Six Pack Abs & Flat Stomachs

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I hear the question all the time. How Do I get abs?

I hear the complaint all the time. I just want abs!

So..I am here to share some tips on how to flatten that stomach first…and then perhaps when the dust is settled showcase a nice set of abdominals.

Tip # 1

Skip crunches. I know that sounds bat shit crazy, but seriously don’t waste your time. Working your core is very important, but crunching it up is not going to shred fat and build abs. Spend that time lifting weights or with cardio.

Tip # 2

Lower your body fat. Here is the real key to abs. The girl next to me who can do 1000 crunches will never have a six pack if she never has a body fat lower than lets just say 14-15%. Healthy range, is 21-25% for women. You’re probably like shit…for starters what the… is my body fat? Secondly, if it’s considered unhealthy thennn…that doesn’t make sense. Having abs can actually be considered unhealthy for women, because having that low of body fat can be harmful to your overall health. See below for a more generic chart on body fats:

Women

Age Underfat Healthy Range Overweight Obese
20-40 yrs Under 21% 21-33% 33-39% Over 39%
41-60 yrs Under 23% 23-35% 35-40% Over 40%
61-79 yrs Under 24% 24-36% 36-42% Over 42%

Men

Age Underfat Healthy Range Overweight Obese
20-40 yrs Under 8% 8-19% 19-25% Over 25%
41-60 yrs Under 11% 11-22% 22-27% Over 27%
61-79 yrs Under 13% 13-25% 25-30% Over 30% 

OKAY so thats helpful *shrugs*…. Now this is a chart based on “fitness people’s” definition of body fat percentages

WOMEN:
Competition Shape (“ripped”): 8-12%
Very Lean (excellent): < 15%
Lean (good): 16-20%
Satisfactory (fair): 21-25%
Improvement needed (poor): 26-30%
Major improvement needed (Very poor): 31-40%+

MEN:
Competition Shape (“ripped”): 3-6%
Very Lean (excellent): < 9%
Lean (good): 10-14%
Satisfactory (fair): 15-19%
Improvement needed (poor): 20-25%
Major improvement needed (Very poor): 26-30%+

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WHO IS CONFUSED? Ok…guys, i’ll be frank, if you keep a solid diet and work out its not completely crazy hard to get a strong six pack. Now for my girls…for us, its a challenge. You ever wonder why we have that “pooch” in our lower abdomen? That stubborn fat that just won’t go away…well, its protecting your reproductive organs. Kind of important, and probably why it’s hard to make it go away to a certain point. I know a lot of women who’s body fat gets so low they no longer have their menstrual period and then are we actually living healthy or just want a ripped stomach? Maintaining a six pack year round is actually extremely hard and sometimes not sustainable for women. It depends on your body type, on how your body responds to lower levels of body fat.

The key is balance. I think working out and fitness should be about building a better life, a better you, and if it so happens to aesthetically lead to a better physique, then great. The point of all those charts and percentages is to show you, that ab’s basically do depend on your body fat. Not how many crunches you do, not how much you bench, how much you squat, how many leg raises you can do. All of that can help strengthen your core, but if you aren’t losing body fat, the ab conversation has just left the conversation. If your body can handle it, go for 16-17% body fat to have a pretty visible six pack, and maintain it. Otherwise below 21% is going to keep your stomach nice and flat.

tip #3 

Clean up your diet. 

Abs are made in the kitchen. So cliche right. Well, I never really knew this until I actually began changing my diet a year ago. I was skinny and ate crappy food…but to build abs, proper nourishment, clean food becomes your biggest asset. Diet is a game changer. I have seen various samples of peoples diets on websites…1oz of almonds, 4oz chicken, 10 pieces of broccoli. Let’s not and say we did. I’m not necessarily big on weighing or measuring food because that is a bit much for me, if its your cup of tea go ahead. Some people need precision, and I say go right on ahead. The point is consistency. Eating clean foods everyday. It becomes routine. Here are some of my personal favorites when it comes to dietary options.

Good carbs: Sweet potatoes, whole grains, brown rice, ezekiel bread, vegetables, fruits.

Good proteins: chicken, wild caught fish, lean turkey, bison, flank steak

Good fats: cheese, nuts, oil, peanut butter occasionally.

Water Intake: I try to get in at least a gallon of water a day. It doesn’t make you bloated, if anything it keeps you lean. Don’t believe me, try the jug challenge. It’s not for the weak. If you are active, working out, a gallon is not too much to ask. I carry a jug around with me everywhere I go and I get the best looks. I think personally it makes up for my lack of actual jugs. And yes that shit is labeled.

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Tip # 4 

Lift Heavy. Lifting heavy is one of the best ways to build a six pack. To lift something that is heavy, requires that much more core strength, more core work, and thus, your workout is essentially an hour of doing abs, but you’re really not. Holy Rocket Science. Want crunch free abs, give heavy lifting a try. Hash tag mind blown.

Tip # 5 

Sprint. Every fitness person has their own stance on cardiovascular options. Some are slow and steady, some preach fasted cardio. Mine is this: If you are able, sprinting is the most effective AB exercise and BEST way to become lean and burn fat. Not to mention you can get into absolutely incredible shape. Start small, don’t lace up and think Usain Bolt is your cousin, lets prevent injuries. Work up to where you can increase the number of sprints you do, temper with your rest times, the key is spiking the heart rate. Thats the secret to burning fat. If you sprint for 20 seconds, rest 1 minute, and sprint again. Think of what that does to your heart. Its over there pumping like crazy. Shredding the fat away. I will swear by sprints forever.

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These are just a few tips I like to start off with because they can change your body just by implementing some of them into your daily routine. Give it some thought. You get what you give. 

Train Hard, Be happy

Steffi Sorensen Fitness

Steffi Sorensen Fitness

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4 thoughts on “Six Pack Abs & Flat Stomachs

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