Want a super-toned stomach? Here’s York personal trainer Jason Diprose‘s guide to achieving that goal
1. Create a calorie deficit
The road to a six pack isn’t a complicated one but it does require discipline and self honesty. If you’re in fairly good shape already then start by eating 500 calories below your daily intake requirements.
If you have plenty of fat to lose, eat 1,000 fewer calories and aim to progressively lose weight at a rate of one pound or more per week.
Reducing body fat should be your priority until your top two abs come through. The key is getting lean then staying that way.
2. Measure your body fat percentage
The key to a six pack is to lower your body fat percentage rather than to simply “lose” weight.
Body fat percentage is the ultimate measure of your success. When you are within the right range, and training right, you will not only have visible abs, but also a well defined upper and lower body.
Often two people weigh the same, yet one will look overweight while the other looks athletic and toned. Why? The answer lies in both individuals’ overall body fat to lean muscle mass ratios. The athletic looking person has a lower body fat percentage.
Men should aim to reach ten per cent, whereas women should shoot for 15 per cent if they wish to see clearly visible abs.
3. Don’t overtrain!
Many people believe the more they do to their stomach, the more fat they are going to burn. But you can’t spot reduced body fat.
You can develop the lean muscle mass underneath a fat layer. This, combined with a reduction in overall body fat levels, leads to a toned appearance.
It’s the reduction in body fat that leads to toning. This is 80 per cent about what you eat and 20 per cent about exercise. Take care of your nutrition if you really want to see your abs come through.
Train your abs like you would any other muscle group. Cover your central abdomen and obliques (the muscles at the side of your central core muscles that serve to “frame” your abs at both the hips and ribs) once and no more than twice per week. Make sure you take each area to total failure.
A balanced, clean diet, within your daily calorie requirements, will do the rest.
4. Don’t waste time…
You don’t need to spend an hour every other day training your abs. Provided you cover them from every angle to failure using high rep ranges and a low resistance then you have done your job.
Pick two exercises on your chosen training day per area and perform four to five sets of 15 to 20 reps with 30 seconds gap in between for each one.
No matter how many exercises you do for your stomach it won’t be flat until your calorie level reduces!
5. Avoid water retention
What you eat is just as important as how much you eat. Wheat gluten and dairy lead to digestive problems in many people. This can lead to a bloated stomach and water retention.
By avoiding products containing wheat gluten and dairy – think bread, pasta, cheese, milk, yoghurt and many processed cereals – you’ll already be well placed to win the battle of the bulge.
Combine this with a regular intake of green and leafy vegetables, citrus fruit, berries and lean protein choices, you’ll power your way to a six pack in no time.
6. Full body barrage
So, sit ups and crunches target your abs, but want to know the best way to cover your stomach from every angle?
Your core is involved in every resistance and cardio exercise you perform, and the more complex the movement, the bigger the demand that gets placed on your core.
This is especially true when performing free weight compound exercises. Whether you lift a moderate or heavy load, or if you’re using several limbs at once, it’s your core / abdominal muscles that form the “bedding” for them all to meet the demand of the exercise.
It’s important to isolate your ab muscles as you would with any other singular muscle group. But in order to maximise your appearance and create that six pack, you need to cover your entire body with both free weight resistance exercises and cardio that involves the use of as much of your body as possible.
- Read all Jason’s health and fitness articles here
- Jason Diprose is co-founder of FightBody, a weight loss and fitness programme at the One Club in York. It is a 30-minute class exercise programme designed to give participants a toned, honed and fit physique.
- One Club can be found at: Pioneer Business Park, Clifton Moor, York, YO30 4TN. To find out more, visit the Fight Body website.
- Check out Jason’s website here