Body fat – In order for your abdominal muscles to show you need to have a body fat percentage of approximately 10 per cent or less for men and 14 percent or less for women. This varies from person to person and depends on the level of definition you wish to see. Even if you have strong abdominal muscles, if they are covered by abdominal fat you will never have a ‘6 pack.’
Diet-To reduce body fat and reveal abs, exercise needs to be paired with a smart diet. Take in lots of high quality protein , vegetables ,fruit, beneficial fats and plenty of other nutrient dense foods.
Low carbohydrate diets are recommended when trying to lose fat as when the body has no more carbohydrates to burn it starts to burn fat. This being said carbohydrate should not be eliminated from the diet but it is better to time carb intake pre and post workout to fuel muscles and replace glycogen stores.Low Glycaemic index carbs are best as they are easier to digest and slower release such as green veg, quinoa and buckwheat.
Strength training -is one of the most effective ways to reveal abs, focusing on the classic lifts such as the squat and deadlift. Also think, lunges, press ups and chin ups and Olympic lifts. These lifts allow you to train with heavier weights which overload the musculature and cause the biggest adaptations. The abdominal muscles are primarily composed of fast twitch fibres and so respond very well to this type of training with heavy loads and lower reps.
HIIT – High intensity interval training such as sprints is one of the best methods to accelerate fat loss. It increases metabolism, reduces inflammation and improves the body’s ability to use and burn energy.
Alcohol- should be avoided when trying to lose body fat as it severely lowers the body’s fat oxidation rates. It also makes you eat more and make poor food choices.
Sleep –An inadequate amount of sleep causes the body to release a stress hormone called cortisol. This hormone promotes fat storage particularly around the abdomen making it hard to lose the layer of fat covering the abdominal muscles.
Stress management -As well as lack of sleep cortisol is also produced from physical or mental stress. Try to manage everyday ‘stressors’ with an all round approach encompassing nutrition, sleep ,deep breathing prioritisation and a positive mental attitude.
Tension/Breathing –When you perform an abdominal exercise tense when you reach the finish position (imagine you are about to be punched!) hold this for a second or two to maximise muscle-fiber involvement. This engages the abdominal muscles and increases the force of the contraction leading to greater muscular overload and adaption.
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