WHAT YOU HAVE TO KNOW BEFORE YOU START


Right now some of you can see a perfectly set of staggered abs that are wide and thick and separated by a line down the middle.

  • Some of you have the classic four-pack which is four big abs with a smooth lower section.
  • Some of you have tiny cubicle boxes sitting high on your abdominal wall.
  • Some of you have the picture perfect eight-pack that makes people’s jaws drop.
  • Like every muscle group, all you can do is train them as heavy and hard as possible and hope your genetics take care of the rest.
  • You can’t change the shape or alignment or separation of your abs.
  • You can’t move them around and place them where you want them.
  • Your genetics will affect to which degree they “pop” out and to which degree they stay smoother or flatter.
  • The good news is that abdominals are abdominals and when your body fat levels are around 5-7% you are guaranteed to impress people, including yourself, with a set of hot-looking abs.
  • Even though genetics play a huge role in how they look, it’s important to know how to train them to make them look their best.

Warnings!

  • Don’t neglect warm-ups or you may find yourself pulling muscles!
  • Do not be ashamed of yourself, if your abs do not show at first. It takes time.
  • Don’t over work yourself. This will hurt you more than it helps.
  • Know your limits.
  • Most, if not all of these exercises are not recommended for people with lower back problems. There are many other ways to properly develop six pack abs without putting so much strain on your back. If in doubt or experiencing lower back pain, talk to a physical therapist for proper ways of performing the routines.
  • Be wary of ab machines shown on TV. Many of these are in fact rip offs and you are more likely to stay motivated if you incorporate an abs workout into a regular gym session. You are less likely to get sick of it!
  • For people who have a few extra pounds around the belly and start this from scratch, building ab muscles may make you look larger in the belly for a period of time since you are putting on muscle beneath your fat at first. You may want to begin for a significant period of time by doing more cardiovascular exercises to lose fat all over the body. Doing specific muscle exercises, unfortunately, does not remove fat from that specific area of the body. Additionally, focusing solely on the abs can produce an imbalance in the body and may cause back problems where there were none before or exacerbate any existing problems.
  • Try to keep a steady eating routine. It will throw your body off if you skip a meal and starve yourself only to stuff your face later. Avoid such situations as much as possible. If you go hungry for an extended period of time your metabolism will slow down. The body, thinking that no food is available tries to make the best of what it has and goes into power-saving mode. Whilst on ‘power-saving’ mode, the body will supplement its carbohydrates (being burnt for energy) with the proteins in your muscles. What this means is that you are in fact eating back into that six pack just to try to make it show through.
  • Fiber also acts like a mild laxative. Be careful if you eat a lot of fiber. It can also cause some gas if you’re not used to taking in so much fiber. If you increase your fiber dosage by a lot, increase your water intake too. Excessive fiber with little water can result in digestive problems.
  • Be sure prior to starting any exercise or fitness program to be evaluated and cleared by a physician.
  • As with any exercise program, consult your doctor before making major changes in your workout routine, especially if you have medical problems. Increase loads slowly. Being eager is great but setting unrealistic goals isn’t going to help you in the long run.
  • Do not fall for “miracle diets”, even ones that sound healthy. Some diets may help you lose weight or gain muscle fast, though specialized diets (focusing on a certain food group or product) are often unpleasant to follow and rarely provide enough nutrients. You can still eat lots of food and lose weight, you just need to avoid exceeding the recommended amount of fat intake per day, as well as get as many nutrients as possible.
  • Many people do not really know what a complete diet is. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of nutrients that you need, even if you’re not following an exercise regimen. Your diet should contain a wealth of leafy greens (i.e Spinach), lean meat (fish, lean beef/pork), fruits (as a source of carbohydrates and sugars), fiber (i.e oat-based cereal), various other vegetables (such as red/green/orange peppers, mushrooms, garlic, onion, etc, etc), tubers such as potatoes (preferable sweet potatoes, since they contain a larger wealth of nutrients), etc, etc. Your diet should be diverse, not focused on only fruit shakes, or fish, etc. Don’t hesitate to get a regular flow of sugar from fruits/vegetables, you should only slightly reduce your intake when trying to lose fat, or else you’ll find yourself constantly feeling tired, possibly depressed, etc. The key to dieting is to slightly reduce your intake of calories/carbohydrates/sugars, they are all still essential, if you deprive yourself of them, the diet will feel like hell, and you may develop health issues.