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Body Toning Series - Abs

Abs are, for many people, the holy grail of training, and the perfect reflection of proof that what you are doing is really working.

Maybe we’re obsessed, or maybe we’re taken in by all the models in fitness magazines showing off their washboard abs while they perform crunches and exercises with a medicine ball.  

Whatever the reason, the truth is that having strong abs is also usually linked to a powerful core and an innate strength throughout your body. But it also needs to fall within your goals. It is largely aesthetic, however, you won’t get the six pack you want if you don’t train and eat for it. You need to target those abdominals and cut off the fat while building the muscle, just like with any other body part.

Below you’ll find the best exercises to do to achieve this, as well as helpful tips for structuring your macronutrient intake in terms of your diet.

Exercises to do

  • Compound Lifts
  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Overhead Press
  • Chin ups and Pull ups
  • Turkish Get-ups


Your diet is crucial

Eat protein

A lot of muscle building comes down to how much protein you’re including in your diet.  

Protein assists with recovery and muscle growth meaning it should ideally be included in conjunction with a carbohydrate within 30 minutes to 3 hours after workout. 

Only 0.2 - 0.5 grams protein per kilogram body weight (g/kg BW) is needed post workout to encourage muscle repair and growth, especially essential protein.

A good choice of dietary protein after exercise is flavoured milk.


Focus on good carbs

To help you optimise on your health and fitness goals it is useful to know a bit more about this macronutrient.

Carbohydrates are fibrous, starchy and sugary foods.

Fibrous carbs should make up the bulk of your diet in the form of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes - these are unrefined. Fibre is important for gut health and it also slows down the absorption of carbohydrates preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar levels - This is a good thing.

Starchy carbs can be refined or unrefined. This depends on the processing it has gone through and if whole ingredients have been used. Try to choose the whole grain option when it comes to breads, pasta, etc. and include them occasionally.

Sugary carbs are digested, absorbed and metabolised very quickly leading to rapid spikes in sugar levels - Not good. These types of carbs are also known as refined carbohydrates (sugar, soft drinks, fruit juice, chocolates and sweets) and should ideally be avoided.


Fats are your friend

Thankfully, fats don't have a bad reputation anymore and we all see the value in including them into our diets, and they are also especially important for balancing our diets.

But there are still precautions you should take regarding which fats you include in your diet.

You should focus on limiting your saturated fat intake and choose lower fat options, for example white cheeses and Greek yoghurt.

Other things to include in your diet are olives, nuts, nut butters, vegetable and olive oils and, of course, omega-3 rich avocado.

It’s also important to note that cooking oils at higher temperatures change them into trans fats (bad fats), so in general always cook low and slow!

All-in-all, getting ripped or toned abs takes a lot of work in the gym and in the kitchen, and sometimes it can be frustrating because we are all different.

You may have seen that you have a friend who eats what he wants and still has the six pack, while you’re putting in all the work and find it difficult to get that look that you’re aiming for. Simply take it as another challenge. If you want it bad enough and are disciplined in the way that you train then you will succeed.

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