Flat abs and a defined six pack are the goal of many fitness enthusiasts. Fat-burning cardiovascular exercises and targeted abdominal toning exercises are essential steps in pursuit of this goal. Following a healthy diet that controls the intake of calories, saturated fat and refined sugar is another key step in achieving a flat, toned midsection.
Getting hard abs requires you to reduce your overall body fat. According to fitness expert Anthony Ellis at Iron Magazine, a woman will show her abs at about 14 percent body fat and a man at about 8 percent. An abs diet is really a fat loss diet that emphasizes lean proteins, fresh produce, whole grains, lowfat dairy and monounsaturated fats. You should also avoid certain foods that could encourage bloating like processed, high-sodium products, bran, beans, spicy foods and vegetables like cabbage, Brussels sprouts and onions. Water is the beverage of choice on an abs-revealing diet.
Eating multiple small meals throughout the day maximizes digestive efficiency and keeps your metabolism revved. Divide your daily calorie needs by the number of meals you plan to eat to determine the amount you should consume at each sitting. For example, if you are seeking weight loss and abs and need 1,800 calories a day, you could eat six meals each containing about 300 calories. These meals should include protein, healthy carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits or whole grains and a small amount of monounsaturated fats found in nuts or plant oils.
Types of Food
A diet to reveal the abs must shun overconsumption of saturated fat, added sugars and processed or fast foods. Instead, eat proteins like skinless chicken breast, flank steak, ground buffalo, egg whites and whey powder. Include green vegetables that are unlikely to make you bloat such as romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, green beans and arugula. Fruits like apples and oranges add fiber, which helps discourage bloating due to constipation. Choose whole grains like quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice and 100 percent whole wheat over enriched white flour and white rice.
If you need to lose belly fat to reveal your abs, include certain foods in your diet. Researchers at Curtin University in Australia found that five servings of dairy per day helped decrease belly fat in just 12 weeks. Eight grams of safflower oil consumed daily also helps decrease belly fat and encourages the development of lean muscle mass, reports Ohio State University researchers in a 2009 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Whole grains, with their high fiber and satiating qualities can also help flatten the belly. When eaten instead of refined, white flours, whole grains promote belly fat loss reports lead researcher, Heather Katcher, in a 2008 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
If you have an intolerance to dairy or soy, your abs may be camouflaged by bloating. If you suspect you suffer from such a condition, try eliminating foods containing lactose or soy for a few days and see if your belly reduces in size. Certain people may not be able to achieve a six pack due to genetics or life experiences, like numerous Cesarean sections.
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:Comparison of Dietary Conjugated Linoleic Acid with Safflower Oil on Body Composition in Obese Postmenopausal Women
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: The Effects of a Whole Grain Hypercaloric Diet
- Curtin News: Higher Dairy Intake May Help Fight Obesity
- Iron Magazine: How to Reveal Your "Six Pack" of Abs
- sexy tummy image by Leticia Wilson from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.