- Manage your stress! Stress may be the biggest factor preventing you from attaining washboard abs. There is a vast amount of literature in functional medicine that shows a correlation between elevated stress and the accumulation of belly fat. Our cortisol receptor sites are located on our umbilicus and completing hundreds of crunches every day will not counteract the stress in your life when trying to attain a well defined abdominis.
Let’s examine all the areas of daily stress. It is safe to say that modern Americans have 100 times more stress today than previous generations. Monitoring human behavior for over 15 years has been eye opening, especially in terms of electronic usage. People are always connected to their smartphone, watches, rings, computers, etc. These devices have shown to be a huge stressor as they prevent us from disconnecting and recharging. Have you ever wondered why you are always looking to check your phone, even when it isn’t on you? Smartphones have a way of rewiring our brain and are designed to be extremely addictive due to their effect on dopamine receptors.
The modern American diet is another stressor. Processed and fast foods have no benefit to getting leaner, healthier and stronger. These foods increase inflammation and make us fat, especially around the middle. Eating foods that can be hunted, fished, gathered or plucked is essential when trying to achieve abs of steel.
Finally, sleep quality is yet another stressor that can contribute to fat accumulation around the umbilicus. You will not achieve six pack abs if you do not sleep well. Poor sleep is often linked to electronic usage in the evening along with a poor bedtime routine. If you want to sleep well you must begin preparing for a good night of rest hours before getting into bed.
- Include compound lifts in your weekly resistance training program! Squats, deadlifts, chin ups and presses force the core to be braced under load and will create the most metabolic disturbance in the body, which accelerates fat loss. When doing direct core work, strive to find exercises that you cannot do more than 10 repetitions of during a set. Our abs are primarily made up of fast twitch muscle fibers which respond best to high intensity exercises. A high intensity exercise is not 100 crunches but rather an exercise that is very difficult to do for 8-10 reps. You want multiple low rep sets if you desire impressive looking abs. Some of my favorite exercises are: hanging garhammers, incline garhammers, Swiss ball jack knives, hanging leg raises and the ab wheel.
- Lastly, add one to two days of sprint training per week to your weekly strength training program. If you are physically capable, adding weekly sprint work is one of the fastest ways to lose belly fat. 100% effort for 10-20 seconds, using a 1:6 work:rest ratio. If you sprint for 10 seconds, rest 60 seconds between sets. If you sprint for 20 seconds, rest for 120 seconds between sets. Complete 10-15 sets. If you are using maximum effort, you should not be able to do much more than 15 sets. Be sure to warm up thoroughly before performing sprint work.
I would love to meet you for a free consultation to discuss your goals, health and exercise history, limitations and your biggest obstacles. Use the link below to schedule an appointment. If you are unable to find a time, please text or call the office at 616-259-9064.
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