A ripped six-pack, unsurprisingly, is at the top of most men’s agenda. Some have it, most want it — but few are willing to put in the work that gets your abs on show. The cold, hard truth is that it takes months and years to get that ideal six-pack. But, armed with the right knowledge, you can win the battle of the midriff in record time.
Let us talk you through the six-pack mistakes you’re making.
You’re still eating sugar
Clear skin, solid sleep, a clear mind and a healthier heart are all promises that a (predominantly) sugar-free diet can make. One of the biggest benefits, however, is the weight that drops off once the white stuff is ditched.
So, by saying no to a sugary cereal bar and ending your habit for late-night ice-cream runs, you can say au revoir to over 200 pesky calories a day. Handily, this can translate to a 5kg drop in weight in as many months. Sweet.
You’re not in a calorie deficit
For some, the key to effective weight-loss could come down to a simple motto: eat less and move more. In doing so, you’ll put your body into a caloric deficit where you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming — for example, an average, sedentary man with a desk job burns around 2000 calories a day — so make sure to include at least three weight-training sessions a week.
To truly initiate lean, mean weight-loss, you should ramp-up your gym sessions and get your nutrition in order. If this means counting your macros, then stick to it. By decreasing your usual daily intake by 10 per cent and assigning yourself several HIIT and heavy lifting sessions a week, your fat will soon be in the rear-view mirror. Next stop? Ab town.
You’re focusing on the wrong exercises
Stop crunching. For the love of all that’s holy, stop crunching. Yes, they may be a good exercise for your six-pack, but they’re not doing you any favours in blitzing the fat that covers it. Instead, go heavy on key compound moves — think deadlifts, squats and bench presses — to sear fat while packing on more functional muscle.
Stick to these and, once your fat has whittled down, deploy more isolated bodyweight moves like reverse crunches, planks and more to beef up your new abs.
You're not prepping your meals
Sorry, but that 'healthy' salad from the supermarket is most likely loaded with waist-expanding (and unnecessary) sugar. Instead, on a Sunday night — or whenever you have an hour or two free — spend some time batch cooking meals that can be stored in lunchboxes and kept chilled in the fridge. Be as simple or as fancy as you like — just keep it clean and healthy.
By sticking to these nutritional meals, you'll be fuelling your body more efficiently, offsetting any unnecessary pangs of hunger and — most crucially — be less tempted by sugary treats and quick, easy food.
You’ve still got too much body fat hanging around
This is probably the point you didn’t want to read. Put simply, your six-pack won’t show unless you’re nearing 13-10 per cent body fat. This, of course, varies hugely on a person-by-person basis, but ditching your flab is the best course of action and acts as a solid foundation to build upon your continued transformation.
Not only that, but — by tackling your extra baggage and making exercise a more regular habit — you’ll also look like you’ve turned back time. Thanks to vasodilation — the increase of blood pressure — during a workout, more blood will reach the skin’s surface, pumping-up collagen production and fighting wrinkles. Smooth skin and a ripped six-pack: what’s not to like?
You’re not sleeping enough
How are you feeling today? Bleary? We thought so. As with your diet and your gym routine, getting the right amount of sleep is absolutely vital for a cobblestone core. A lack of shut-eye will spike your levels of the stress hormone cortisol — which encourages your body to retain fat stores. Hit 8-9 hours and you’ll be dropping kcals more efficiently.
What's more, a study published in the Journal of Andrology found that a solid night's sleep (changing from 4 to 8 hours) can up your testosterone levels by a whopping 50 per cent, fine-tuning fat-loss while you're sleeping. A dream scenario, you’ll agree.
You’re doing too much cardio
Abs, famously are made in the kitchen. A diet full of clean, un-processed foods and a lack of sugar will get them out quicker than a twice-weekly plod around the park or a sweaty LISS session on the treadmill neighboured with a lacklustre diet.
Instead, stick to a routine centred around heavy lifting, focusing on building the muscle underneath and torching that fat above.
Yes, it can be that easy.
This article was originally published on Menshealth.co.uk
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