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5 Reasons Your Abs Aren't Showing

Five Common Reasons Most gym goers are struggling with belly fat despite the hundreds of crunches they do every day. Some spend hours in the gym working their abs and yet, the results aren't showing. Strong, well-defined abs are considered a sign of health and fitness. Unfortunately, these muscles are usually covered by subcutaneous fat. Clean eating is the only way to shed those stubborn pounds and get six pack abs. Here are five common reasons why most people have a hard time building perfect abs: Too Much Body Fat In general, women have to go below 14 to 16 percent body fat for the abs to really pop. Men should aim for less than 10 percent body fat. Crunches and sit-ups alone are not enough for reducing fat body fat levels to such degree. What it takes is a clean diet combined with strength training and high intensity exercise. Most meals should be low in carbs and high in protein from lean meat, fish, and leafy greens. It's no need to train seven days per week, eat fancy foods, or use fat burners. Diet is the key to ripped abs. Trying to Spot Reduce Another common mistake that keeps those abs from showing off is trying to spot reduce. It's impossible to crunch off the fat covering these muscles. Ab training has its role, but most people simply overdo it. The only way to shed belly fat is to gradually burn it off from the whole body through diet, HIIT, and heavy lifting. Spot reduction is just a myth. The abs are just any other muscle, so they need time to recover from exercise. Ideally, these muscles should be trained once every three days or two times per week. Not Lifting Weights This ab training mistake is common among women. Most ladies spend hours on the stationary bike or the treadmill, but ignore strength training. Cable pull-downs, cable crunches, deadlifts, squats, dumbbell swings, bent-over barbell rows, and push-ups are more effective for ab work than any cardio routine. Heavy lifts strengthen the core muscles, increase metabolism, and boost testosterone levels, which helps torch fat. Eating the Wrong Foods Creating a calorie deficit is not enough for getting shredded abs. Protein, carbs, and fats - the three macronutrients - are processed differently by the body based on meal timing, workout intensity, metabolism, and other factors. A diet high in carbs but low in calories will be less effective for building abs compared to a low carb, high protein diet that provides more calories. Sugar and carbs increase blood sugar levels and trigger insulin spikes. Unless they are used for immediate energy, the extra carbs are stored as fat. Fat and protein, on the other hand, have a negligible impact on blood sugar. Those trying to lose belly fat should load up on protein and cut down on carbs. Also, it's important to choose whole foods and avoid fattening ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup and trans fats. Skimping on Sleep Researchers have linked sleep deprivation to a higher risk of obesity and weight gain. Poor sleep increases the stress hormone cortisol levels, which promotes fat storage in the abdominal area. Moreover, cortisol lowers testosterone and growth hormone levels, triggers hunger pangs, and lowers energy expenditure throughout the day. When it comes to building a six pack, rest is just as important as diet and exercise.
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