Thousands of ab crunches alone will not get you that desired six-pack. To achieve that ripped look you are also going to have to reduce your body fat percentage so the layer of fat that will otherwise cover your abs dissolves. Although the use of a gym would be an advantage, you can develop a six-pack at home. Your level of self-discipline and overall mental strength will determine how fast you reach this goal.
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Your Diet Is Vital
The best way to get abs means correcting your diet. No more junk food. Cut out anything high in sodium, saturated fat or sugar, including liquids. Your new diet must be nutritious, with plenty of protein to build muscle. Think poultry, red meat, fish, whole grain, nuts, seeds, fruit, veg and low-fat dairy. Drinking plenty of water so as to prevent water bloat caused by dehydration. Harvard Health recommends that healthy people drink two to three cups an hour. Drink more if you're losing sweat through exercise.
Read more: Recommended Caloric Intake for Weight Loss
Get Out Your Notebook
Plan out your new diet so that you now eat six small meals each day, eating every two or three hours. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a printable, weekly "food diary" that will help you keep track. Plan in advance, taking protein powders and healthy snacks out with you so that you always have an alternative to junk food. Your exact diet will be dependent on your body's current condition. A person needs to consume at least 500 calories per day less to start losing weight, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Cardio at Home
Perform a cardio session either on your home treadmill or by going out for a run or cycle. Apply high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, to your workout. Interval training is so named because it pairs periods of intense work with short rest breaks throughout the session. The combinations are endless.
Start with a warm-up and then perform 30 seconds of intense activity followed by three or so minutes of less intense running or walking. Or you can try the one off, one on, method. One minute intense followed by one minute of recovery. Mayo Clinic recommends HIIT as a superior fat burner to conventional cardio because it keeps the body from adjusting to a single work rate.
Read more: The Cardio Abs Workout
Ab Workouts at Home
It is simple to perform a varied and effective ab workout at home with no equipment at all. The bicycle maneuver is rated by the American Council on Exercise as the most effective of all ab exercises due to it keeping the rectus abdominis almost constantly taut and working the obliques simultaneously.
Lie down on the floor and put your hands linked behind your head. On an exhale, simultaneously raise your head and shoulders. Keeping your left leg straight, bend your right knee towards your left elbow. Inhale and repeat with the bent left knee and right elbow. Complete 10 bicycles and work your way up to three sets of 10. Other effective exercises that can be performed at home with no equipment are the vertical leg crunch and the traditional crunch. Remember with any movement that brings your legs towards your torso to exhale and inhale on the release.
- Mayo Clinic "Rev Up Your Workout With Interval Training"
- American Council on Exercise: "New Study Puts the Crunch on Ineffective Ab Exercises"
- Harvard Health: "How Much Water Should You Drink"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "My Food Diary"
- Mayo Clinic: "Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight-Loss Basics"