Most men and women have to lose at least half their body fat for their abs to show and get the six pack.
Acccording to the American Council on Exercise, a 1 % body fat loss per month is safe and achievable.
Given that percentage, it could take a woman with average body fat about 20 to 26 months to achieve the appropriate amount of fat loss for six pack abs. The average man would need about 15 to 21 months.
To get a six pack, you need to understand the basics of the abdominal muscles, their position and the task of them.
The rectus abdominis is the large muscle in the mid-section of the abdomen.
It enables the tilt of the pelvis and the curvature of the lower spine.
Next to it on both sides of the body is the internal oblique.
This wide muscle helps to rotate the spine, increases pressure within the abdomen (needed for certain functions such as defecating), and assists with breathing movements.
It stretches from the front of the abdomen to the back of the torso.
Most people have abdominal muscles veiled by a layer of fat.
Some of it is near the surface of the skin (subcutaneous fat). Some of it is deep within the abdominal cavity itself (visceral fat).
The more fat you have, the longer it will take to shed it and then to showcase six-pack abs.
The major muscle in the abdomen responsible for that washboard appearance is the rectus abdominis as mentioned above.
It’s a long, flat band of fibers that extends vertically from the pubic bone to under the ribs.
It lies over the internal organs and functions to help hold these organs in their proper place.
It’s a divided muscle with a right and a left half that run parallel to each other.
Each half is divided into three segments by connective tissue.
These six bands of connective tissue are what give the abdomen its six pack appearance.
Your six pack won’t be visible if it’s hidden under layers of fat and no matter how well toned it is.
About 10 % of fat is the visceral variety.
This fat lies beneath the abdominal wall and in the spaces that envelop the intestines and liver.
Experts’ point of view
According to the Healthline.com :
“Doing targeted exercises like crunches is great for toning abdominal muscles, but losing both subcutaneous and visceral fat is the first step to unearthing your abs.”
Thus, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) remarks, that you’ll need to lower your body fat to about 14 to 20 percent for women and 6 to 13 percent for men. On a scale used by ACE, this is known as the “athletes” category.
Even then, some people don’t have the genetic makeup necessary for six pack abs. That’s because they may have thicker skin and tissue surrounding the rectus abdominis, making it harder for ripped abs to show.
Also, there are people, who have asymmetrical or angled tendons crossing over the rectus abdominis, making their abs look less like a washboard.
Tips to get a six pack
Training your abdominal muscles with targeted exercises will help to strengthen and shape them.
– if you cut calories from your daily diet, you can lose regularly weight every week. The calorie cutting depends on wether you are exercising or not. The recommended calorie cut when not exercising is 500 calories and when working out and the training burns 250 calories, then you must reduce only 250 calories.
INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF PROTEIN –
adequate protein, whether it’s in the form of supplements or food, does play a role in the growth, repair and maintenance of muscle.
The amount of protein you need depends on a variety of factors such as your age and sex as well as the amount and type of exercise you do.
Protein powders aren’t necessarily higher in protein than some other foods, like chicken, beef, turkey, legumes, nuts, and certain dairy products like Greek yogurt.
With weight loss you also lose lean muscle.
To help maintain muscle mass, it’s important to consume adequate amounts of protein.
Aim for roughly 1 to 1.5 grams for every two pounds you weigh.
That translates into more than 90 grams of protein — 30 grams per meal, per day for a 150-pound person.
DO HIIT –
High-intensity work intervals rely on anaerobic glycolysis to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the chemical used for energy, from glycogen without oxygen.
Anaerobic glycolysis helps muscle cells become more efficient at metabolizing carbohydrates and helps reduce the abdominal fat.
Cardiorespiratory endurance indicates how well our body can supply fuel during physical activity via the body’s circulatory and respiratory systems. Activities that help improve cardiorespiratory endurance are those that cause an elevated heart rate for a sustained period.
These activities include:
- brisk walking
DO RESISTANCE TRAINING –
Resistance training (also called strength training or weight training) is the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, anaerobic endurance and size of skeletal muscles.
Resistance training is based on the principle that muscles of the body will work to overcome a resistance force when they are required to do so.
When you do resistance training repeatedly and consistently, your muscles become stronger.
A well-rounded fitness program includes strength training to improve joint function, bone density, muscle, tendon and ligament strength, as well as aerobic exercise to improve your heart and lung fitness, flexibility and balance exercises.
It is recommended to do the resistance training at least 2 days in a week.
Different types of resistance training include:
- free weights – classic strength training tools such as dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells
- medicine balls or sand bags – weighted balls or bags
- weight machines – devices that have adjustable seats with handles attached either to weights or hydraulics
- resistance bands – like giant rubber bands – these provide resistance when stretched. They are portable and can be adapted to most workouts. The bands provide continuous resistance throughout a movement
- suspension equipment – a training tool that uses gravity and the user’s body weight to complete various exercises
- your own body weight – can be used for squats, push-ups and chin-ups. Using your own body weight is convenient, especially when travelling or at work.
One of the health benefits of the resistance training is weight management and increased muscle-to-fat ratio – as you gain muscle, your body burns more calories when at rest.
Resistance training consists of various components. Basic principles include:
- program – your overall fitness program is composed of various exercise types such as aerobic training, flexibility training, strength training and balance exercises
- weight – different weights or other types of resistance, for example a 3 kg hand weight or fixed weight, body weight or rubber band will be used for different exercises during your strength training session
- exercise – a particular movement, for example a calf-raise, is designed to strengthen a particular muscle or group of muscles
- repetitions or reps – refers to the number of times you continuously repeat each exercise in a set
- set – is a group of repetitions performed without resting, for example, two sets of squats by 15 reps would mean you do 15 squats then rest muscles before doing another 15 squats
- rest – you need to rest between sets. Rest periods vary depending on the intensity of exercise being undertaken
- variety – switching around your workout routine, such as regularly introducing new exercises, challenges your muscles and forces them to adapt and strengthen
- progressive overload principle – to continue to gain benefits, strength training activities need to be done to the point where it’s hard for you to do another repetition. The aim is to use an appropriate weight or resistant force that will challenge you, while maintaining good technique. Also, regular adjustments to the training variables, such as frequency, duration, exercises for each muscle group, number of exercises for each muscle group, sets and repetitions, help to make sure you progress and improve
- recovery – muscle needs time to repair and adapt after a workout. A good rule of thumb is to rest the muscle group for up to 48 hours before working the same muscle group again.
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