Strip the fat off your elusive six-pack with these tips and tricks
Those training for the elusive six-pack knows the feeling when you see glimpses of your upper two or even four abdominal muscles, when you pull the skin tight against your navel. You might even notice them under the bathroom lights in front of the mirror as body naturally flexes when you cough. Unfortunately, for the most, it disappears the moment you try to flex your six-pack on its own. It feels worse when the rest of your body seem to be in good shape while your abs do not. So let’s find out some effective ways to get those washboard abs out from under the layer of body fat covering it.
You have to realise two things: firstly, if you are training drug-free and want a ripped six-pack then it is always going to be a lot harder to achieve and also maintain. (Read more about 4 fitness myth that needs to end)
Secondly, a six-pack is neither a sign of optimum health nor is it a guarantee against back injury or super strength. In fact, most champion powerlifters and strongman competitors possess wide girths as it helps better in distributing weight in the muscles surrounding the spine and waist. A six-pack is just something that looks good on you!
HERE ARE SOME TRIED-AND-TESTED WAYS TO GET THERE
1. Maintain low body fat levels, generally in single-digit numbers. Get your body fat levels tested with skinfold calliper. (These are much more reliable than bio-impedance fat testing machines used in most gyms).
2. A high fibre diet will generally help in maintaining digestive health which is imperative if you want to store lower levels of fat. But increase your fibre intake gradually and increase your water intake as your fibre intake goes up. Eat fruits earlier in the day and definitely stay away from juices which essentially don’t possess fibre and also add in a larger number of calories as compared to a small serving of vegetables and fruits.
3. Like the Japanese, make it a habit to eat an early dinner and hit the bed not before three hours post dinner. It’s no surprise that you don’t find many Japanese men with big bellies! Eating early dinner can go a long way in improving the digestion of food and also in avoiding acid reflux symptoms. Avoid late snacks and go for an easy walk post dinner to help reduce the sugar spike from the food. The old saying, ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’, still holds true.
4. Higher levels of stress and pollution have also been blamed for higher levels of abdominal obesity in men. Some form of relaxation whether listening to calming music, meditation or even prayer can have a great effect on calming our mind which otherwise is constantly running.
5. A cup of black coffee 30 minutes before exercise can act as a great stimulant and will also as a natural fat burner. But do remember that excess amounts of coffee consumption can also make you immune to the very same benefits. So keep your intake to one or two cups a day. Vitamin C post meals to further help boost your immune system and lower fat levels.
(CSCS, NASM-PES, CES, CPT)
Deckline Leitao, who holds a sports science degree from South Africa and a PG diploma from the UK, is one of India’s most qualified trainers