We all want a toned stomach, but are you willing to work for it? For most, this area is probably the most stubborn and difficult part to lose fat. Let’s be honest here, doing hundreds of crunches or even a variety of abdominal workouts alone will not do the trick! You may end up developing a stronger core, but if you really want a flat stomach or have those blocks of ab muscles pop, it takes much more than just exercise. A consistent, healthy diet as well as cardio in your exercise routine will help boost those results.
Jamin Thompson from bodybuilding.com gives us six rules to achieve a bikini-ready core, both inside and out.
1. Eat Enough Protein
All those protein shakes or protein bars you see are not just workout snacks or meal replacements! If you’re not a fan of supplements, try more lean meats like chicken or turkey breast. Intaking the right amount of protein will help you build lean muscle as well as burn fat.
2. Eat Carbs After Exercising
Yes, you read that rights! Not all carbs are bad for you. Stick with healthy, unprocessed carbs, such as whole grains, oats, or brown rice. It’s better to consume these after a workout because it is more likely to be burned off while your body is still recovering.
3. Eat Healthy Fats
Foods such as raw nuts (unsalted and unseasoned), nut butters and avocados contain healthy fats called polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These keep your insulin levels stable and will help boost your metabolism when combined with your intake of protein and healthy carbs.
4. Eat Fiber and Raw Vegetables
In addition to the above foods, vegetables are full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which help cleanse while properly fueling your body to build ab muscles.
5. Incorporate Other Workouts
Crunches are not the only way to workout your abs. There are several muscles to sculpt, such as the obliques, lower and upper abs. In fact, if you’re working out another part of your body– such as doing squats– chances are, you’re also working your core.
6. Try Other Cardio Exercises
If you can easily run a mile, try running two or run at an incline. More challenging cardio workouts will help burn stubborn fat.
Yes, most of Thompson’s tips include food and a healthy diet. Generally, if you want to achieve an overall toned or muscular body, exercise only contributes about 20% and a healthy diet contributes about 80% to your success!
Feature image courtesy of youqueen.com