Want to build a physique like a cover model? Or are you just looking to get into shape for the beach? Either way, you probably want what every guy wants – six-pack abs! Sure, lean legs and a sculpted back look great, but everyone knows that a ripped midsection is what really draws attention.
If you’ve got a burning desire – and you’re willing to do what it takes – read on to learn what you have to do to get cover model abs fast.
1. It’s all about Nutrition!
Like most bodybuilders say, abs are built in the kitchen. There’s just no two ways about it! If you want to get cover model abs, you’re going to have to lose fat. If you want to lose fat, you’re going to have to fix your diet.
So, what’s the perfect diet for rapid fat loss? For starters, you’re probably going to have to cut carbs. You might be a genetic freak who can eat buckets of carbs and still get lean, but if that were the case, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article.
When you eat carbs, your pancreas releases insulin – the hormone that tells your body to store nutrients in your fat and muscle cells. That’s great during the post-workout window, but horrible at every other time of the day! Eat your oatmeal and potatoes right after training, but stick to protein and fats for the rest of your meals.
And as for fats – make sure you’re getting plenty! Contrary to popular belief, eating dietary fat is not what makes you fat. If anything, failing to eat enough of it will signal your body to hold on tight to what it’s already got. Don’t shy away from animal fats, either. There’s nothing wrong with whole eggs, fattier beef, and even butter – as long as you don’t combine them with insulin-spiking carbs.
Finally, make sure you’re still getting plenty of protein. You may not be trying to gain right now, but your muscles still need tons of protein to repair after workouts. Since you’ll already be eating low-carb, it’s fine to choose fattier sources like eggs, beef, and oily fish.
2. Should you Work your Abs at All?
Ab work is definitely an issue of debate among bodybuilders and fitness models. Some say it can make your stomach look better, while others claim it’s totally unnecessary. If there’s one thing for sure, however, it’s that there is NO such thing as spot reduction! No matter how many crunches or leg raises you do, you’re never going to “burn” fat directly off of your midsection. You have to rely on your diet to strip the fat from all over your body.
Still, if you decide to work your abs, make sure you do it right. Don’t waste your time on endless sets of sit-ups, twists, and medicine ball movements. Go heavy! Your abs are muscles, too, and you want them to be as strong as possible. Stick with heavy weighted sit-ups, dumbbell side bends, and captain’s chair raises with a dumbbell between your feet. If you get stronger on these movements, you might find that you’re a lot more stable in the squat, deadlift, and other lower body exercises.
3. Cardio – What Kind is Best?
If you’re like most people, you’re going to have to do some road work if you want to get truly ripped. However, that doesn’t mean you need to hop on a treadmill for an hour every morning. Slow, easy cardio can certainly help you shed body fat, but it takes a ton of time that you probably don’t have. Even worse, it can destroy your hard-earned muscle tissue if you do it too often.
The best cardio for fat loss is brief and intense. The simplest and most effective method is to sprint. Flat ground is fine, but hill running is best. Find a decent-sized hill, do ten sprints three times per week, and then see if you’re having problems shedding weight.
4. Learn to let Go…
Of your stress, that is! Some people say that sleep is the most overlooked aspect of physique transformation, but I disagree. Chronic stress has got to be the number-one killer of progress in the gym. You can diet, train, and sleep perfectly, but your belly fat won’t budge if you’re bathing in a veritable bath of cortisol. In fact, high stress can specifically cause you to hold onto fat around your midsection.
So, what should you do if you’re a nervous wreck? Start by limiting the negativity in your life. Whiny people boring hobbies, and friends you don’t really like – just get rid of them! And when it comes to your job, your coworkers, and other things you can’t really avoid: try your best to remain level-headed. A few deep breaths and a reminder of your goals will do you more good than you know.
5. Heavy Lifting for Leanness and Strength
Finally, don’t start lifting lighter to get “cut.” Your diet is what will get you lean, and weight training is what will preserve your muscle mass. You probably won’t gain much muscle while you’re dieting, but heavy weights will definitely help you hold on to what you’ve got.
There’s no specific program that’s best for getting abs, so just do what you should already be doing. Focus on big, compound movements like squats, bench presses, deadlifts, and rows. Throw in some military presses, dips, and pull-ups for good measure. And of course, you can do your curls and other isolation movements. Just remember that those aren’t responsible for your best gains.
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