I was visiting my parents a while back and the fitness director at my mom’s gym asked me to teach an “abs class” while I was in town. The fitness manager was shocked when I politely refused!

When the fitness manager asked me why I declined her offer I politely told her, “I don’t teach abs classes, abs are made in the kitchen, not the in gym. There is no point in wasting your member’s time by making them so thousands of useless crunches in class every week. Having them do that won’t flatten one single ab!”

Here is the thing that many people, including a lot of trainers overlook. The single most important tool that you need to develop your abs is diet. Regardless of what you heard, or what the latest hyped up fat loss pill promised you, abs are made in the kitchen. You could have the best training program of all time, but if your diet sucks, so will your abs.

So how do I get better abs?

1. Diet is 90% of the puzzle.

In order to burn fat and reveal your washboard six pack abs, it is important to eat a balanced diet that is made up of protein, healthy fats, and some carbohydrates. Protein helps form the building blocks of muscle and is probably the most essential macronutrient of them all, mainly because your body burns a ton of calories digesting protein.

Calculating the right amount of carbohydrates to eat can be tricky, but a good strategy to use is eat most of your carbs post-workout. When you intake carbs post-workout your body quickly absorbs the carbs directly into the muscle tissue, promoting growth. Post-workout carbs also help your muscles recover faster, which will give you better results faster.

Many people believe that eating fat will make you fat, but in reality, healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as fish oils, nuts, and olive oil will actually help you burn more fat than a low fat diet will. A mix of 20-30% of dietary fat in your diet will kelp keep insulin levels stable, which will help prevent you from gaining additional body fat.

The last diet tip is to include plenty of fiber and raw vegetables with each meal. Vegetables are jam packed with tons of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which are all essential for building a lean body and ripped six pack abs.

2. Stop doing thousands of crunches and sit-ups

Compound, multi-joint, total body movements will promote more total fat loss and promote a much bigger muscle building response than crunches and sit-ups ever will.

Personally, I think that it is completely pointless to waste an hour of your time doing hundreds of useless crunches and sit-ups when that hour could be spend doing exercises that are more productive for fat loss.

Working as a fitness model, I generally work abs for about 20 minutes two or three times per week. There is just no reason to work abs any more than this!

Here is a list of great compound exercises that you should have in your workout program:

Legs: Barbell Squat, Lunges, Deadlifts

Shoulders: Military Press, Hang-Clean and Press

Arms: Dips, Close-Grip Pushups

Back: Deadlifts, Pull-ups

Chest: Bench Press, Push-ups

Once you get more advanced with your training you can incorporate olympic lifts such as cleans and snatches into the mix. These two exercises are very demanding and utilize just about every joint in the body. They can also trigger a huge metabolic response within the body, as well as increase strength and balance.

3. Use smarter “cardio” methods

I’m sure you’ve probably heard that the best way to burn fat is to do long duration cardio at a slow to medium pace. This fat loss method is decent, but there is a much better way. I suggest doing interval workouts combined with abdominal exercises.

Here is an example:

During the active recovery period of your interval workout, perform an ab exercise. For example, if you are doing interval sprints on a stationary bike or treadmill, run for 30 seconds at your maximum speed. Hop off of the machine and immediately perform a set of 20 stability ball crunches. Get back on the machine and crank it back up again.

Repeat 5-8 times.

You can throw in a variety of different ab exercises during this interval session such as reverse crunches, the plank, etc.

In summary, the key to getting rock hard six pack abs is to build your body with multi-joint compound exercises, then once you are making decent progress, use nutrition and a solid maintenance plan to keep your abs tight all year.

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