It's hard to have friends, fun and a life while trying to get six-pack abs -- but you can lose weight and get abs without giving up your life. Losing weight and attaining a fit body does not have to mean hours in the gym and an overly restrictive diet. Lose weight and strengthen your abs by working out smart and eating plenty.
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Diet is key in your journey to fat loss and abs. Protein helps keep you full, aids in muscle growth and requires more energy for your body to burn, thus making fat loss more effective. Try to get a palm-size serving of a complete lean protein during each meal. Good sources are egg whites, chicken, tuna and beef. If you are vegetarian or vegan, this may include a mixture of brown rice and beans, tofu, vegan protein powder and quinoa. Eating protein with some carbs post-workout will assist with recovery by refueling your glycogen, ensuring protein breakdown does not occur and providing protein synthesis.
Eat More Fiber
Fiber helps with muscle growth -- protein, carbs and fats will take longer for your body to absorb when you eat fiber with a meal and your muscles will be more likely to receive a constant flow of protein for this reason. You also will feel fuller by increasing your fiber intake, thus less likely to overeat. Eat about one cup of fibrous vegetables with each meal. Delicious options include spinach, kale, asparagus and broccoli.
Lower Sugar Intake
Candy, cakes, brownies and ice cream all contain high sugar content and lead to weight gain if eaten excessively. Do not restrict yourself of indulgences, rather enjoy planned or unplanned sweets occasionally. If you are able to, try to have these sweets closer to pre or post-workout times, as this will create a higher likelihood of the calories being used to fuel your workouts or aid in muscle growth post-workout.
Challenge yourself with exercises that use your own body weight as resistance. Consider a circuit-training program that includes several different body-weight exercises such as push-ups, squats, glute bridges, pull-ups and walking lunges. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body, and paying special attention to this area will help burn fat by building muscle. Glute bridges certainly help firm your butt. Complete each exercise for 50 seconds for up to 30 minutes with little to no rest between exercises.
Your diet is more important than hours of crunches to see your abs. However, to create a tighter midsection as you lose fat, consider throwing into your circuit-training routine some leg raises, bicycles and crunches. Ensure proper form for all body-weight exercises to avoid injury. Reference the Ace Fitness Exercise Library to review form on body-weight exercises.
High-Intensity Interval Training
Cardiovascular training is a great tool to lose fat, but over-training is certainly not necessary. HIIT, high-intensity interval training, involves alternate brief, intense activities with brief activities at lower intensity. This may be jogging for 50 seconds followed by sprinting for 50 seconds. Skating, swimming and jump roping are some other enjoyable activities to be performed. HIIT allows you to burn more calories during and after the workout in a shorter timeframe compared to steady-state cardio sessions which might include jogging at a set pace for a fixed period of time. Remember to talk with your parents and doctor prior to starting a new workout and diet routine.