Sep 15, 2010 10:39 PM
A buff belly, fab abs, a sizzling six-pack. You're here because you want abdominals that rock and if you're like the rest of us, you want them now.
OK, there's no such thing as instant abs, but with the dynamic duo of a healthy diet and a spare tire-smoking workout, how does four weeks to a better belly sound to you?
Can you really get fab abs in just one month? If by fab you mean a stomach that's tighter, more toned, and slimmer -- yes you can.
Fire up the following workout and cut some calories and you can reasonably lose a couple pounds a week, say the pros. In four weeks, that's a possible eight pounds, and "eight pounds of flab covers a lot of area," says Paul Frediani, ACSM, certified fitness coach, and co-author of Boot Camp Workout. Burn off eight pounds and "you will definitely be able to see and feel it."
But be smart. Before you can blaze through a few sets of these belly-busters you'll need to build up to it. And to do that, think about putting ab exercises at the front of your workout.
Most people tend to save ab work for last, says exercise physiologist Rich Weil, MEd, CDE, yet you'll "be fresher at the beginning of your workout and so you may get a superior response" working your abs when they're strongest.
Start easy with ab exercises, which can leave you in a world of hurt if you do too many too soon. Over time, you'll want to aim for 15-20 repetitions for most of these, with 3-5 sets.
Ab exercises aren't the A to Z of a buff belly, diet also plays a part. "Trying to achieve 'fab abs' by performing exercises and ignoring nutrition is like trying to bail out a sinking ship with a colander," Frediani tells WebMD.
That's because no matter how much you exercise your abdominals "spot reduction is a myth," says Frediani, adding that it would take more than 17,000 sit-ups to burn one pound worth of calories, with no guarantee that that pound would come from your abs. Chest, arms, legs, butt -- it's genetics that decides where you're prone to losing weight.
A better way to help burn calories while working on those fab abs, is with cardiovascular exercise: Think swimming, biking, walking, or jogging, combined with a sensible diet.
What's a sensible diet? No fads, no crazy weight loss plans, just focus on burning more calories than you take in. You can start doing that by eating lots of produce, and by enjoying whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy.
Get started now and guess what? In four weeks you could be well on the way to the best abs -- and the best body -- of your life.