It’s become widely accepted that the pinnacle, or at least a milestone very near the summit of fitness, is to have a well-defined six pack. But is this really something that all of us can achieve? Well, luckily for you and just about everyone who is willing to put in the necessary work, it is definitely within reach. In this blog we’ll walk you through some important secrets that will help you reveal your abs and turn heads the next time you’re down at the beach.
What and where are your abs?
First things first, we’ll tell you’re what they’re not. Despite commonly being referred to as the same thing and being used interchangeably, your abs are not your core. Our six pack is scientifically named the rectus abdominis and makes up the visible front wall of our spine. Both upper and lower abdominals are part of the same group of muscles. Other visible muscles that make up an impressive, envy-inducing set of abs include:
These are the muscles that run from your lats down towards your rib cage.
These are the muscles that run diagonally down the sides of your body, between your rectus abdominis and lats. They are especially visible in well-conditioned athletes.
On the other hand, our core consists of ALL the muscles that surround our spine allowing us to balance, remain stabilised, rotate as well as bend forwards and backwards. Essentially our core muscles, to some extent, are engaged in virtually every movement we make.
How to get those coveted abs to show
It’s been said a thousand times over but we’ll say it again, “abs are made in the kitchen.”
Another common saying, which sadly is completely untrue, is that you can eat whatever you want if you train so hard. The fact of the matter is that you cannot out train a bad diet.
Therefore if you’re on a mission to uncover your abs you have to be conscious of what you eat and the quantities you eat them in. If we consume an excess of calories then our bodies will store the excess carbs as fat which will form a layer of body fat that will conceal any hard work you may be doing in the gym.
Fat burning & metabolism
Your body composition (ratio of lean muscle to body fat) has a significant impact on the visibility of your abs which is why an effective metabolism is a great weapon to have in your arsenal. Fat burners have been shown to help boost your metabolism and encourage fat loss. Some examples of proven fat burning supplements are l-carnitine, caffeine and green tea extract.
Myth busted: While it would save many of us a lot of hassle, there is unfortunately no way to spot reduce fat and anybody who suggests otherwise can’t be trusted with your fitness goals. This means your goal needs to be to reduce your overall body fat percentage until you are content with the results.
Water is a vital part of fitness and general health. Where your six-pack is concerned, dehydration will have the effect of increased water retention which can give the appearance of more excess body fat. Drinking an adequate amount of water (2-3 litres per day) will help not only keep your muscles looking fuller but will improve your metabolism, help manage hunger as well as water retention.
There is a school of thought that recommends a colossal amount or repetitions in order to build your abdominal muscles. However, like any other muscle in your body it will respond and adapt to the challenges and stress it is put under. Therefore aiming for high repetitions will have the effect of improving muscular endurance but not so much growth and development. If you want to build your abs then working within a rep range of 8-12 with a challenging weight is the way to go. This weight can be increased as you build strength over time.
Cardio is a useful tool in your fitness regime to help reduce body fat and reveal your abs. If you would like to retain as much muscle mass as possible and save time then HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) would be your best option as it does not result in as much muscle breakdown as LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) cardio.
Last but not least, your body and each muscle group does need its fair share of rest so while it may be difficult to over train, your muscles (and abs in particular) will benefit significantly from getting enough rest.
Powerhouse is your dedicated partner in reaching your fitness goals. We have stock a quality product range of the world’s leading brands for supplementation, including proven fat burners. For professional advice, quality equipment and first rate supplements, get in touch today and reach your goals.