Think of ab fat like the deep end of the swimming pool.
No matter how much you protest, there is no way you
can drain the deep end before the shallow end.
However, don’t let this discourage you. Lower ab fat
WILL come off, it will simply be the last place to come
off. Simply put: First place on, last place off.
This helps to explain why abdominal exercises have
little impact on body fat loss. It’s a huge mistake to
think that hundreds or thousands of reps of ab
exercises will remove lower abdominal fat, except to
the degree that it burns calories and contributes to a
calorie deficit. What removes the fat—all over your
body—is a calorie deficit and that comes from
decreasing food intake, increasing activity, or a
combination of both.
You get great abs from reducing your body fat,
and you reduce your body fat by creating a caloric
deficit through nutrition and metabolism-stimulating
and calorie-burning exercise.
That leads us to nutrition. Many people say that
“abdominals are made in the kitchen, not in the gym,”
and there’s a lot of truth to that. You can do thousands
of reps of ab work every week, but if your nutrition is
not in order, you can forget about getting a great set of
Here are 5 nutrition secrets for great abs:
1. Spread your calories into 5-6 smaller meals instead
of 2-3 big ones. Be very conscious of portion size. If
you eat too much of anything (even “healthy” food),
you can say goodbye to your abs. Period.
2. Eat a source of complete, high quality lean protein
with each meal (egg whites, lean meat, fish, protein
3. Choose natural, complex carbs such as vegetables,
oatmeal, yams, potatoes, beans, brown rice and
whole grains. Start with approximately 50% of your
calories from natural carbs and reduce carbs slightly
(especially late in the day) if you are not losing fat.
4. Avoid refined, simple carbs that contain white flour
or white sugar.
5. Drink plenty of water—a gallon a day is a good ballpark
to shoot for if you are physically active.
For health and weight maintenance, I suggest 3 short
cardio workouts per week, about 20-30 minutes per
session. But for maximum fat loss, I recommend 4-7
days per week of cardio or other physical activity for
30-45 minutes (based on results), at a moderate pace.
You can mix up the type of cardio you do, or choose the
type you enjoy the most—stationary cycling, stair
climbing, elliptical machines, aerobic classes and other
continuous activities are all excellent fat burners (it
doesn’t have to be indoors or on a cardio machine).
If time efficiency is a concern for you, you could do 2-3
of these cardio workouts as high intensity interval
training and you’ll achieve very good results with briefer
workouts. Even as little as 20-25 minutes per session
can get great results IF your intensity level is high
Remember, seeing your abs is about low body fat. Low
body fat is about burning calories and creating a calorie
deficit. You create a calorie deficit by increasing the
number of calories you burn and/or decreasing the
amount of calories you take in from food. Increasing
intensity is one way to burn more calories in less time.
NOTE: To reach the “ripped” 3.7% body fat level,
do cardio 7 days a week for 30-45
minutes per session, in addition to 4 weight training
workouts per week.