In this blog by our health and fitness partners at the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers, we delve into how it’s possible to be working out hard and eating all the right foods but still not have that washboard stomach many of us aspire towards. As we find out, sit-ups and salad are all well and good, but there are several traps we can fall into in the pursuit of that illusive six-pack…
YOU’VE been hitting the gym and eating well – so, where’s your six pack abs? On the quest for the perfectly sculpted physique, many people make the same mistakes over and over, confident that this is key to getting ripped.
But, are you guilty of the following?
1. You concentrate too much on isolation exercises
You can crunch until your heart’s content – but by focusing too much on isolation exercises, you will be neglecting the entire core and deeper abdominal muscles, meaning your six pack will be forever in hiding. Instead, focus on full-body exercises that mimic how your muscles work during everyday activities (such as reaching or bending).
These functional movements allow you to work larger muscle groups in multiple directions. Mix up your ab workout with exercises that work the entire body, while still engaging the midsection. Think Pilates, squats with dumbbell curls, and plank poses.
2. You’re slogging out cardio, not intensifying it
As all Personal Trainers will tell you, getting a six pack will usually require overall fat loss – meaning clocking up hours on the treadmill may not be the most efficient means to getting lean. High intensity interval training made up of cardio and weight training will blast away any additional fat.
Mix up the duration, speed and frequency of your intervals, and follow it up with short rest periods to stimulate the release of adrenaline.
3. You have an inconsistent diet
Your diet isn’t a 9-5 job – you can’t expect results if you’re only putting in effort during the working week. Getting six pack abs is predominantly diet and nutrition based, and if you’re not watching what you put in your mouth, those intense exercise sessions will put you no further ahead. Strive for consistency by planning and preparing your meals and snacks – weekends included, based upon the amount of calories you should be eating for your weight, and your recommended protein intake.
To prevent a major blowout, keep your treats in moderation and allow yourself a cheat meal once in a while. It’s ok to treat yourself occasionally – just ensure these treats don’t make a regular appearance in your diet.
4. You’re cutting too much fat from your diet
First thing’s first – cut the trans-fats. These will only add to visceral fat (the kind that surrounds your organs). This means deep-fried foods, processed sugary treats and anything you will find in the bakery section of the supermarket.
Secondly, make sure you’re still including good fats in your diet. Mono-unsaturated fats like nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocado. These will help to fight belly fat, while keeping you fuller for longer.
5. You’re starving yourself
Yes, in order to gain six pack abs, you do need to minimise your body fat – but cutting calories so severely that the body thinks it’s in starvation mode will only hinder your results. A significant calorie cut-down will slow down your metabolism. If, for example, you dropped 500 calories a day from your diet, and your resting metabolic rate slows down by 300 calories a day, you will only be producing a deficit of 100 calories a day.
Make sure your diet plan works for you by consulting with a health and fitness professional, who will be able to construct a personalised plan tailored to your desired outcome.
This blog was posted originally by our partners at the AIPT, and can be viewed here.
The Sports Super Centre is a “Centre of Excellence” for the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers (AIPT). A key partnership in health and fitness on the Gold Coast, our centre provides a location and world-class gym, pool and other sporting facilities for students and graduates of the AIPT to study, get hands on industry experience, and train.
The AIPT are a fountain of knowledge when it comes to all things fitness, personal training, nutrition and business. Sports Super Centre shares regular blogs by the AIPT – a leader in health and fitness education – on some of their most interesting and beneficial topics.