7 Things You Should Know Before Trying to Get Abs


by Ivana Hamilton February 21, 2019

7 Things You Should Know Before Trying to Get Abs

Admit it: you have watched thousands of videos or read countless articles on how to get abs fast. You may secretly hope that here you’ll find the right formula that will get you the six-pack of your dreams without much effort. Okay, you’ll get to know how to build killer abs, but we’ll be brutally honest with you: THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS. Those insanely defined abs you see on your favorite Instagram models take time, commitment and a lot of sacrifices. Take a look at these seven key things to understand what it takes to finally get shredded abs without going through trial an error.

1.Figure Out How Much Body Fat You Need To Lose

7 Things You Should Know Before Trying to Get Abs belly fatPhoto Credit: rawpixel/Unsplash

On the bright side, we all have abs, but you have to invest time and energy to make them visible. The number one reason you can’t see your abs is your body fat. Lean people with less body fat will most likely have defined abs, but that doesn’t mean they are healthier than those who don’t have visible abs. The first step to make your abs pop is to figure out how much body fat you need to lose. The range of body fat you need to maintain for visible abs is about 10–12% for men and 18–22% for women. So, to get real results you have to measure your body fat and adjust your diet to reach the body fat that makes your abs visible.

Keep in mind that losing fat and losing weight are two different things. Losing weight means losing both muscle and body fat while losing fat means a reduction in body fat. You can measure your body fat on some of the online calculators. They also help you determine how much calories per day you need to eat to make your abs visible. Losing fat also requires making adjustments in your diet, workouts, and lifestyle.

2.Abs Require Full Body Strenght Training

7 Things You Should Know Before Trying to Get Abs woman works out with pilates ballPhoto Credit: Nicole de Khors/Burst

Without a doubt, abs are a pretty demanding muscle. Ideally, you need to commit to working out five days a week. It's best to have full body strength training three times a week with exercises like squats, deadlifts, pressing and etc. Finish off each body strength training with ten minutes of HIIT workouts. The other two days you can focus on low-intensity cardio such as swimming, running or whatever you prefer. The most important thing is to be consistent because those washboard abs don’t care about your excuses!

3. You Also Have to Do Exercises Specifically For Your Abs

7 Things You Should Know Before Trying to Get AbsPhoto Credit: Nicole de Khors/Burst

Abs need some extra love and attention! You can’t convince them to come out only with a balanced diet or working out here and there. You also can’t target specific areas to lose fat, but you can target specific muscles and work on their growth. Since abs are one big muscle, you have to choose exercises that will support the growth and definition of that muscle. Besides tweaking your diet and workouts to reduce body fat, you need to do exercises that will make your abs pop.

Most people expect to get rock-solid abs by doing hundreds of crunches, and sit-ups. Would you continuously do multiple reps to grow the other muscles of your body? No, because that’s not how your muscles get bigger. You need to do low to moderate reps, preferably in the 8-15 range. Consider weighted reps because if you want your abs to get big, you need to use heavier weights. Additionally, prioritize lower over upper ab work.

4. It’s Okay To Rest

7 Things You Should Know Before Trying to Get Abs woman sleepsPhoto Credit: Burst

Let your muscles rest. They can’t grow if you are lifting weights all the time. Your muscles grow when they are resting and repairing between workouts. Take rest days and give your body the much-needed time to relax and prepare for new challenges. If you are guilty of staying up late for no particular reason, it’s time to ditch that habit for the sake of building killer abs. For the best results, you need to balance out your sleeping schedule. Getting enough sleep will boost your energy and make you a real beast at the gym!

5. Meal Plan and Meal Prep All The Time

7 Things You Should Know Before Trying to Get Abs meal prepPhoto Source: Pinterest

First of all, you need to understand what is good and what is bad for your abs and body. You need to change your entire diet to be able to lose body fat and make your abs visible. Learn what kind of protein veggies and good carbs stimulate and support your abs. There is a lot of information available when it comes to nutrition, so don’t try to understand all at once. You don’t want to get overwhelmed and quit just because you can’t hire a team of a fitness trainer, a nutritionist, and a life coach to help you out on your fitness journey. Instead, start small and learn little by little and you’ll able to upgrade your diet in the future.

For example, once you get the hang of the basis of nutrition, you can focus on more complex things like macronutrient ratios, meal timing and more. Undoubtedly, losing fat and getting visible abs requires sticking to a specific diet. Since life always gets in the way, you need to make sure that you won’t eat food that doesn’t support your fitness goals. For this reason, you have to get into meal prep. Those photos of containers full of protein and veggies you see on Pinterest should become your everyday affair. Also, it’s important to practice mindful eating which means paying full attention to the signals of your body and the food you consume.

6. Genetics Play a Role in Getting Abs

7 Things You Should Know Before Trying to Get Abs woman workoutPhoto Credit: Flickr

Your friends Emma and Jonny already got abs of steel and yours are still too shy to show off? Don’t compare yourself to others, because you don’t have the same body type. Even if you work as hard as them and commit to a strict diet, you might get different results. Some people have blockier abs while others have less defined six pack. Moreover, some people will see results later than others, but this doesn’t mean they should quit. Get to know your body type and set realistic goals. Allow enough time for your abs to grace your body!

7. Your Social Life Will Suffer

7 Things You Should Know Before Trying to Get Abs nacho cheesePhoto Credit: bumblebee.com

You need to stay away from those after-work parties that involve a lot of beer and cocktails full of sugar. You also have to break that habit of hitting restaurants with friends to indulge in greasy food and giant deserts. To get the abs of your dreams, you need to stick to a strict diet about 90% of the time. You get very few cheat meals compared to when you only want to maintain your weight and be in good shape.

Although you shouldn’t isolate yourself and forget about everyone, get ready to make some serious sacrifices. Yes, getting shredded abs affects your social life. Do you still want them? It all comes down to prioritizing. If you want abs more than a movie night with dearest friends, filled with nachos and cheese maybe learn to say yes to your friends and no to the nachos.

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