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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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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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