Trim the Fat –You don’t have to do endless weeks of planking, crunches or buy the latest exercise gadget to get ripped fast. They will all fade into irrelevance if your newly toned abs are hidden under layers of fat. You absolutely have to burn all that excess fat off before you start to see the ab muscles toning. Try chewing gum when you feel hungry, the act of chewing triggers hormone responses in your brain which tricks it into thinking you’re eating. After a few minutes of chewing gum you’ll forget all about stuffing your face with carbs. Taking pictures of yourself is a good way to chart your progress; most people will find visual aids more effective than a weight loss value.
Think Nutrition –Although they aren’t quite the enemy most health magazines would have us believe it is important to cut down on carbs. When the body doesn’t get enough energy from carbs it will start to burn fat instead. When you do eat carbs make sure they are good ones; green vegetables as opposed to fruit and wholegrain instead of white flour. Increasing your fat intake will help curb cravings from the lack of carbs. The necessity for carb intake can vary from person to person – low carb may be the way to go if you are carrying excess weight, but if you already have a fast metabolism medium or even high carb diets will be effective. We’ve already learnt about how effective chewing gum can be, here are a few other tips to help you think nutrition:
-Use spices instead of sauces – eating bland food is one of the biggest mistakes people make when thinking nutrition, particularly because the temptation to gorge is always there. You can any dried herbs and spices to nutritious meals to add flavour, just stay away from sauces.
- Never miss a meal –It is a total myth that skipping meals will help with weight loss, in fact it is likely to do the opposite in the long term.
- Plenty of water and the odd Diet Coke– Whilst Diet Coke is far away from being the healthiest of drinks, if all other aspects of your diet are in line then the occasional can will work wonders on hunger craving.
Sleep Properly - sleep is a necessity not a luxury, your body is most effective a releasing certain types of growth hormone whilst you sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep you won’t get the body you desire.
Interval Training - It’s important not to overdo it on the cardio side as you’ll burn all those calories but lose out on the muscle growth stimulation, one session a week will be plenty. Interval training can take many forms according to preference but the simplest way is to do sprints for up to one minute, and then walk for the same time. Repeat at least 5 times. Interval training will be more effective at burning fat for longer and it also means you don’t have to slowly jog on a treadmill for an hour!
Lifting Weights – Weightlifting to gain muscle is obvious, what is less commonly known is how important muscle growth is to long term, successful fat loss. Even a few pounds of muscle gained can drastically increase your metabolic rate meaning you burn calories faster. 98% of diets fail within 6 months often resulting in the dieter regaining more weight than they have lost – even two 30 minute weight sessions a week will make a huge difference.
Rules are made to be broken – Yes you read that part right, cheating is actually good for you, and it all thanks to a wonderful hormone called leptin. Leptin helps your metabolism work as efficiently as possible. A prolonged healthy diet will cause leptin levels to fall so you’ll be doing all that hard work for no gain. A cheat meal once a week will shock your body and revamp depleting leptin levels, maintaining a high rate of burning fat.
The key to ab workouts is to make sure it is all based on strength training combined with sufficient protein intake. Powerlifting, circuit workouts, kettelbells and bodybuilding workouts will all be extremely effective. It’s mostly down to what your body can sustain. The below exercises are great a core strengthening
Rene Campbell is an IFBB Pro Bodybuilder and the heaviest female bodybuilder in the UK. Here are some videos of her top tips on how to get defined abs.