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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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