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?
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A six-pack might still be within your reach. But avoiding formal workouts doesn't mean you can sit around all day, nor can you let your guard down in the kitchen. To gain six-pack abs without working out will take even more dietary focus and a physically active lifestyle. Keeping a food diary is a perfect tool for this.
It's a tricky thing, expecting to develop a six-pack without hitting the gym. But you can pave the way by counting your macros — especially carbs — and moving as much as you can by climbing stairs, dancing and hiking, to name a few activities.
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.
Keep track of 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.
Read more: Meal Plan to Lose Belly Fat
Quench Your Thirst
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.
Get Abs Without Working Out
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.
Read more: How to Shed Belly Fat Without Exercising
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.