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How To Get A Six-Pack In One Month

How To Get A Six-Pack In One Month

I have a six pack. Ok. Sometimes I have a six pack. Ok, Ok. For like 2 months of the year I have a six-pack. I mean, give me a break. I am not a fitness model or anything. I am just a regular old 37 year old. But, I can whip out a six pack given a month’s notice.

I am not going to sit here and insult everyone’s intelligence and effort by saying everyone is going to be able to pull off a six pack in one month. One month is not long enough for some peoplebecause there are many factors that go into fat loss. Genetics, current weight, current diet, injuries, etc.

But, there is not a doubt in my mind that almost anyone could have a six pack. If you exercise regularly and you eat somewhat healthy, have an injury free body that only carries a small spare tire and can be pushed hard, it is definitely possible for you to make your abs pop with a month’s notice. The way is simple but it requires some discipline and hard work and it goes like this:

Number 1 Six-Pack Rule: Create Calorie Deficits!!!

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    Despite all the diet voodoo you read and hear about, losing fat comes down to one tried and true simple fact. You need to burn more calories than you take in. That is how you get rid of fat sitting on your belly and covering up the abs that are living under there.

    So how do we create calorie deficits?

    1. Cardio AND Weights!

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      There are basically two schools of thought in the fitness world regarding cardio for fat loss. There are the high intensity cardio folks and the steady state cardio folks. High intensity cardio will get you a faster burn quicker, but it is a lot harder. Steady state cardio will take you longer to burn the same calories, but it is more sustainable. Pick whichever one you want and remember that all that matters is the calories you burn.

      Just hitting cardio will do nice things for your body. It will lean you up, but it better be combined with weights, otherwise you will be plenty skinny without an ab in sight. When I want to get my stomach ready for taking off my shirt, I never stop hitting the weight room. I just add my cardio on to the time I train. I may lift lighter than usual with less rest in between sets, in order to balance the stress and strain of the added cardio, but I keep lifting, because the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn, as I said above, we are all about burning those calories!

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      2. Diet

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        I cannot sit here and suggest a specific diet that will work for everyone. Everyone is different and I don’t think diets as a whole work. You have to know your body and know what works for you to lose weight. I personally use intermittent fasting as a means to maintaining a functional eating plan for myself. It has a lot more health benefits than simply weight control.

        If you eat lots of lean protein, about as many grams as you weigh, eat lots of greens, fruits and veggies, and fill the bit that’s left with some healthy carbs and healthy fats, I’m confident to say that you are on the right track for fat loss and a six-pack.

        3. Drink Water!

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          A gallon a day. Drinking water helps you to stave off hunger as well as helps with water retention – a big issue when trying to get that six-pack showing. Get a gallon jug, fill it up in the morning and every time you’re are hungry, jug water before you reach for food. Most of the times we seem hungry it is because we are thirsty, so stay hydrated and you will eat less.

          4. Stop Spot Training

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            I just want to dispel a general myth about weight lifting. You cannot burn fat in particular areas of your body by spot training. More often, you can only build muscle by doing so. Spending 20 minutes a day at the gym doing crunches and planks are not going to burn belly fat. Your time is better spent elsewhere in the gym to maximize results.

            5. Diet Pills and Weight Loss Supplements

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              Most of the diet pills out there are chalked full of ingredients that have never been actually linked to fat loss, or are seriously dangerous when taken in dosages high enough to make a difference. I recommend you skip the diet pills and weight loss magic and just put in the hard work necessary to achieve your six pack goals.

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              Exercises to do for your six-pack

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                We have addressed some of the simple advice for getting your six pack, it’s time to look at some of the exercises you can do to make you’re abs pop. The key here is not to constantly train abs, as we discussed above about the myth of spot training, but you should be throwing in some ab work at the end of your workouts 3-4 times a week in order to bring them out.

                Below I list a few of the best exercises that you can fold into any workout. I suggest you pick two of these exercises and hit about 3 sets of 30 reps for each every other workout.

                Cable Crunch

                Bicycle Crunch

                Hanging Leg Raise

                Spiderman Plank

                Lower Ab Leg Lift

                Conclusion

                Bringing out your six-pack requires hard work, discipline, structure and some physical and mental pain. If anyone tells you any different, they are lying to you. There is no secret, mystical fast track way to make your abs pop. So put in the work, create caloric deficits, exercise regularly with weights and cardio, eat clean and healthy, stay hydrated and skip all the magical promises that are out there. If you do all this, you can get your six-pack showing in a month and you can keep it for as long as you continue to put in the work!

                Featured photo credit: Jasminko Ibrakovic via shutterstock.com

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                Published on August 16, 2019

                15 Strength Training Exercises Specifically for Runners

                15 Strength Training Exercises Specifically for Runners

                When you choose the right exercises, and make strength training a priority, it will have a great payoff to improve your running. Studies have shown incorporating a strength training program to your running routine improves running economy.[1]

                Here are 15 strength training exercises specifically for runners.

                1. Planks

                The plank is a very important core exercise that will help give you more control and balance while running. Having a strong core will also keep you more stable and in control if you have to navigate uneven surfaces.

                The plank is a simple exercise and involved balancing on your forearms and the tips of your toes, so that your back is “straight as a plank”. You want to focus on keeping your abs tight and imagine sucking your belly button up into your spine to have them properly engaged.

                Aim for 30 to 45 seconds for a few rounds. Ultimately, you want to hold them as long as you can with proper form – so every time you perform a plank you want to go a little longer than previous ones.

                2. Side Planks

                The same concept is applied but you are now engaging your core in a different manner and engaging your oblique muscles too. This time, you are going to lie on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other.

                You will lean on your right forearm and lift your hips off the ground keeping your head lined up with your torso and ankles. Keep your other hand on your hip to help ,and control balance, and focus on not moving or swaying. Keep your abs tight to engage them and hold for 30-45 seconds, or longer if you can.

                3. Clamshells

                For this exercise, you are going to need a simple resistance band. Start with the band wrapped around both legs just below the knee. Your starting position will be on the ground lying on your side with your top hip and shoulder pointing towards the ceiling. Your hips will be on the ground, keep your back straight and your feet together, and lift up with your top knee as far as you can with the resistance.

                Pause for a second at the top and lower back down under control. You can do 10 reps on this side before switching over and doing another 10 reps and aim for 2 to 3 sets.

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                Clamshells are going to help strengthen your abductor muscles giving you stronger hips and more stability while running.

                4. Single-Leg Bridge

                You will start lying on your back with your feet on the ground, shoulder-width apart with knees bent. You will straighten out one leg so it’s out in front of you in the air and lift your body up by pushing with the leg on the ground.

                You want to flex your abs and glutes while pushing upward and try to keep your hips level throughout the motion before returning to the ground. You can also hold your body in the upright position for 5-10 seconds before returning to the ground to get more engagement before switching over to the other leg.

                The single-leg bridge will help strengthen your glutes which are crucial for running power and stride strength.

                5. Standing Calf Raises

                This is a simple exercise but one that is very important for strengthening the calves. The stronger they are, the less fatigue you will experience during running. You will need to find an elevated step or platform for this exercise.

                Stand on the platform with your heels hanging off the edge. Find something stable to hold on to for balance and start by lower your heels down until you feel a stretch in the back of your calves. Then, stand upwards like you are trying to see over a fence. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

                6. Arch Lifting

                You will start out standing with your feet directly under your hips, and this is best done without shoes. You will rotate the arch of your foot upward while keeping your toes and heels in contact with the ground.

                Don’t let your toes tighten and you want to hold for a few seconds at the top before returning to the ground. You can do 3 sets of 10 repetitions and this is going to help strengthen the arches of your feet.

                The stronger your arches are the better it is to keep your running stride strong and prevent less fatigue in the feet.

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                7. Half-Kneel Hip Flexor Stretch

                Strong hips are paramount for running and the hip flexors can easily become strained and overused. This exercise will help to strengthen them and provide more power and stability while running. You will start kneeling with one foot forward and the other knee bent underneath the hip.

                Keep your abs tight, your back straight, and shift your body weight forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your hips. Hold this for 20 to 30 seconds before switching over to the other leg.

                8. Alternating Lunges

                These are going to develop power and strength in your quads and glutes to help give you a more powerful stride. You will start standing with your hands on your hips looking straight out in front of you.

                Step forward with your right leg and lower down just before your opposite knee touches the ground. Then, push through your heel to return to the standing position before performing the lunge with your left leg. Alternate between the right and left leg so that each one has done 10 reps and you can perform 3 sets of this.

                9. Jump Squats

                These can be done just with your bodyweight and help to develop explosive power in the lower body. The jump squat is handy for when you have to run hills and need more power for harder stretches of your run.

                The best way is to start in a squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart. You will drive through the heels of your feet and explode upwards. As your bodyweight brings you back to the ground, control your weight as you go back into the squat position to fully engage the muscles.

                Make sure not to let your knees move inwards and keep your abs tight, your head up, and your chest out. Aim for 3 sets of 10 reps.

                10. Skater Hops

                This will help to build leg and core strength, along with improving balance. You will start standing upright but then bending the knees slight like you’re about to sit down. You will then drive off your right foot, jumping a few feet out to the left.

                You will land on your left foot while your right foot swings behind your left leg. Then, drive off the left foot using the momentum of your right foot swinging back to land back on it. You will keep doing these side hops for ten times each leg and the motion should look like a speed skater shifting side to side.

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                11. Bulgarian Split Squat

                This will be similar to the lunges but, will really ramp up the resistance for the quads and is a great strength training exercise for runners. You are going to need an elevated surface or bench to stand in front of. The starting position will be standing upright with your head up and hands on your hips.

                Start with your right foot behind you supported by the bench. You will start by lowering your hips to drops your left leg down to around a 90-degree angle, stopping just before your right knee hits the ground.

                Next, push up through the heel until you are back at the starting position and perform ten reps, under control, before you switch over to the right leg. Perform 3 sets of this.

                To make this even tougher, you can hold dumbbells in your hands hanging at your sides.

                12. Arabesque

                These will help in activating and controlling your hips. You will start off by standing on one leg, hands on your hips, and making sure your hips are level and balanced. You can then put your arms out to the side to give you more balance.

                Start by tipping your torso forward as your non-weight-bearing leg extends out behind you. You can slightly bend your knee to help with control and you want to have your back and extended leg as level as possible. You should end up basically parallel to the floor with your shoulder, hip, and ankle should be in a straight line.

                When you’ve gone as far forward as you can, return to the starting position and perform 8 repetitions before switching to the other leg.

                Perform 2 to 3 sets. These are all about quality over quantity so if you can only do 4 or 5, that’s fine.

                13. Hip Bridge

                This is another great exercise to target the glutes which are the source of your running power. Start by lying on the ground with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. Squeeze your glutes and then lift your hips up towards the ceiling.

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                Your hips, knees, and shoulders should be in a straight line. Hold at the top for a second and then lower back down under control. Perform this 12 times and then, you can do 3 sets. If these get easier, you can hold a weight across your stomach for more resistance.

                14. Push-Ups

                A classic exercise, and for good reason. As much as you want to focus your strength training on the lower body, you can’t neglect your upper body. Your arms are helping drive and propel you while running and a strong upper body helps with your overall balance and stability.

                You can start laying facedown on the ground with your palms facing downwards and elbows tucked into your sides. Focus on pushing through the heel of your palms upward, stopping just before your elbows lock out. Lower back down under control and stop just before your chest touches the ground.

                Focus on keeping the elbows tucked into your side and avoid having them flail outwards. You can perform 10 reps for 3 sets of these.

                15. Squat to Overhead Press

                This is a full-body motion that works a majority of muscles, builds power, explosiveness, and coordination. You will need two dumbbells and you will start standing, feet shoulder-width apart, with the dumbbells, held up by your shoulders – palms facing forward.

                Send your hips back and lower down into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. As you stand up, press the dumbbells overhead and return them to the starting position. Go for 10 reps and three sets.

                The Bottom Line

                As much as you’d like to, you can’t be running all the time. It can lead to overuse, injuries and burnout. The perfect way to offset this is with strength training, making sure you perform your training with proper form and technique, avoiding mistakes which can lead to injury.

                There are many other strength exercises such as the deadlift, which works the back and leg muscles which are vital for running economy improvement and injury prevention.[2] These exercises will make you a more efficient and resilient runner allowing you to improve your distances and times.

                Even if you’ve been against strength training for runners, you can see now how it’s necessary in order to improve your overall running ability and performance.

                Featured photo credit: Stage 7 Photography via unsplash.com

                Reference

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