Abdominals are notorious for being a woman’s least favorite area of her body, and the most difficult to change. As you may have discovered (possibly through countless hours and attempts), abs cannot be sculpted from crunches alone. You can do thousands of crunches, but in order to see big changes in your abs you will need to incorporate a combination of cardio, core exercises, and proper diet all together into your fitness routine. A constant mix of high intensity cardio and core work throughout your workout will not only help you burn fat, but will localize results in your abdominal region. But that’s not the entire key to great abs. Have you heard the saying ‘abs are made in the kitchen’? Well, it’s very true! All the ab exercises in the world will not hide an unhealthy diet. So how can you improve the strength and appearance of your abdominals? Follow these guidelines for great results.
Combine Cardio + Core
If you want better abs you have to get rid of body fat. To get rid of body fat you have to do cardio, and the key to cardio training is intensity. By combining high intensity interval training with core exercises you will burn more calories while releasing hormones that maximize fat mobilization. Switching from intense cardio exercise to core exercises quickly helps keep your heart rate up and burning more calories while you are focusing on your core. Then quickly switching back to intense cardio helps maintain that increased heart rate while blasting fat and calories. This type of cardio works better than the classical, low intensity one because it does not allow your body to reach that steady state when it has adjusted itself to the speed you are going and tries to conserve energy. By taking your body out of its comfort zone, even for a few minutes, you are increasing your metabolism and you will burn fat even as you are resting. Taking full advantage of this by switching back and forth quickly between cardio and core work will give you faster results in your abs.
Here is where that (semi-annoying, but very true) saying ‘abs are made in the kitchen’ comes into play. Fat will never allow your muscles to show, so you need to get rid of it by adapting your diet. Do not sabotage your results from working out by coming home and eating a poor diet. So what changes can you make to your diet to help flush out the fat to help expose those abs?
Cut out white flour, pasta, bread and refined sugar
Add healthy fats such as avocado, nuts and coconut oil
Add lean protein such as chicken, fish, eggs and Greek yogurt
Increase your water intake
Track your food intake and calories as much as possible (we at ActiveWoMOM love the LoseIt! ap)
Eat clean and as close to the source as possible, while cutting out additives, preservatives and fake ingredients
Following these nutritional guidelines are not only overall healthier for your body, but combined with high intensity cardio and core exercises, will help you to lose weight around your midsection and expose your longer and leaner torso.
So when you are focusing on strengthening your core and defining your abs, remember to combine high intensity cardio with your ab routine to gain the most benefits. And always keep in mind that what you eat comes out to about 70% of what your abs look like, where fitness makes up about 30%, so maintain a well balanced, healthy diet in order to reach your goal for those killer abs!
ActiveWoMOM’s own Kristin Neudorfer has a killer workout that incorporates cardio with core exercises to really fire up those abs. Click HERE to check it out!
Image from Flickr
LoseIt! ap information at www.loseit.com