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How to Get “Six Pack” Abs

How to Get “Six Pack” Abs

Six pack abs are the symbol of fitness for many people, and just like all fitness indicators, they are obtainable for anyone who is willing to put in the effort. All of the abdominal muscles are there; they just aren’t developed enough to pop, and are often hidden under a layer of fat. So, in order to have defined muscular abs, you need to drop fat and gain muscle. Here are a few ways to get the waist you want:

Eat Right

Eating the right foods is crucial to building muscle and dropping the shroud of fat covering it. When you reduce the processed foods, sugar, soda, sodium, and carbs, and increase eating whole foods, fruits, and vegetables, you allow your body to drop water weight and adipose (fat) tissue covering your definition. You also reduce internal bloating and pressure that can cause abdominal swelling. Without the right meal plan, it’s difficult to achieve and maintain a tight torso.

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Reduce Body Fat

You can do a million sit-ups a day, but if you don’t take off the wrapping, people will never see the work. Fat is the enemy when your goal is muscle definition. Eating clean, reducing calories, not eating late at night, and drinking enough water are all ways to reduce your body’s hold on fat. Also, adequate sleep and removing stress from your life helps to reduce the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that causes your body to store more fat and crave calorie-rich comfort foods. Remember, there is no way to spot train to reduce fat from just your stomach area—any weight-loss tool that makes this claim should be viewed with skepticism. Your body will drop weight from every area simultaneously, not just your abs.

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Increase Abdominal Muscle Through Weights and Core Work

Increasing the size of your abdominal muscles through anaerobic weight training while decreasing fat will produce the six pack of your dreams. Anaerobic means “without oxygen,” and is generally an exercise with enough intensity to cause lactic acid fermentation, which helps build muscle. There are many core exercises  that will help you achieve this: You will see results from incorporating hand weights, gym equipment, or simply body-weight exercises. While sit-ups are the go-to exercise, you can also do planks, push-ups, leg lifts, and pull-ups, which work your entire core. Also, increasing muscle in your back to match your abs will ensure that you maintain proper posture. Don’t forget the obliques, which will frame your waist when toned. Do twisting exercises either on the gym machine or on the mat with weights. Increasing over-all muscle will speed up your metabolism, which will help you maintain your six-pack.

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Utilize Cardio

A great way to drop weight so you can see those strong stomach muscles is through cardiovascular training. When you invest in cardio, you burn calories, strengthen your circulatory system, increase your endurance, and kick-start your metabolism. Cardio is just another way to say aerobic training; meaning “living in air.” It refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism. Cardio can include bike riding, dancing, running, rowing, or climbing stairs. One of my favorite cardio exercises to increase abdominal strength is swimming, which works the entire body. The butterfly stroke and dolphin kicks on the kick board are both great exercises to target the abdominal muscles.

Invest in Circuit and Interval Training

The most effective training program utilizes both endurance cardio with interval and circuit training. Interval training involves periods of high-intensity exercise with rest periods. Think of a sprint workout where you run 400 meters at an intense pace, then rest for two minutes before doing it again. Interval training straddles both sides of cardio endurance work. While with cardio, you may perform at 60% effort for an hour, in interval training you perform at 95% effort for a few minutes before allowing yourself a recovery rest period. Interval training is thought to be even more effective than sustained cardio for fat loss, as its intensity spikes your body’s fat-burning activity to a higher level. Exercise programs utilizing circuit training, which is a form of interval training that adds in weights and resistance exercises, seem to be the most effective for building muscle and definition.

As you can see, getting six pack abs isn’t easy, but it’s well worth the effort once obtained. While your primary goal may be to have a striking physique for your beach vacation, the investment you make in your body to obtain this will bring you to a new level of fitness and overall vitality. I guess great abs really are a great indicator of all-around fitness and health!

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More by this author

Sarah Hansen

A corporate-sales professional turned entrepreneur

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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