The “Secrets” to Great Abs

Posted: May 18, 2015 in Ab Training 101
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Look on the cover of any fitness magazine, at any time, in any publication, from any part of the world and you’ll find a guy, a girl, or both, with a lean, muscular body and amazing abs.

It’s the same if you were to browse through several bodybuilding and fitness sites on the internet.  You’ll find a picture of some chick with a flat, hard tummy or a dude with a washboard stomach that looks like it was carved out of stone.

Scan though any of your favorite celebrity magazines and I guarantee you’ll see images of A-list Hollywood stars with their shirt off, or sporting a bikini, proudly showing their tight mid-section while strolling down some white, sandy beach in the middle of paradise.  Usually while the Nanny watches their kiddos.

So how do people build abs?  Glad you asked…

Click through the tv channels late one night.  I’d bet a one night stand with Jennifer Lawrence that you’ll see at least a couple silly infomercials for some ridiculous gadget that claims to give you “6 pack abs” in only 30 days.  But, you must act now because this amazing price is only good for the next 14 minutes. 

And, who hasn’t seen the stupid ass commercials for dozens of different “miracle” pills?  You know, the ones that are supposed to help you lose weight, get ripped, build abs, become more attractive, find a beautiful partner, live in a bigger house, drive a nicer car and make millions of dollars…

Okay… maybe I got a little carried away.  But, I’m not that far off the outrageous claims those pill pushers make.

So, although our physique goals may be different (some people want to build huge muscles while others want to lean out and get “toned”) just about everyone wants nice, hard, defined, sexy abs.

And people know it; especially those that are looking to sell you something.  Supplement companies, “ab” machine manufacturers, infomercial producers, book authors, magazine editors, personal trainers… they’re all looking to “cash in” on your desire for a sexy mid-section.

Now, I’m not saying that ALL of these people or resources are necessarily bad.  I’d definitely be careful with any weight loss pills, and I’d recommend that you don’t waste your hard earned money on any bull shit ab contraptions shown on late night television, but educating yourself with books isn’t a bad thing and a personal trainer can help if you’re clueless about how to exercise.

FYI… If you ARE clueless about exercise, or you know some things but are willing to learn more, and you don’t want to hire a personal trainer, that’s why I’ve created this site.  I’ll be your virtual personal trainer and guide you through every step of building an amazing physique.  Check out this post on training advice for beginners.

The thing is, there’s just SO much information about how to get abs and a lot of it is conflicting.  To make matters worse there’s a shit load of misinformation floating around out there as well.

So, I’m gonna try to clear up some of the confusion, dispel some of the more common myths and put you on the path towards success.  Stick with me and by this summer you’ll be the proud owner of some sexy ass abs that turn heads and get attention!

What follows is my 2 “secrets” to great abs:

  1. Guess what… You already have abs!

Yep, you read that right.  The fact is there are already some sexy abdominal muscles, sitting right there on your midsection, just waiting to be revealed.  You were born with em’.  You’ve had them your whole life even if you’ve never done one sit-up, crunch or leg raise.

The real trick is uncovering them.  The majority of people just have too much body fat for their ab muscles to show.  So, while most people who want abs automatically think they need to do set after set of ab exercises, the primary focus should be on losing fat.

And, what does almost everyone do when they want to lose fat?  They start doing a bunch of long, boring sessions on a treadmill or stair stepper because they’ve read or heard somewhere that they need to do a lot of cardio.  But, that’s not completely true.

While a few intense cardio sessions a week can help facilitate fat loss, the primary focus should be on cleaning up your diet.  Only through proper nutrition, and being very diligent about your daily intake of calories, can you truly “build” your abs to their full potential.

Now, since this post could quickly grow into the size of a novel, I won’t go into too much detail on diet right here, right now.  I just want to make you aware that you really need to focus your nutrition towards fat loss if you want great looking abs.  In the next post, coming this week, I will provide you with specific dietary guidelines, as well as some quick muscle gain/ fat loss tips, that will help you finally uncover your abs.

However, since summer is right around the corner, and I’m sure you want to get started on your six pack, let me at least point you in the right direction:

  • With a few exceptions, like oatmeal, brown rice, frozen chicken breasts, if a food comes from a box or bag, it’s usually bad news.  Chips, cookies, crackers, cakes, white bread and most breakfast cereals are highly processed garbage that is very unfriendly to abs, so they’re definitely out.  Think whole, unprocessed foods.  A helpful trick when you’re at the grocery is to stick to the outside “circle” and avoid the middle isles.  The outside is where you’ll usually find the best food selections.
  • Eat 4-6 small meals a day.  Try to eat something every 2-3 hours and definitely don’t go more than 4 hours without eating.  Eating frequent, small meals revs up your metabolism and puts your body into muscle building and fat burning mode.
  • Protein is the cornerstone of a muscle building/fat loss diet.  Increase your intake of lean protein.  A good rule of thumb is to have at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.  Quality protein powders are a tremendous help with meeting your daily needs.
  • At each of your first 3-4 meals of the day have a portion of lean protein and a complex (good) carb.  For your last few meals, later in the day, have protein but cut the carbs.  Instead, include a fibrous vegetable.  In fact, try to eat a vegetable with at least 2 of your meals but, if you wanted, you could eat vegetables at every meal and not hurt your fat loss efforts.
  • Not all of your meals have to be whole food.  Again, protein powders are an indispensable resource.  A couple of your “meals” or snacks could be protein powder blended with frozen berries and a few tablespoons of flaxseed, for added fiber and good fats.  You could also have a protein shake and eat a piece of fruit, some Greek yogurt, or a bowl of oatmeal at breakfast.  Combining supplements with whole foods makes consuming 4-6 meals a day quicker, more convenient and realistic.
  • Believe it or not, GOOD fats are part of a healthy diet.  Be sure to consume fats from sources such as almonds, avocados, fish, olive oil and/or coconut oil at every other meal.
  • Drink a lot of water!  When you think you’ve drank enough, drink some more.  When you’re thirsty that is a sign that your body is already becoming dehydrated.  Don’t let that happen. Water is not only necessary for optimal health and muscle growth but it also has a great effect on fat loss.  It can help curb your appetite and, the more water you drink, the less likely your body is to retain water.  When the goal is to get your abs to show, you don’t want a bunch of water hanging around your mid-section and making it appear soft.

*One of the best muscle building and fat loss diets I’ve ever found is Beverly International’s 50-20-30 diet. It is made up of 50% Protein, 20% Carbohydrate and 30% healthy Fat.  If getting great abs is your goal, I’d definitely recommend checking it out.  In my humble opinion, Beverly International also has the absolute BEST line of supplements available in the world.  Their Ultimate Muscle Protein (UMP) is amazing and tastes so good you can make pudding, brownies, waffles and/or pancakes out of it! 

2.  Your abs are muscles too!

While your diet should be your main focus when attempting to build a six pack, it is still a good idea to train your abs directly.  Technically, you could lower your body fat percentage significantly and reveal your abs without doing any crunches, sit-ups, etc.  However, working your mid-section intensely a few times a week will lead to a much better appearance.

But, the problem is, most people think they need to train their abs with super high rep sets.  My question is, why?  Think about it.  It’s fairly common knowledge that muscles tend to respond with growth from the use of heavier weights and a rep range of anywhere from 5-12.  The abs are muscles too, so why would they be any different?

Plain and simple, if you want a true six pack, then you need to focus on the growth of your abdominal muscles.  And, just like any other body part, the best way to make them grow is to place them under a lot of resistance (weight).

Instead of using your body weight only, start adding enough weight to your ab exercises so you can only get a max of 12 reps per set.  I recommend things like rope crunches (using a cable pull down machine), weighted crunches (holding a weight plate, dumbbell, kettlebell or medicine ball), hanging leg raises (while holding a weight between your feet).  And, most gyms even have a few machines that can help you effectively overload your abs.  If there is a decent one in your gym I would recommend using it from time to time.

I can already hear some people now.  “I don’t want my mid-section to get any bigger.  Isn’t the whole point to have a smaller waist?”

Here’s the thing; it’s HARD to get really big.  In gyms all across the world, every single day, guys focus all their attention and effort into getting bigger.  They work hard and grind away at set after heavy set of weight lifting exercises.  They eat a boat load of calories to provide their muscles with the materials they need to grow.

They do all of this to force their muscles to get bigger and still there’s only a certain amount of growth they get out of it.

So, it’s VERY unlikely that adding some resistance to your ab exercises is going to cause your mid-section to become overgrown.

What IS likely from placing your abs under more weight is that you will stimulate some growth and, once you reach a low body fat percentage, the end result will be abs that “pop”.  They will look harder, more defined and just flat out better than if you were to use only your body weight and knock out 25 reps per set.

The same is true whether you’re a guy or girl.  You should be adding resistance to your ab exercises in order to get your ab’s physical appearance to their full potential.

A lean, tight, sexy mid-section is the desire of most every gym goer around the world.  But, for so many people, discovering the “secrets” of getting abs is about as elusive as finding Bigfoot in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness.

Far too many people never fully realize their body’s potential.  It doesn’t have to be that way though.

Hopefully this post has shown you there really aren’t any secrets or shortcuts to getting abs.  The people who have them aren’t aware of any magical tips or tricks.  Getting a six pack, and an amazing physique, comes down to proper nutrition, hard work and consistency.

Don’t wait any longer.  The time is always NOW!  Provide your body with the nutrition it needs, work hard in the gym and be consistent.

Do these things and chances are, by this summer, you’ll have abs so amazing people will wonder what YOUR secret is…

Until Next Time,

Michael Wheeler

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