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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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Sarah Hansen

A corporate-sales professional turned entrepreneur

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Last Updated on May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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