Building a six-pack is never easy. It can take months of clean eating and hard training to get shredded abs. Contrary to popular belief, cardio isn't the answer. If it was that easy, everyone would have a ripped core. Ab exercises can help, but they're not enough to get the desired results. Remember that abs are made in the kitchen. Diet accounts for over 80 percent of your results. Ideally, your exercise routine should include a mix of heavy lifting and endurance training. Ab Exercises vs. Cardio
Now you might wonder whether you should spend more time doing cardio or emphasize core work. If you have to choose, go for cardio. For best results, train at high intensity. HIIT, plyometrics, and explosive bodyweight movements work both the aerobic and anaerobic systems, leading to fat loss. Ab exercises alone won't give you a six-pack
. Crunches, sit-ups, planks, and other core workouts can only strengthen your abs. However, they do little in terms of fat loss. First of all, your abs are covered in fat. Core exercises will tone these muscles but they won't reduce your fat levels. Secondly, ab work burns just a few calories. They're far less effective than high-intensity cardio or full body circuits. Thirdly, spot reduction is just a myth. It has never worked and will never work. You can do thousands of sit-ups and yet, have belly fat. Ab exercises work best for those who are already lean. At this point, they help build muscle definition. If your body fat levels are over 18-20 percent, it's unlikely to get visible results. To get your abs pop, finish your workout with HIIT, Tabata, or plyometrics. High intensity interval training (HIIT) builds muscle and burns fat. It's particularly effective against visceral fat, which accumulates in the abdominal region. In a study
, subjects who did two HIIT workouts and two steady state cardio workouts per week lose more inches from their waistline and more fat overall compared to those doing just traditional cardio. How to Get the Most Out of Your Ab Workout
The key to ripped abs is to lose body fat. This can be done by creating a daily caloric deficit. On top of that, you must lift weights to build and maintain muscle. Diet alone won't help you build a six-pack. If you’re doing ab exercises, add weights. For instance, you can hold a weight plate on your chest when doing crunches on the incline bench. Or you can use the crunch machine and increase the load gradually. This will boost your metabolism and force your core muscles to work harder. End your training session with 10-15 minutes of HIIT or sprinting. If you're overweight, add another 20-25 minutes of steady state cardio to the mix. Load up on protein and avoid carbs after 5 pm. For best results, eat your carbs before and after exercise. Stick to healthy fats and lean protein later in the day. Once your abs get shredded, eat clean to maintain the results. Keep working hard in the gym and adjust your diet along the way. Limit sodium to prevent fluid retention. If your progress is too slow, ditch the grains and dairy.