Behind every six pack are four key lifestyle components that include nutrition, weight training, cardio, and rest. With a balance of these four elements you can achieve summertime abs all year long.
It doesn’t matter how hard you work out, how many sit-up’s you do or how many miles you run on the daily, if you aren’t fueling your body the right way your abs will not develop the way you want them to. Proper nutrition involves not only consuming a balanced and nutrient dense diet, but also eating enough. I’m sure we have all heard the fitness saying of “Abs are made in the kitchen.” Unfortunately, it's true and one of the biggest obstacles we face in our diets is not fueling our bodies with the right types (and amounts) of food. In order to get that lean midsection, meals and snacks must be well thought out and eaten every two to three hours to keep your metabolism running high. A balanced diet includes whole grains, healthy fats (like nuts and avocados), lean protein, vegetables and some fruit (yes, this can be the glass or two of wine during the week).
In order lean out and build your core you must incorporate weight training into your routine. I would say training your ENTIRE body, not just your core 2-3 times a week is essential. I suggest medium to heavy weights and doing sets of complex exercises such as lunges with a bicep curl or performing squats with a bicep curl to an overhead shoulder press. A big part of proper form with these types of exercises is engaging your core throughout the entire exercise. Of course, isolated ab exercises should always be incorporated, but full body movements that engage the core can build that six pack even faster.
The 3rd integral part of getting those summertime abs is cardio.. cardio.. cardio! I recommend 30 minutes of high intensity cardiovascular exercise at least 4-5 times a week. If you are in the Los Angeles area, Beatbike offers cycling classes with the potential to burn anywhere from 600-1100 calories in only 45 minutes. Classes at Beatbike combine endurance pushing sprints, cadence focused climbs, and integrate performance driven racing software to spark your competitive side. If you can’t get to a class at Beatbike, cycling isn’t the only way you can get your cardio in. Running (my personal fave), swimming, or machines like stair masters and elliptical machines are also vey effective.
It is essential your body gets proper recovery time. Recovery means adequate sleep at night, self care to minimize stress, and a day or two off from working out. Much like under eating, over training is something we need to be mindful of. Training too much will not only set you back from getting your washboard abs but will increase stress levels and cause burnout. Go to bed that extra hour early, take time to laugh, and listen to your body. Hitting the gym seven days in a row (as impressive as it sounds) will not expedite abdominal progress. Take a break and add in the fruit portion of your balanced diet on your day off from the gym.
In about 4-6 weeks of consistency with nutrition, weight training, cardio, and rest, you should see a flatter more toned midsection! Consistency is key!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Samantha Weinberg, a Los Angeles native, is a personal trainer and cycling instructor at Beatbike in Tarzana. Also an avid marathon runner, she loves working with people and inspiring them to better their lives and health.
When she's not teaching, Sam spends time with her Maltipoo, Ari or indulging in her three guilty pleasures which are shopping, sunbathing, and peanut butter cups.