Author: Daniel Clay
Lets be honest, who doesn't want a flat stomach? But for many people it doesn't matter how many crunches or sit-ups we do it never seems to happen. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me the following question: "Everyday I do hundreds of sit ups and crunches but I still have fat around my midsection. How come?
Well before I reveal the 6 pack system, first I'm going to debunk some very important myths regarding how to get 6 pack abs.
Myth 1. You must lose weight to see your abs.
This is not entirely true, the focus should be on fat loss rather than weight loss. The reason? Your body consists of fat mass and lean body mass (muscle, bone, water, organs etc). The key is to minimize your fat mass and increase your lean body mass to ramp up your metabolism, a body that starves fat and builds muscle like clockwork.
So if you lose 8 kilos of scale weight but lose some lean muscle in the process you will slow down your metabolism, decrease performance and lose muscle tone. However if you lose 8 kilos on the scale but keep your lean muscle you increase your performance, increase muscle tone and lose mostly body fat.
The scale has far too many variables to account for that lead to frequent fluctuations such as hydration levels, sodium intake, and for women the menstrual cycle. I firmly believe one should NOT keep a scale at their home- it is such an anchor, particularly for women. Get off the scale and get over the numbers. The true goal is fat loss, not weight loss. Focus on clothing size reduction, digital before and after pictures, and of course the mirror for the most accurate progress tracking.
Myth 2- Doing lot's of abs training will burn stomach fat
Spot reduction doesn't work. You can't train a region of the body and expect to lose body fat in that area. Nearly everyone you see does crunches but only a few people will do total body workouts so why isn't more people walking around with flat stomachs and fat arms, legs etc. Spot reduction doesn't work!
Everybody loses fat in a genetically pre-determined way when you create a calorie deficit through proper dietary habits and the correct training methods. So the best way to train is to focus your training around burning as many calories as possible by training your whole body every workout and not just your abs. Big exercises that work more than one muscle at a time like push ups, chin ups, squats, lunges etc burn far more calories than working one muscle at a time like crunches and sit ups. So make sure you focus your training around these big movements and only do specific abs work to supplement the rest of your training.
Myth 3- Sit ups and crunches are the N0.1 exercise for abs
The scientific term for your six-pack muscles are your rectus abdominis. For years now, we have been conditioned to think that the best way to work your rectus abdominis is by doing endless crunches and sit-ups since these trunk flexion exercises make the muscles you want to see in the mirror "burn." However, the true function of the rectus abdominis is to prevent hyperextension, not to flex forward over and over again. Anytime you brace your abs (think slight crunch before you get punched in the gut) and pull your navel into your spine you effectively stabilize your spine into a safe, neutral position. And the moment you relax your abs and lose that braced abs position, your back will begin to hyperextend putting you at greater risk for injury.
So, we focus on stabilization exercises in all three planes of movement (saggital- front to back, frontal- side to side, and transverse- rotational) by using pillar exercise variations (also know as planks). Besides training the true "anti-extension" function of your superficial ab muscles, these bridging/stabilization exercises also activate the key transverse abdominus muscles, or your deep abdominal stabilizers, that wrap around your spine and support your internal organs. Strengthening these inner ab muscles is the key to optimal posture and performance in addition to injury prevention, yet another benefit to performing pillars over primitive crunches and sit-ups that often cause unwanted neck and back pain.
Myth 4- Long bouts of cardio will burn fat and reveal your abs
Real world case studies and scientific studies prove that aerobic training for fat loss alone isn't the most efficient way to train. Whole body resistance training is the best way to train for fat loss. Furthermore HIIT (interval training) has been scientifically proven to burn nine times more body fat than ordinary exercise. At our boot camps we combine resistance training and interval training to combine the best of both worlds.
The No-Crunch Six-Pack Abs System:
Step 1- Is to burn the fat that sitting on your abs
A.) Eat well and elevate your metabolism
Drink between 2-4 cups of water as soon as wake in the morning and then drink between 1-2 cups of water every 2 hours you are awake. Drink 1-2 cups of water for every 15 minutes of vigorous activity.
Eat as soon as wake in the morning and then every 2-4 hours after that for a total of 6-8 feeds per day (3 meals, 3 snacks - half the size of your meals, workout nutrition)
Focus on a wide range of lean proteins, natural fats, fruits and veggies
Sample One-Day Menu:
Breakfast - Scrambled Eggs, Greens
Mid-Morning Snack - Mixed Nuts and Fruit/Veggie of Choice
Lunch - Chicken, or Shrimp Caesar Salad
Mid-Afternoon Snack- Mixed Nuts and Fruit/Veggie of Choice
Dinner - Grilled fish and salad/veggies
Pre-Bed Snack- Protein Shake
Take a whole food based multi-vitamin and fish/flax seed oil.
Step 1- Eliminate white carbs and instead use 100% whole grain carbs, replace refined sugars with natural sugars.
Step 2- Reduce all whole grain starch and natural sugar consumption to within 1-2 hours post-workout or immediately upon waking for breakfast
Step 3- Replace all starches and sugars with fruits and veggies
Step 4- Replace all fruits with green veggies
B.) Workout to lose fat and increase your metabolism: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday- Perform Total Body Circuit Strength Training. Sample Total Body Circuit Strength Workout- 20 Minutes (not including five minute warm-up and cool-down). 50-10 Interval Five Exercise Total Body Circuit- You will alternate between 50 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for each exercise in the following five-exercise circuit. Perform this 5 minute circuit up to four times for a 20 minute total body workout:
1. Reverse lunges
2. Press up
4. Inverted rows
5. Medicine ball wood chop
Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday- Perform Interval Training
Sample Cardio Interval Training Workout- 20 Minutes (not including five minute warm-up and cool-down)
30-30's- Alternate between 30 seconds of maximum effort and 30 seconds of active recovery. Perform this 1 minute round up to 20 x for 20 total minutes.
Step 2- Abs are built for stabilization, so train them that way
Here is one of my favourite core routines. It doesn't involve sit up's but instead just pillar stabilization exercises. Once you master these awesome exercises and follow everything else you'll have 6 pack abs in no time.
Tabata Style Pillar Workout
This killer 20 min whole body core workout uses just pillar stabilization exercises. The pillar involves working the core, hips and shoulders. Alternate the exercises below between 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. Repeat this 30 second exercise 8 times for a total of 4 minutes followed by 1 minute rest and transition before changing to the next exercise.
To perform these exercises correctly tighten your abs whilst squeezing your glutes (butt) and keep a straight line from your shoulders to your heels.
Exercise 1- Plank (static or dynamic)
Exercise 2- Left plank (static or dynamic)
Exercise 3- Right plank Variation (static or dynamic)
Exercise 4- Back pillar (static or dynamic)
Till next time.
Dan Clay is a Bondi Beach personal trainer and real world fat loss expert. For a FREE 1-week trial to his Bondi Beach boot camp to experience the best boot camp training in Bondi please visit http://www.bootcampsydney.com.au/bondi-beach-boot-camp.html