a gym and without the use of auxiliary equipment ie weights.
What makes this effective is that you don’t stop until your through the repetitions. Speed is your friend here. You want to do them as fast as you can.
• 40 Jump Squats
• 30 Push ups
• 20 Split jumps
• 10 Triceps Dips (use a chair)
• 30 Second Burpees
• 30 mountain climber sprint ( as fast as you can)
There are many variations of HIIT exercises.
• 10 – 15 Pull-ups
• 30 Squats
• 30 Pushups
• 30 Jumping Lunges
1 minute rest and repeat 3 times with the goal of hitting 300 reps in the shortest amount of time. Try to progress and beat your previous time in succeeding sessions.
In a gym it will be the same approach with a variety of weight choices and exercise selection.
• 10 -15 squats (increase weight until you can only get 8 reps as you progress through rounds)
• 10 Pull-ups
• 10 reps of bench press
• 10 reps of should press
• 10 French curls
50 Reps of nonstop pushing. You will need about a 3 minute rest for the next round and will probably discover that you will need to lower the weight to make it all the way through to the next round.
You only want to do HITT workouts 3 times a week.
Crossfit is a great way to get in shape and can certainly get you to six pack abs and probably without even doing a single ab exercise. It is normally done in a group fashion and the training facilities is a bit different than a commercial or community gym. View the video to get an idea of what Crossfit is about.
A good way to get involved in a crossfit program is search your local community or find a meetup group in your area. Crossfit is a team environment which will help push you keep you motivated.
That was a lot of information. Here is a summary of what you need to do to get those six pack abs.
Steps to Execute Your Six Pack Abs Plan Now!
1. Start with your diet. Eliminate fast foods, processed foods, sweets, soda’s, anything that would come out of a vending machine, flour products.
2. Use the BMI scale to set your caloric target. Up your protein and lower your carbohydrates.
3. Get your meal planner and diet strategy together. Pick up the My Fitness Pal mobile app and update your diet daily.
4. Fitness – Find a program or hire a trainer. Both would short cut your time.
5. Get enough sleep and alternate your workouts from resistance training and cardio.
6. Check out the Free Resources for additional information that will help you in your quest for six pack abs.