It sounds counter-intuitive, but the best place to build your six pack is not in the gym. Endless reps of sit ups, crunches, planks, and Russian twists will strengthen your ab muscles and give you a solid core, but they won't make your six pack pop. So if not in the gym, where are six packs made?
The simple answer is: Abs are made in the gym. Six packs are made in the kitchen. If you want the classic defined six pack abs with the nice, thick crack down the middle, and individual, ripped muscle pads, you will need to pay careful attention to your diet.
Smashing reps at the gym or on your home ab machines is all well and good, but unless you get your body fat down to about 10-12% for men or 16-18% for women, you won't even begin to see the results through your belly fat. So to help, we have rounded up the 5 best superfoods to add to your diet to get that body fat down and those six pack abs showing.
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, arugula, and chard are one of the most powerful foods in the fight against belly fat. They are an excellent source of nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamin C, and are packed with fiber. Bloating and constipation are a true enemy of the six pack, so the more fiber you can get, the better your muscles will pop. Add them to your post exercise protein shakes for a quick and easy way to get the into your system, or throw them into your salads and soups at meal times.
Put simply, you don't build muscle if you don't eat enough protein. However, a lot of high protein foods can also be high in calories and fat, which won't help you to get your body fat percentage down low enough to expose your rectus abdominis (the main six pack muscles). That's where eggs come in. They are a low calorie, high quality protein source that you can add to almost any meal to help you achieve your macros while still cutting your calories. You do have to be a little careful because they can be quite high in cholesterol, but research shows that eating between 6 - 12 eggs per week should have no adverse effects on your cholesterol. As an added bonus they are also very high in zeaxanthin and lutein, two antioxidants that are good for your eyesight. This means you'll be able to get a better look at your new ripped abs!
Need a little help with healthy eating? We've done the research for you.
Top 3 Ab Diet Helpers
Berries are another super powerful food that are relatively easy to sneak into your diet without too much adjustment. Berries contain a lot of antioxidants, which will help keep you healthy so you don't have to miss any gym days or workout sessions because you are under the weather. They are also an amazing source of fiber, minerals, and various vitamins that will keep your digestive system in good working order and give your muscles everything they need to grow big and strong. Try adding raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, or blackberries to your protein shake for a delicious, effective post workout energy replenishment. You can also add them to your cereal or pancakes at breakfast if you have a sweet tooth early in the morning.
Simply replacing you current unhealthy snacks with a pot of high quality Greek yogurt will do wonders for your ab muscle definition. A small, 5 ounce pot of Greek yogurt will give you 15 grams of protein (as much as some post workout shakes) for only 80 calories. It is also packed full of probiotic bacteria which will help to keep your digestive system in perfect working order, meaning no more bloating. You can also add it to your breakfast routine or other meals by replacing dairy such as milk on your cereal with 100 grams of Greek yogurt. This small act will increase your protein intake, while decreasing your calories, fats, sugars, and other things that are not helpful to achieving your dream core and ab shape.
This one really should go without saying, but we have to say it anyway. If you want a healthy body, strong muscles, and a ripped physique, you need to drink plenty of water. The minimum you should be aiming for is 8 eight ounce glasses of fresh water per day (that's about 2 liters), and that's before you factor in sweat loss from all that exercise you are doing to get buff. Other than just being for hydration, water is also essential to manage bloating, which you need to keep under control if you want your six pack to be visible. Water also helps to flush toxins from your body, keeps your skin looking healthy and if you take it warm, can be used to keep hunger away until your next meal. If you are struggling to get your 8 a day, set a reminder on your google calendar, and keep a large bottle handy by your desk at work, in your living room, or any other place you spend a lot of time.
The Final Verdict
Getting a ripped six pack isn't easy, but it is all the more difficult if you are not keeping a close eye on what you put into your body. All the sit ups in the world will do no good if you are not controlling your diet. Add high protein, high fiber, low fat and calorie foods to your diet to help your six pack abs pop. Remember to drink lots of water too. Hydration is the secret key to muscle definition.