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6-Pack Abs In 8 Weeks



Posted in: Articles by ProSource, Training Articles | Feb 21, 2007



Summer is over, but it is still a great time to exercise and stay in shape. If you've taken a break after you've put away your swimsuit, remember health and fitness are ongoing processes -- the silent chant that should inspire you: there is no time like the present! Also: do not eat all of the halloween candy!!!

I like to make things easy and understandable. If your abdominals are, dare I say, flabby, I have a crash program that can get them sleek and chiseled in eight weeks flat, pardon the pun.

First, though, a caveat: this is not a start-from-scratch program. No matter how intense and effective the crash course, you can't expect dramatic results unless you've been bodybuilding for many months, at least. More specifically, a reasonable foundation of muscle coupled with sufficiently low bodyfat are necessary to insure that your new 6 pack will be apparent.

That said, this program will help no matter what state you find your abs. If you are just beginning, it will jump start your program, if you work out sporadically, this routine will provide additional structure on your way to your goals, and if you are a consistant exerciser, this program will fine tune your shape. I have created a sequence of two four-week phases. The same exercises, in the same particular order, are used throughout the entire eight weeks, but each successive phase becomes more difficult by adding reps, sets and/or weights.

PROGRAM TIPS
  • Train abs first every workout, making them your priority. This will actually warm-up your entire body as well as pump-up your lower back to relieve pressure from heavy lifts
  • Stay in a repetition range of 15 to 20, but do not go to failure on your first set or you will not be able to complete all the reps in successive sets. I like getting in all of my reps; if I want to increase resistance, I slow the pace and get more of a squeeze out of each rep.
  • Make each rep the most important rep you will ever do, as if that specific rep will instantaneously bring out the six-pack of your dreams. Think to yourself: Each rep is the only rep.
  • Continuously challenge yourself with more sets and more weight. Do not stay in any phase longer than four weeks; go to the next as soon as you think you're ready.
THE EXERCISES
Decline situps: These are performed on a decline bench. Keep your upper body straight. Place your hands behind your head, but do not use your hands to pull your head forward. Keep your elbows pointed outward. Raise your upper body as if your chin is being lifted straight up toward the ceiling. Do not bend your neck or roll your shoulders forward. To maintain tension on your abs, do not sit up all the way. Likewise, do not lower your back to a resting point. Keep your motion smooth and steady. Do not bounce or jerk.

Hanging-leg raises:
Note that these are leg raises, not hip raises. Keep your hips stationary by lifting only your legs; do not push your hips upward. Raise your legs only to horizontal, and do not lower them all the way to the bottom;, maintain tension on your lower abs. Do not swing or bounce, and do not arch your back.

Cable Curls:
Kneel down on all four, take the cables in your hands and pull your elbows to your knees, extend up arching your back and return to your knees again.
Monday Hamstrings, shoulders
Tuesday Chest, biceps
Wednesday Abs
Thursday Abs, quads
Friday Abs, back, triceps
Saturday Rest
Sunday Abs
PHASE I (WEEKS 1 and 4)
Decline situps 3-4 15-20
Cable Curls 3-4 15-20
Hanging Leg Raises 3-4 15-20
PHASE I (WEEKS 5 and 8)
Weighted decline situps 4-5 15-20
Weighted straight-leg raises 4-5 15-20
Weighted knee raises 4-5 15-20

While performing your reps I want you to think every rep is the most important. I'm thinking perfect abs--perfect abs--perfect abs. I believe that if, with every rep, you train to see it that way, it will happen Contract your abs in between sets. This technique may help to build abdominal definition. Bodybuilders have been known to stretch and flex in between sets to increase muscle definition. Lets get to the heart of the abdominal problem.

What's the best way to diet for awesome abs? This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get. This article will highlight some of the tips and tricks used for obtaining a well defined midsection. Cutting calories works. Excess calories become love handles, hips, and butts. In other words, when you eat and don't burn fat, you store fat. It's as simple as that. Cutting calories minimizes the chances of fat conversion.

How to get rid of those love handles? Well, the answer to how to get 6 pack abs is two fold: First you must exercise the area two to three times per week and secondly, you must always watch what you eat. Too many calories will sabotage your efforts to reduce your waistline. If you really want to know how to get 6 pack of abs, I'm going to tell you. It's no secret and when you think about it, makes a lot of sense. Remember, this point will be the deciding factor about whether or not you are going to be successful in attaining a sleek and sexy 6 pack.

Here it is: "Create a calorie deficit" No, I'm not talking a drastic reduction in calories, I'm talking about a slight reduction in your daily intake of calories. This is it. No secret or magic formulas. Although the exercises we perform are important when it comes to getting a 6 pack of abs, by far the most essential way to attack any waist line and lose weight is to reduce overall calories. You can do all the sit ups in the world and work your abs till your head spins but at the end of the day, if you have a layer of fat around your muscle, you simply won't see your abs.

It was commonly accepted that if you performed a certain amount of sit ups and leg raises each night that you would develop and impressive 6 pack. This is not true. Given, regular ab work will firm up your stomach muscles but it is seldom enough to make them show up as "ripples" or "ridges". Why? Simply put, it isn't enough exercise to burn off the excess fat that accumulates around the waist line.

So, how to get 6 pack of abs? Well, it will be necessary to combine a system of aerobic exercise such as jogging or biking while creating a calorie deficit in your daily routine. The first thing that you need to do in order to get a six pack, is to adjust your diet. Why do you have to adjust your diet? Simple, if you a layer of fat covering your abs, how you supposed to see them? You need to get rid of the fat that surrounds your muscles and in order to do this, you need to create a calorie deficit in your daily nutritional intake. In order to do this, you need to cut out 500 calories from your daily caloric intake. By cutting out 500 calories you will lose roughly one pound per week. This is where you start. However, most people don't know where to start and how much calories to cut. So, before you begin cutting calories, you need a starting point. So, here's what I suggest: If you don't plan, you will end up flying by the seat of your pants and more often than not, start eating junk food. So, plan your meals to be successful getting those 6 pack abs. Here's what I do. I'll sit down on Sunday morning and make out my diet for the following week. I highly recommend that you use a meal journal to keep track of what your eating on a daily basis. This way, you always know what your eating and will know at the end of the day that your keeping on track with your caloric requirements. If you're wondering how you're supposed to eat 6 meals with a busy work schedule, a technique that works for many is the use of meal replacement powders or homemade nutritious shakes. They are what they are; nutritional low-calorie meals in drink form. They actually help to curb the appetite, they're high in protein, and they taste good. You may want to consider using meal replacement or protein drinks.

Another beneficial abdominal dieting technique is to reduce the amount of sodium added to food. Cutting sodium can make a huge difference in the way your abs look. If you're worried about cheat days, it really depends on your body type. Some can get away with eating pizza, donuts, and chips. Others are less fortunate. The main point is that you have to constantly be in tune with your body. Know your limits! Experiment with different diet strategies to find out what works best for you. My main points:
  • Cut calories
  • Eat fat in moderation
  • Eat 4 - 6 small meals
  • Reduce sodium
  • Eat most of your carbs in the first half of the day

You don't have to diet, you just have to modify how you eat. Eating the foods you love, but in a way that allows you to shed unwanted pounds. "Dieting" requires too many inconvenient nutritional sacrifices. Let me show you how easy it is to lose weight without any sacrifices! Before starting any weight loss program, please ensure it is okay with a medical professional. Listed below is a nutritional program designed for safe and effective weight loss.

2 shakes, 2 meals, 2 snacks

Meal 1: Light breakfast

Meal 2: Snack

Meal 3: Meal replacement drink/protein shake

Meal 4: Snack

Meal 5: Small meal

Meal 6: Meal replacement drink/protein shake

Next, with two examples I'll show you how to apply the proper nutrients to your meals for best results. The indicated foods are just a few of the possibilities you can use.

SAMPLE PLAN #1

Meal 1: Breakfast bar or oatmeal, thermogenic formula of choice, water or water-based beverage of choice

Meal 2: Cottage cheese, cinnamon [or pineapple], water or water-based beverage of choice

Meal 3: Grilled chicken breast, Greek salad, water or water-based beverage of choice

Meal 4: Meal replacement shake or protein shake with fruit

Meal 5: Tuna salad with lite mayo, celery, olives, etc., water or water-based beverage

Meal 6: Seasoned chicken strips with spinach, water or water-based beverage of choice

SAMPLE PLAN #2

Meal 1: Low-fat pancakes or waffles with real maple syrup, thermogenic formula of choice, water or water-based beverage of choice. If you would like to eat eggs and sausage or bacon, consider a lean turkey alternative.

Meal 2: Plain nonfat yogurt and fruit of choice, water or water-based beverage of choice

Meal 3: Lean meat of choice and vegetables, water or water-based beverage of choice

Meal 4: Non- or low-fat refried beans wrapped in a low-fat soft tortilla shell (optional) and pasta, rice, potato, or 1 or 2 slices of bread, water or water-based beverage of choice

Meal 5: Light snack similar to meal 2

IMPORTANT: Your caloric intake should reflect your physical activity. For example, if you are more physically active in the early hours of the day, your caloric intake can be slightly higher. Generally, calories should gradually taper of toward the end of the day because the level of physical activity usually goes down. This strategy literally forces your body to burn fat. If you follow this basic format, you will lose weight. The amount of energy or calories that you put into your body must not exceed the amount that you expend during physical activity. If you ever feel the need to binge, try to eat "bad foods" when your energy and physical activity levels are highest. At night, physical activity significantly decreases. This is when you really want to try and avoid excess calories. Light eating should be okay, but try your hardest not to binge. Try to drink water or water-based beverages low in sugar as much as you can. You don't need 12 full glasses per day or anything like that. Just try to drink plenty. Also, don't restrict yourself to only water. Enjoy life.

SUPPLEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

Supplements are a huge part of this system, they can potentially make life much easier. How? Supplementation allows you to get the proper macro and micro nutritients you need without excessive, fat-producing calories. There are great weight loss supplements to choose from at ProSource if your looking to transform your physique. Nutritional supplements play a vital role in your healthy lifestyle. One of the most absurd statements I have ever read appeared in the Tribune-Star recently in Chris Davies' column "Fitness Solutions" where Davies wrote: "Sorry folks, you cannot prevent a disease." That is like saying curtailing speeding and drunk driving won't decrease highway accidents and deaths. It's like allowing a 9/11 attack to occur and then speculating how it could have been prevented. It's like waiting for the levee to break and then trying to save the city. Davies criticizes the nutritional supplement business in promoting his physical fitness center by stating that supplements "don't work." Instead, he claims that his "quality programming based on sound scientific principles" is what people should spend their money on to improve their health. Davies' comments reflect little knowledge or acceptance of numerous reputable studies that prove that nutritional supplements not only work, they are necessary. Even if one were to eat all of the proper foods everyday, a person could not eat enough to obtain optimal daily amounts of nutrients. The main reason is that the soils where the foods are grown are depleted of the minerals that the vegetables, fruits, and grains absorb. The proper way to train abs is widely debated by experts. The truth is, there is no right or wrong way to go about training abs. What works for someone else may not work for you. Everyone has a different body type. Results will vary from person to person. As stated before, the most fat is burned when abs are trained with very little in the stomach. One should also consider performing some type of cardiovascular activity prior to beginning your training session. This minimizes your chance of overexerting an abdominal muscle. I have designed a generic abs workout for starters. Feel free to modify as needed. Training as an athlete --you can cut up your midsection while improving your overall strength, balance, and coordination. Get rid of the fat or you'll never see your abs, no matter how often you train, no matter how many reps you do or no matter what exercises you do. Some people might argue that I was just blessed with good genetics in the ab department, which may be true, but based on my experience with others who have less favorable genetics, I still believe that developing the abdominal muscles is easy,. The hardest part is getting your body fat low enough for your abs to show. Most people grossly over train their abs. Training your abs daily or even every other day for hundreds or thousands of reps is totally unnecessary and a complete waste of time.

1. Diet - The first thing you'll need to change is your diet. It goes without saying that even if you had the best abs in the world, they will still look pretty ordinary if a layer of body fat covers them. For starters, get into the habit of keeping a diet log to track your meals. You'll be less likely to cheat when you know you have to write down everything you've eaten each day. An elaborate journal isn't necessary though. A regular notepad works just fine.

2. Also, switch to six small meals a day instead of three larger ones. This will help rev up your metabolism and prevent the stretching of your stomach and the abdominal walls which occurs when you gorge with food. Next, begin creating a small caloric deficit each and every day to help burn away fat. It is recommended that you try to lose just a pound or two of fat per week. The weekly loss of more than that, for the average person, usually includes substantial amounts of water weight and muscle tissue that can wreck havoc on your metabolism. Keep in mind that it's the layer of fat that's covering your abs that you'll want to lose. A good rule of thumb is to cut back your daily energy requirements by only around 500 calories per day. If you aren't sure what your daily energy requirements are for your current bodyweight, you can use this easy-to-remember formula as a guide. To estimate your daily total caloric needs, multiply 24 times 1.0 (if you're a man) or 0.9 (if you're a woman) by each kilogram of bodyweight you weigh. Then multiply that result by 1.7 (for a moderately active man) or 1.6 (for a moderately active woman). (Men) 1.7 x 24 x 1.0 x bodyweight (in kg) (Women) 1.6 x 24 x 0.9 x bodyweight (in kg) In order to determine how many kilograms you weigh, divide your bodyweight (in pounds) by 2.2. But be aware that this formula is only a guide. It is recommended that you use the formula as a starting point, and then pay close attention to your body in order to fine-tune your caloric intake according to how your body responds to your weight loss efforts. Examine your body in a mirror. If it doesn't appear as if you're losing any weight after a week or two, then lower the amount of calories you take in even more.

3. Cardio - Next, you'll need to begin including cardio (aerobic exercises) into your weekly exercise routine. There are very few short-term options that can use to burn calories and strip away the fat better than sessions of aerobic activities. It's no coincidence that even world-class bodybuilders steadily increase their cardio workouts as a contest approaches to help really bring out their muscle definition. Start by working out three to four times a week for 20 to 30 minutes at a time on a treadmill or a stationary exercise bike, then work your way up to even more intense sessions of at least moderate intensity for 45 minutes or longer by weeks three and four. The last few weeks before you head to the beach, you'll want to include interval training into your routine to really help remove the last few pounds of fat.

4. Exercise - Spot-reducing your way to six-pack abs is impossible. You simply cannot localize fat loss over any one specific area of your body, and this is the reason why it's important for you to watch your diet and include aerobic training if you truly desire to showcase some six-pack abs. But the inclusion of solid abdominal training is very important for getting great abs. Strengthening the abdominal wall will tone and help reduce, if not prevent, any unnecessary sagging of the stomach area. Also, abdominal workouts will surely develop the ab muscles (especially the rectus abdominus and the external obliques) and enable them to easily become more visible, sharper, and tight. While there are hundreds of abdominal exercises that you can perform, it is very important that several considerations be kept in mind before performing any of them. First, it is highly recommended that you learn how to focus on feeling the contraction of your ab muscles when exercising and really squeeze the muscle at the top of any rep. There are a lot of people out there who claim to perform several hundred sit-ups per day, but it is the quality that counts and not the quantity. Become extremely efficient when performing your abdominal exercises and allow the muscle to do the work and don't use the mechanical involvement of other body parts, or even momentum to help swing the body in order to complete any repetitions. Also, be sure to maintain continuous tension while performing your reps. Never let your body rest at the bottom of a movement. And be sure to breathe in during the relaxation phase of your movements and breathe out during the contraction phase.
Having now prepared yourself for getting six-pack abs, select three exercises to perform for your abs. Do two sets of 15 - 20 reps on each exercise, three times per week. And remember to focus on squeezing the muscle at the top of the movement and go in a slow, deliberate manner during each repetition. Recommended abdominal exercises for beginners during their first week would be crunches, seated twists, and knee-ups or lying leg raises.

As the next few weeks progress and your over-all conditioning improves, you'll need to increase the intensity factor for your abs to really shine. Start by increasing the number of sets of each exercise from two to three, and then add extra, more advanced movements to allow for up to five exercises for your abs. Recommended abdominal exercises during this period can include reverse crunches, crunches on an incline board, vertical leg raises, medicine-ball twists, and decline-bench twisting crunches. You have literally hundreds of excellent abdominal exercises to choose from. During the final two weeks before going to the beach, start cutting back on the rest time between your sets and begin to include supersets of your exercises in which you complete one set of each exercise without stopping. While there are other factors that could consider for your ab training, consistently eating a lean diet, performing cardio routines, and exercising your abs with sufficient intensity will always remain at its core. Put in the work on those three tenets of abdominal development and you'll be sure to possess six-pack abs that will look great in a bathing suit and really turn heads this summer!

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