There are eleventy trillion threads up right now concerning abs, so I thought I would put something together.

First in the box… DIET IS KEY. Eat too much you gain weight. Eat too little you will stall. To loose body fat efficient and effectively your caloric intake for the day should be 300-500 calories less than the total amount of calories you burn in a day. This includes BMR and exercise.

For example if your BMR is 2500 and your workout/cardio burns 500 your total caloric expenditure for the day is 3000. I think where a lot of guys/girls stall is they cut 3-500 from their BMR and don’t factor in the extra calories burned through exercise. So taking a BMR of 2500 minus 500 is 2000. BUT b/c of exercise/cardio you burn roughly 3000 calories total, leading to a 1000 calorie deficit. Which IMO is too much.

Second… Cardio. What type? When? How Long?

Traditionally there are two types of cardio endurance/steady pace or HIIT. There are many different types of cardio, the key is finding something you like and will do, then sticking w/ it. If you don’t like to run, don’t run. Bike, jump rope, swim, use the stair stepper/ climber, or elliptical machine. Go for a hike, pick up basketball game, flag football, tennis, whatever. Just get your body moving and get your heart rate up.

IMO endurance should be done first thing in the morning (30-60 min*) or after a workout (30-45 min*). Whichever time you choose you should be moving at a pace that you can carry on a conversation, w/o a lot of trouble spitting 4, 5, 6 words out at a time.

High Intensity Interval Training is just that. It’s a cardio session going from a relatively high level of intensity for x amount of time, to a low level for x amount of time. I say x amount b/c the possibilities are virtually limitless. The effects of HIIT come after not during the workout, therefore (IMO) an HIIT session should be treated just like a weight lifting session; complete w/ pre and PWO meals/ shakes. HIIT can be done first thing in the morning, but I would advise some type of protein and carb to limit catabolic effects of the workout. Time limits vary from 15 to 45 min*.

Third… weights. High sets and reps do not mean you are going to become more cut, ripped, shredded or whatever you might call it. High sets and reps will build endurance in the muscle, but just b/c you’re doing 10 different lifts, w/ a repxset of 5×10 on each lift, doesn’t mean you’re going to drop body fat. You can lower your body fat using just about any workout routine. I think the key is the amount of time you rest in-between sets. So, pick a program you like and will perform, then try to keep your rest times to 60-90 seconds. On compound moves (e.g. squat, bench, deads, cleans) you might want to take 90-120 seconds, but for the most part keep your body moving and keep the heart rate up.
Also, if you’re workout doesn’t include super/tri/giant sets, make it where it does. For example if on shoulder day your workout calls for db front raises and db lat raises, combine them into a super set. Or on arm day go back and forth between two or three lifts (i.e. tri presses, db curls, kick backs). The important part is keeping the routine intense.

Fourth…. ab training. Abs are a muscle, meaning they need time to recover and rest. Working them two or three times per week is enough. If you already have a low bf%, but still don’t have the six pack you desire, add resistance (i.e. weight) to your ab routine. Other wise be more concerned w/ your diet and cardio.

Hope this helps.

*Depending on workout intensity and total time already spent lifting.

The above will not work for everyone. Everyone is different and should find what works for them. For more concise answers consult a dietician and personal trainer.

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