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The IMPACT! Body Plan

Get 6-pack Abs

The following question was answered by Brett Klika, CSCS, Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10.

I do sit-ups every day, but I still don’t have “6- pack abs”. What exercises should I do to get a toned, ripped 6-pack?
Good news! Everyone has a 6-pack. If your abdominal muscles weren’t shaped in a grid like they are, bending over to tie your shoes would be almost impossible. The stiff wall of muscle with no creases to allow bending would keep you upright, and that’s it!

The fact of the matter is, if you cannot see your abdominal muscles, they are covered by a layer of fat! You can do sit-ups until you are blue in the face, but that won’t remove the layer of fat. If you want to be able to see your abdominal muscles, you need to get rid of the fat.

This is hands-down the most important part of fat loss, or any other body change. The fuel you give your body will determine how your body builds tissues, or stores the fuel as fat. We recommend that any client serious about losing body fat meets with a licensed nutritionist to determine the amount of calories they need for their activity level, and the types of food they should be eating.

Frequent, small meals
Frequent small meals don’t allow the body to go into starvation, and consequently fat storage mode. You tend to eat fewer calories throughout the day, are less tempted by “bad” foods, and have more consistent energy throughout the day.

Resistance Training
Resistance training for the entire body is essential in any fat-loss program. Resistance training increases the amount of muscle you have in comparison to the amount of fat you have. Muscle uses calories to maintain itself, fat doesn’t. The high muscle to fat ratio you have, the more calories you will burn in day-to-day activity. Make sure to include all parts of your body in a variety of movements in your program. Plan on about 2-4 days per week. This is where you make abdominal exercises a part of the program.  2-3 different exercises for a variety of reps (usually below 20-30) should be sufficient. Remember, these exercises will make a nice looking muscle when the fat disappears. See “sample workouts” for the some fun, effective abdominal routines, to be added to a resistance training day.

Cardiovascular training
Cardiovascular training increases the rate at which you burn fuel (calories) while you are doing that activity. You want to perform this type of activity 3-5 times per week. The key components of a cardiovascular program are going to be the duration (length of time) and intensity (how hard you are working). In regards to length of time or your cardiovascular exercise session, you want to aim for more than 20 minutes. Regardless of your intensity, it is usually going to take about this long to start burning any significant amount of calories. In regards to intensity, I recommend you buy a heart rate monitor (see our website store for Polar heart Rate monitors.) Intensity during exercise is measured by your heart rate. The faster your heart is beating, the harder you are working. If you exercise at too high of a rate, you won’t be able to maintain it for a long enough period of time, or you will dread your exercise session so severely, it won’t happen at all. If you don’t exercise at a high enough intensity, you’re wasting valuable time, and not getting the desired result of burning calories.
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