Recently, we got a question from Ana about how to work on your abs. She was wondering whether it was true that she should first focus on cardio in order to lose some fat around the belly and avoid ab exercises until then. Since the tummy is the most common area that we women worry about, I dived into Ana’s question and discovered the 3 pillars for rockhard abs.
The ugly truth
Although we would really love it for this to be true, you can’t only target your abdominal area during a work out and expect to have a sixpack in a couple of months. Consider it part of the abfairy myth – your body doesn’t work that way. What you can do however, is work your entire body (in different ways, let me come to that later) and enjoy the results. But it’s not only exercising that paves the way to killer abs. It’s much more than that.
Food, cardio and strength
I went to our own Fit Girl Chris for advice, after all, she has the hardest abs in town. She told me that she actually did not even target her abs in particular, but that they came with the entire package of a healthy lifestyle. Chris combined eating healthy, doing cardio and working her ass off in strength training and there they were: the desired-by-many-rockhard-abs. So to answer Ana’s question directly: there is no need to focus on cardio only until you have lost whatever you want to lose. Start with the complete picture: cut the crap out of your daily eating routine and start eating the right foods, do regular cardio workouts, but also engage in strength training. Even though you won’t be able to actually see your abs until the fluffy parts of your tummy are gone, you should still work on them in the process. You don’t have to do only your abs in particular – train your entire body, because your abs are mostly getting trained with other exercises too.
Besides the fact that strength training makes you fit instead of skinny, building muscle helps speed up your metabolism. When you’re lifting weights in the gym, you’re building muscles that need energy – more energy than usual. This means that even if you are on the couch after a heavy workout, you’re still burning through calories and energy. These same muscles will also be burning more while you’re going for your cardio work out, so losing weight will also go faster if that’s your goal. You see how you are winning here? Now eat healthy food and you are well on your way to a set of awesome abs.
Every body is different
Although it worked for Chris, do remember that every body is different. She didn’t need to target her abs in particular, but it might be the case for you that you need to do some extra in order to get your abs. And then there is a gene factor to take into account: some abs will be more visible than others. They all have a slightly different shape or definition. Don’t take someone else as your example and say: “I want exactly that”. Your body works in its own ways, so appreciate that and find a way that works best for you.
And remember, if you need a little help to start working on those abs, check out the #FITGIRLCODE ab challenge! Good luck!