Well, we all want abs. The truth is we all do have abs, we just haven’t revealed them yet.
If we try to ask a person with the six packs what the ultimate secret is to having those packs that you really, really, really want, there’s a very huge amount of chance that you’ll get “diet” or “eating habits” as the answer. While exercise is a valuable factor to develop your abs, it’s only half of the story… or even a-fourth of it. It doesn’t make any difference that while you spend hours of workout, you don’t really watch what goes into your mouth. A well-informed diet is the foundation of a core-strengthening and abs-carving fitness program.
As we have already mentioned, we just haven’t unveiled our abs yet. They are beneath the layers of excess fat we see on our bellies. The first step is to shed out those extra covers. The idea here is to lose fat to gain mass. Coupled with exercise, you could lose fat by reducing your calorie intake. Calories are needed to fuel you all throughout the day; but, extra calories will be stored as fat. The secret then is to limit your daily caloric intake to make sure there’s no leftover to be stored. Ideally, you could start by lessening your current intake by 300 to 500cals. But, to know what exactly is right for you, you could use online calorie calculators or apps. In truth, your ideal calorie intake depends on a lot of different factors such as age, weight, activity level and height.
Losing the extra fat is just the beginning. Once you have already reached your target fat level and weight, there are other eating habit changes that you need to include in your program. To achieve that, we have collected for you a few key long-term eating habits to achieve those super-chiseled packs.
Up Your Protein, but Don’t Forget Your Carbs
There is this long-time assumption that if protein is the bodybuilder’s super best friend, carbs is its arch nemesis. But, our bodies need carbohydrates to function well. They are our body’s fuel; that means that they give you the ability to carry those weights and run the mile. Aside from that, they are also important to restock your muscle glycogen. But, here comes the catch. Extra carbs turn into triglycerides, a kind of fatty acids. This means, extra carbs turn to fat—which happens to be the very same that we should be losing.
To make sure there’s no excess, you can limit yourself to 2 to 3 grams of carbohydrates for each pound of body weight. There is also this kind of diet strategy called the carb cycling where you divide your days of the week to either high cab or low carb day. It somehow tricks the body not to adapt to a level of carbs so as not to compromise metabolism.
Now, for our friend: the protein. Just like any element needed for the body to properly function, protein levels differ from one person to another depending on the person’s activity level. People who train need more protein than those who work for hours in an office. Protein is the body’s muscle-builder.
Bodybuilders who are trying to gain mass can up their protein to 0.8 to a gram for each pound of lean mass. You can easily get your protein requirement from various natural sources like lean chicken, lean beef, fish, beans and eggs. You could also use protein supplements like those in powder and bar forms.
Be Friends with Water
Aside from protein, you need to be friends with water. That is because the fats in our bodies are broken down through the aid of water, in a process called hydrolysis. This means that drinking enough water helps in metabolism. Optimal nutrient absorption is also another benefit of hydration. Moreover, since exercise is part of the six-pack plan, it is important to keep yourself hydrated. The amount of ideal daily water consumption for active individuals is four liters. Water also helps you prevent overeating by making you feel full.
Revolutionize your Meal Plan
The main idea of a meal plan is to correctly budget your portions. As you are trying to develop your abs, you need protein for your muscles, carbs for energy, as well as healthy fats and calcium. Try as much as possible to stay away from saturated and trans fats, and refined carbohydrates and sugar. Apart from knowing your portions, meal schedule is also important. Bodybuilders eat frequently to efficiently burn fat and improve metabolism. Commonly, it is recommended to eat two or three large meals with small snacks in between. So basically, eating three times a day doesn’t apply to you. Make it six times. Remember though that these snacks should be healthy and fit for your plan.
By eating snacks every three hours or more, you could avoid eating too much during lunch or dinner. Make sure, though, that you are actually spreading out your meals and not adding them up. Your calorie and nutrient intake should be divided appropriately to consume less, instead of more. For people who do not have the convenience of a dining or snacking area, you could pack a few handy snacks like nuts and fruit slices, for example.
Eating a healthy breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism. This makes breakfast the most important part of the day. Filling yourself up early in the morning prevents you from eating too much during lunch or snack. If you’re hungry, you could be tempted to make unhealthy choices. People who skip breakfast tend to eat more during the rest of the day. Weight loss is often associated with eating breakfast because of this. Since shedding fat is part of the plan, it is important to eat breakfast either to lose weight or maintain it.
Breakfast is also a good opportunity for protein. Eggs and lean ham are great sources of high-quality protein. Always prefer protein than carbs, like bagels and slices of bread.
Pack Your Lunch
Since you are revolutionizing your meal plan, then packing your lunch should already be your new ritual. By doing so, you control what goes into your meal and into your body. You could also make sure that your calorie budget is still intact. The more you are aware of your lunch’s content, the healthier it becomes. Here’s a tip: do not eat other than what you’ve packed. Your packed lunch should already contain what you need for this specific meal. Otherwise, there’s no sense at all in packing or cooking it yourself.
A sample lunch menu fit for an abs-king: 6 ounces of lean chicken (with approx. 276 kCal and 51.68g of protein), 1 medium-sized potato (144 kCal and 33.42g of carbs), and a cup of sliced carrots (50kCal, 11.69g of carbs, and 1.13g of protein).
Now that you know these five abs-carving eating habits, the next step is to gradually change from your current diet ways. Couple your body-building exercises with these practical eating strategies. Change, of course, will not be easy. But surely, it will be worth it.