When it comes to trying to achieve toned abs, it's not just about hitting the gym and doing sit-ups. From the types of exercises to include in your fitness routine to the best foods for helping to sculpt your core muscles, LDN Muscle's Lloyd Bridger shares his top tips with HELLO! Online for the ultimate abs workout…
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Sit-ups aren't necessarily the best exercise for getting toned abs
Ditch the fads
Fad diets and workouts are fads for one reason – they don't work long term. While you might lose half a stone by sticking to a juice diet for two weeks, as soon as you switch back to normal eating you will put it on again.
Consider your diet
Having visible abs is all about achieving low overall body fat and the biggest factor in this is your diet. Eat 3-5 meals a day: each should include a good quality protein source and vegetables, with the rest of the calories coming from fats and carbohydrates.
Don't stick to a low fat or low carbohydrate diet
Following low fat or low carbohydrate diets are easy- but unsustainable ways- of lowering your calorie intake which causes weight loss. Don’t be duped into thinking eating fat will make you burn fat. Make up your daily calories from protein and a balance of carbohydrates and fats to your personal preference.
A balanced diet will help you burn fat for visible abs
Avoid eating something just because it's considered a superfood
There are no foods- super or not- that will give you amazing abs if you include them in your diet. Focus on making nutritious, enjoyable meals within your daily calorie intake.
Try high intensity interval training
HIIT is a great alternative to boring, steady cardio to help reduce body fat. Go flat out on the cardio machine for 10-30 seconds, and then recover for 60-90 seconds. Do this 6-12 times for an effective workout.
Sit-ups aren't always the best option
You could do a million sit-ups every day for a year, but if you have too much body fat you will never see your defined abs. Turn your focus to eating the right amount each day and creating a structured and enjoyable training programme.
Lifting weights will accelerate the rate you lose body fat
Start lifting weights
Building muscle will not only help achieve better body shape, but will accelerate the rate you lose body fat. Muscle uses around 3 times the energy (calories) the same weight of fat does- while resting! This means you will be burning more calories each day, even while sitting down.
Avoid doing more than 100 reps
Doing hundreds of reps on a muscle or your abs won’t make it grow. 40-70 heavy reps per muscle group is the optimal range for stimulating and building muscle, so hit 3-4 body parts in one workout.
Stick to specific exercises
Hit machine cable crunches and laying (or hanging!) leg raises for a really hard ab workout. 3 sets of 12 reps each exercise will be enough- really!
For more health and fitness advice or to download the LDN Muscle Bikini Guide visit LDNMuscle.com