You know you can develop a six-pack by doing your due diligence at the gym. However, what if you don't want to spend eons working out — or, worse yet, you can't exercise because of illness, circumstances or injury?
A six-pack might still be within your reach. Avoiding formal workouts doesn't mean you can sit around all day, nor that you can let your guard down in the kitchen. To gain a six-pack without exercise will take even more dietary focus and a physically active lifestyle.
Slash Your Carb Intake
Carbs aren't inherently evil, but they can stand in the way of a six-pack, especially if you aren't burning them off with exercise. Reduce your intake of this macronutrient to whittle your middle. A 2015 study in the Journal of Nutrition showed that a diet with between 41 and 43 percent of calories from carbs led to more fat loss from the belly than a low-fat diet with 55 percent of calories coming from carbs.
Use an online food diary to help you determine the exact number of carbs you consume daily. In general, your meals will consist of watery, fibrous vegetables and healthy proteins, such as chicken, fish and flank steak. Minimize your intake of cereals, bread, pasta, starchy vegetables, fruits, sugary treats, soda and baked goods. Processed snacks, such as pretzels, chips and cereal bars, are also off limits.
While a low-carb diet alone won't guarantee a six-pack, it will help you drop extra fat that covers any definition in your middle.
Water fills you up, so you don't feel hungry and overeat. It also fights bloating, which can make a six-pack hard to see. Drink to quench your thirst. Watery vegetables and herbal teas also contribute to hydration. Minimize your consumption of fizzy drinks or alcohol; both can cause bloating and alcohol adds extra calories that won't promote six-pack abs.
Start every morning with a glass of water and include watery veggies at every meal. Think broccoli, lettuce, mushrooms, celery and cucumber, for example.
Just because you aren't visiting the gym doesn't mean you get to sit around all day and still develop a six-pack. Take advantage of every opportunity you can to move. Climb the stairs, park far out in the lot, walk your dog extra times during the day and take up an active hobby, such as hiking or dance. The more you move, the more calories you burn. When you burn calories, you're more likely to lose fat and show off a six-pack.
Formal strength training isn't your thing, but you can still work hard and lift heavy things. Household chores, such as washing your car, pushing a handheld mower or vacuuming, require activation from your abs that helps develop definition.
Tighten Your Abs All Day
Your posture and stance plays a role in the appearance of a six-pack. If you walk around all day not thinking about your posture or abdominal definition, your muscles stretch out over a paunchy stomach, so you look puffy rather than defined.
Instead, stand, or sit, with an erect posture and purposefully contract your abs, like you're bracing for a punch. Perform this contraction whenever you think of it — standing in line, driving or typing on your computer — to train your abs to stay in a strong, tight position, rather than a loose, flabby one.