3 Cardinal Rules of Fast Six-Pack Abs
By LUZ PLAZA
I'm not going to sugarcoat it: Getting a six-pack requires taking your workout routine -- and diet -- up a notch. The good news is that it doesn't mean you'll need to spend more time working out. It just means you'll need to follow these three cardinal rules to create a six-pack.
1. Focus on Form
Have you ever heard the saying "form is fundamental"? Well, it's true. Not having the correct form when doing an exercise can reduce its effectiveness. Make sure to "think" about the muscles you are trying to exercise while you are performing the movement. It may sound a bit silly, but with time, you'll notice the difference. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, an easy way to try this is to lie on the floor and do two crunches. The first time, do it as you would normally. Then do it again, but this time contracting your abs while you do it. That's the difference between engaging and not engaging your core. This five-minute workout by Livestrong.com trainer Natalie Jill is a great example of basic movements — that aren't crunches — that will deliver killer abs:
If you want to see more workout videos by Natalie Jill and other Livestrong.com trainers, subscribe to our LivestrongWoman YouTube channel here.
2. Eat Clean and Eat Lean
One of your abs' biggest enemies is processed sugars. I know they're delicious, but if you have your eyes on the prize -- a sculpted midsection -- you'll have to make a few sacrifices. No processed sugars and carbs. Focus on lean proteins, veggies and some complex carbs. Eggs are a personal favorite of mine and of many trainers. They are easy to prepare and a great and affordable lean protein. If you want a little more diversity, you can always try one of these 14 protein-packed breakfasts.
3. Don't Neglect Cardio
The concept of spot reducing, or reducing only one part of your body, doesn't exist. All of your body parts and muscles are connected, so to get the results you want, you have to work all of them. The easiest way to do this? Do some cardio. Go running, swimming, biking, do cardio HIIT videos at home or even get on an elliptical machine at the gym. Get started with some of these workout videos that you can do at home:
Start today and I bet you'll see a difference in just a few weeks!
Readers -- Have you ever had success with any workout and/or diet when it comes to achieving flat abs? Have you tried any of the tips above? Did you know that diet was a big part of it? What has worked for you in the past? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Luz Plaza is LIVESTRONG.COM's managing editor. She's into fitness, nutrition, happy and healthy living, as well as indulging a little. Forever against the one-size-fits-all approach, Plaza enjoys boxing, hot yoga and jogging. She previously produced content for Beachbody and TeamBeachbody.
You can follow her on Twitter at @LuzPlaza