The ABCs of Flat Abs
A – Alcohol: If you want flat abs, truly flat abs, you need to keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum. Alcoholic drinks are loaded with calories, and the liver will burn these calories first instead of burning fat. And, if you overindulge, chances are you will make poor food choices both while you imbibe as well as during your “recovery” period afterwards.
B – Breakfast: It’s still counterintuitive to many, but research shows that eating breakfast is positively related to weight maintenance. Skip breakfast and it is much more likely that you will make less healthy food choices later in the day.
C – Cardio: Caloric expenditure through cardiovascular exercise is crucial to seeing that six pack. Everyone has them; they are just covered by a layer of abdominal fat which cardio helps burn off. It matters not what kind of cardio you do, just that you do it.
D – Discipline: Notice I didn’t say the obvious D-word, diet, because diets don’t work long-term. The goal is to be disciplined and eat healthy most of the time, roughly 80 percent, then indulge on occasion and have your treats the other 20 percent. Unfortunately most people have this ratio reversed. Make small changes over time and I promise, healthy eating will get easier and easier.
E – Effort: Don’t waste time during your workout. Get your heart rate up during cardio, challenge your muscles during strength training. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.
F – Form: When doing your abdominal exercises, the focus should be on good form. Too often people focus on doing overly complex movements or a certain number of repetitions rather than focusing on the quality of the movement itself and recruiting the maximum number of abdominal muscle fibers possible.
G – Goals: Failure to set goals, or even to set the right goals, will prevent you from ever seeing those flat abs. Your goals should be threefold: getting in your cardio and strength training workouts, making specific healthy dietary changes like eating a certain amount of protein each day and doing your abdominal exercises. Notice I put ab exercises third – they are truly the least important of the three components. Decreasing body fat stores through exercise and healthy eating will flatten those abs; crunches will sculpt them.