Everyone knows the old saying about where abs are made. As worn out as this phrase might be, it’s actually true. You can do all the sit-ups or leg raises you want, but if you put the wrong things in your body, you’ll never attain that coveted set of six-pack abs.
For acquiring abs, discipline and consistency with nutrition is more important than what you do in the gym. It’s why most people don’t have a six-pack, even those who exercise every week.
But on the bright side, it also means that almost anyone can have a six-pack, provided they have the mental discipline to stay on track with their eating habits. If you’re ready to accept this challenge, there are six things you must do to try to obtain a six pack.
Combine these six nutrition tips with a challenging ab workout performed 1 to 3 times a week, and you can eventually attain six-pack abs. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Meal frequency
While the theory that eating smaller, more frequent meals will “keep your metabolism fired up” is largely a myth, it’s still helpful to eat small meals when you’re trying to get shredded. That’s because eating these kinds of meals helps keep you from binging on huge amounts of food after not eating for hours. Multiple smaller meals also helps you deal with the mental challenge of getting a six-pack–at any given time of the day, you’ll know that your next meal is not far away. Make sure to keep your macros and caloric deficit on point, and try to eat foods that are filling and enjoyable. With the right plan for portions and timing, you can eat every two or three hours, stay full, and still drop fat around your abdomen.
2. Eat clean food
Everyone’s definition of “clean food” may be slightly different, but the key here is to eat things that are filling and tasty, provide the right nutrients (especially protein), and don’t come with a ton of calories. Examples are lean meats like chicken, fish, and turkey, green vegetables like kale and spinach, and complex carbs like whole wheat bread and sweet potatoes.
3. No alcohol
It can be tough to give up, but alcohol needs to be almost completely eliminated if you’re serious about getting a six-pack. It’s not that alcohol contains a lot of hidden fat, but how the drink impacts your metabolism. Because of its energy density, alcohol is the body’s preferred fuel source. When you drink, your body works to burn off the alcohol before anything else – including the stored fat around your stomach that you need to lose to show your abs!
Alcohol is also “empty calories” – a single craft beer can have over 200 calories, without any impact on how full you feel. Even worse, as the alcohol sets in, it affects your decision making, meaning you’re more likely to slip up and consume foods that aren’t good for you. A glass of wine or mixed drink here and there is okay, but don’t expect to indulge in booze all the time and still get a six pack.
4. Up your protein intake
There are two parts to achieving a six-pack: Losing enough fat to make your core muscles visible, and building those muscles sufficiently to make them show. Increasing your protein helps to accomplish both of these. Protein helps you drop fat by keeping you full with fewer calories, while providing your body with the fuel it needs to build muscle. The scientific community is divided about exactly how much protein you need; most sources recommend anywhere from 0.8 to 1.1 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Start with 0.8 grams per pound and see how you progress – you can always go up from there if necessary. If you have trouble hitting this number with meals alone, try using a protein powder like MET-Rx® Whey Isolate.
5. Add a metabolic booster
Your metabolism is the way your body digests and processes food for fuel. The more efficient your metabolism, the less likely it is that food will be stored as fat. While your metabolism is largely defined by factors out of your control like age, genetics, and gender, eating the proper foods and supplements can help.
One of the best ways to help boost your metabolism is through MET-Rx’s® THERMO-Fx Metabolic Booster.* With key ingredients to support your metabolism like Green Tea Extract, caffeine, and L-Tyrosine, plus an anabolic blend of amino acids like L-Carnitine and L-Leucine, you’ll also enjoy better performance in the gym and maximized concentration and focus.*
6. Stay hydrated
Believe it or not, drinking water has a number of benefits that help you get those six-pack abs you desire. Drinking water has actually been scientifically linked to burning more calories, meaning you’ll improve the rate at which you burn fat. Additionally, water helps keep you full so you don’t need to eat as much – the body often mistakes mild dehydration for hunger. Taking in plenty of H2O can even help you focus, as one of the primary symptoms of dehydration is fatigue.
Like most fitness accomplishments, losing enough fat around your midsection to obtain a six-pack is simple, but not easy. If you stay in the gym, stick to your diet, and give it enough time, you too can achieve the holy grail of physiques: a chiseled, defined six-pack.