Are you searching for that tip, trick or that proven secret that will show you how to create killer abs? I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, ‘Abs are made in the kitchen.’ If you’re like me, you’re thinking two things: 1) how does that help me, and 2) what exactly does it mean? For anyone looking for the Holy Grail of shaping abs, this probably won’t fit your bill.
What Does ‘Abs Are Made in the Kitchen’ Mean?
In a nutshell, it means no amount of sit-ups, reverse crunches or lower leg lifts themselves is going to produce the rock hard abs the athletic trainers and fitness models proudly share. If you want to show off your own washboard abs, in addition to the side bends and sit ups, you have to get rid of the fat that’s covering them up. The big question is ‘how?’ That’s where the kitchen comes in. The truth is body fat is body fat. Reducing fat from your abs is part of reducing the overall fat from your body.
If you’ve ever thought about dieting in the past, you’ve probably heard more than your fair share about counting calories, cutting carbs, eating fat, not eating fat – among other things – that are all supposed be the best way to lose weight. In order to better understand how to lose weigh, be sure to take a look at the different ways you can gain weight.
Constructing Your Abs
Here are a few things to keep in mind to help reduce the layers of unwanted fat from the rock hard abs you’re creating:
1. Calories count!
In order to lose weight you need to create a caloric deficit. This means you need to take in fewer calories than you burn. Once you consume 3,500 fewer calories than your body burns, you lose 1 pound.
NOTE: Be mindful of calories, even if they’re in healthy foods. Some heart healthy mixed nuts may contain a good amount of protein and low net carbs, but they can also contain more than 150 calories per serving. Nutritious and delicious, but don’t forget the calories. They must be included in your total caloric goal for the day.
Whether you count calories yourself, or use an eating plan that does it for you, knowing the number and type of calories you consume plays a crucial role in reducing weight.
2. Control Portion Sizes
According to Harvard’s Women’s Health Watch, “Increased portion sizes have paralleled the rise in overweight and obesity in the United States.” When we learn what a serving size is for the different foods we eat, we start to get a clearer picture of the nutritional information contained in that portion size for those foods.
3. Watch Your Carbs
Another way to get a handle on those extra pounds is by controlling your carb intake. Carbs are your body’s primary fuel source. When you eat carbs, your body converts them to glucose (sugar) to be immediately used by your muscles, cells and brain. When you eat more carbs than your body needs, sugar levels in your blood increase, causing your pancreas to produce insulin. This allows your cells to absorb the excess glucose for short-term storage in your muscles and liver as glycogen.
Once your muscles and liver are full of glycogen, the excess sugar is stored as fat to be used later. Unfortunately for many, later never seems to come.
The modified and low carb eating plans focus on cutting carb intake to help reduce glucose in the blood and stored glycogen in the muscles and liver. Once these levels have been depleted, your body switches to its secondary fuel system and begins burning the stored fat for fuel, while converting fat into ketones to be used as fuel for the brain.
NOTE: Many foods contain carbs. You may know that fruits contain carbs, but did you know that most vegetables contain carbs too?
4. Work all the muscles that contribute to a strong core
Because fat cells spread throughout the entire body, there’s no way to spot reduce abs. And while flat or washboard abs look good by themselves, the best way to tighten your abs is by committing to a complete workout routine that includes upper and lower abs, obliques, and hip flexors (yes hip flexors)..
- Counting calories, which helps create a caloric deficit
- Controlling food and drink portions and
- Watching carb intake to help reduce fat.
While a well-rounded core routine plays a huge role, those abs you’ve worked so hard to tighten will never shine unless you start in the kitchen.