Before the summer, we are sure that your goals are more focused towards getting ripped and getting a six pack rather than building new muscle mass. If you are still wondering why you can’t see your abs and how to make your six pack visible for next summer, here are four tips to set you on the right track.
Doing hundreds of crunches every day will build your abs, but it will not make them visible. The only to make your abs visible is to reduce the layer of fat covering them. Once your body fat levels drop below 11-12% (and 15-16% for women) you’ll be able to see your abs.
1. Diet is the key to burning fat.
Reducing your calorie intake by 300-500 calories a day is a good place to start. You can adjust from here. Staying on a low calorie diet for too long is not the option either. You have to make a calorie surplus from time to time in order to preserve the muscle, keep your metabolism running and increase Leptin levels.
Protein intake should stay the same all the time (1.2 to 2 g/lb ) and you should manipulate your carb and healthy fat intake in order to create a calorie deficit or surplus.There are a few ways you can manipulate your calorie intake:
– Carb rotation – You create a calorie deficit/surplus by splitting your days into high, low and “no” carb days. No-carb and low-carb days will ensure fat loss while the high-carb days or “re-feed” days will be used to increase Leptin levels and build muscle
– Intermittent fasting – Simply put you create a calorie deficit by not eating any food for controlled portions of time. The intermittent fasting diet is gaining a lot of popularity these days.
– Timed carbohydrate intake -You will be under maintenance levels, cut-off carbs 5-8 hours before bed, and do low intensity cardio daily. Diet supplements can be used to create a further deficit.
2. The muscle is a metabolically active tissue
This means it spends or burns calories to sustain itself . Building bigger muscles will ensure you a faster metabolism and more calories burned. The fastest way to build more muscle is to concentrate on building the big muscle groups like legs, back and chest with heavy compound movements like squats, deadlifts and upper body presses.
3. Cardiovascular workout
The cardio itself may not make your abs visible, but it can greatly affect the fat burning process.This being said there are a few types of cardio I’ve tried with good results.
– Low intensity fasted cardio – Personally I like this one the most and I use it 3 to 4 times a week. My weight workouts are hi-intense, so low intensity cardio helps me maintain muscle and not overtrain.
– HIIT cardio – HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and is characterized by short periods of maximum effort followed by
periods of active recovery. It’s a great way of burning fat if you can take it. Doing too much of it can lead to muscle loss.
4. Don’t forget small things that will add up over time.
In addition do not neglect the small things that may not burn fat, but will eventually speed up the fat burning process:
– Drink plenty of water (a gallon a day or more). Water helps the body metabolize stored fat and transports nutrients to muscles.
– Studies have shown that taking fish oil can speed up the fat loss process.
– Eating hot and spicy foods can also increase your metabolism.
– Cinnamon will increase the metabolism somewhat.