Summer is just around the corner, and soon we’ll all be hitting the beach hoping to look our best. If you’ve fallen behind on your New Year’s resolution to hit the gym more, it’s not too late to get back into the swing of things.
VALLEY is here with six tips to help you with your summer six pack.
Don’t Cut Cardio
It’s a common misconception that in order to build muscle, you should only focus on strength based workouts such as crunches or squats, but that’s not the case. No matter how many abdominal exercises you do, if you don’t lose a certain amount of body fat, they won’t be visible. Loosing any additional body fat around the stomach area is the first step to building the desired six pack.
Cardio doesn’t have to be limited to running several miles, though. If running isn’t for you, try biking or using a stair master or elliptical. Penn State also has several different fitness classes such as power remix or Zumba that can be a fun way to get your cardio in.
Watch What You Eat
As much as a steady workout routine is a key part of building a good amount of muscle, so is your diet. Muscle fibers are made up of protein, so eating a diet that is very protein packed is important. Lean proteins such as chicken, fish and certain cuts of beef are best, as are vegetarian options such as beans or quinoa. It is also good to watch your fat intake.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Staying well hydrated can help to boost your metabolism, meaning your body burns fat faster. Just building muscle is necessary to have a define six pack, so is burning fat. Drinking more water can also help you stay full longer, meaning you’ll be less likely to constantly be snacking throughout the day.
The minimum recommended water intake per day is about half of your body weight in fluid ounces, so if you aren’t sure how much water is the right amount, that is a good starting point.
Find Your Favorite Ab Exercises
A huge part of developing a six pack is creating an ab workout routine comprised of different kinds of exercises. Doing 500 crunches may seem like the most effective way to build these muscles, but they only target one particular muscle.
Instead, try creating a routine consisting of weighted exercises, lower ab exercises and oblique exercises. Doing Russian twists with a medicine ball is a great way to add some extra weight in, and leg raises or scissor kicks are great for the lower abs.
When trying to achieve any fitness goal, it is important to modify your current lifestyle slowly. Trying to go on an extreme diet or suddenly increase how often you go to the gym won’t always become a long-term solution. A much better approach is removing things from your diet or adding in a little exercise at a time.
For example, if you typically only work out once a week, try increasing to twice a week first before deciding that you’ll spend time every single day at the gym. Your body will thank you, and you’ll be much more likely to reach your goal in the long run.
Be Patient and Consistent
Developing a six pack isn’t something that can just happen overnight. If you follow a strategic workout plan and commit yourself to your goal, though, you will see results. If you are having trouble accomplishing your goals alone, seeking out a nutritionist or a personal trainer is worthwhile.