What would you do to get visible abs?
Would you give up your favourite food?
Would you commit to working out at the gym every single day?
What Does It Take To Get Visible Abs?
Now I’m not saying you have to do either of those things. But the level of commitment that’s required is probably somewhere in that range for most people.
I’m going to talk about the changes that you can make if you are fully committed to having visible abs.
What Will You CHANGE To Get Visible Abs?
Many years ago I tried to advise a friend of a friend who is trying to lose his belly fat.
I started to make suggestions about things he could change in his lifestyle in order to reduce his calorie intake overall. In order to incorporate more protein in order to increase his calorie expenditure. Primarily through walking but then also a couple of weight training sessions each week.
And as soon as I started to make these suggestions I got a lot of resistance.
He liked to run errands after work so he didn’t have time to get to the gym. And he didn’t want to go to the gym beforehand because then he would be sweaty for work. He didn’t have time to take a shower.
He didn’t want to walk to work even a couple of times a week because he just preferred to take his car. There was his favourite sandwich at a place near his work, which happened to be the highest calorie item on the menu, but he didn’t like anything else there and he didn’t feel like bringing his lunch.
Each time I tried to make a suggestion I got pushed back about why he didn’t want to make that particular change.
Too Many Excuses
You could argue that some of those things are legitimate and maybe it’s inconvenient and it doesn’t fit in. But I just couldn’t find anything that he was willing to change in order to reach his goal of getting rid of his belly fat, I threw my arms up and said well, I can’t help you.
This is also the reason why I no longer just hand out free advice here and there. I only work with people who sign up for my coaching program.
If anyone is looking for free advice I just direct them here to my YouTube channel where you have over 200 videos that you can check out.
What Will YOU Do?
If you’re looking to get visible abs you need to be honest with yourself about whether you’re willing to make any sacrifices to achieve that goal.
Some people are and others aren’t.
And that’s fine.
Visible abs don’t really get you anything useful I mean you don’t have to have visible abs to be at a healthy body weight. You don’t have to have visible abs to be in good shape to be fit to be strong.
Why Do You Want Visible Abs?
It is a little bit of a vanity thing and that’s okay too. We all have our reasons for having these goals. All of that is totally legitimate.
But how important is that goal to you really?
Are you willing to sacrifice a little bit.
How To Know If You’re In Maintenance
Let’s assume that you’ve had the same amount of belly fat for two or three months it hasn’t gone up or down so that lifestyle that you’re currently living in terms of your physical activity. That includes your active exercise and the other stuff that you do including walking in your day. And all those nutrition decisions you’re making in terms of the quantity of food you’re eating the types of food that you’re eating if you haven’t seen any change in your belly fat for a certain period of time then you are running at maintenance this is your maintenance level of calories your maintenance level of activity.
Calorie Deficit For Visible Abs
In order to lose that belly fat you’re going to have to get yourself into a calorie deficit.
What does that mean you need to burn off more calories or take in fewer calories.
there is some benefit to adjusting your nutrition as well in order to account for things like protein and fiber because both of those nutrients have a higher TEF thermic effect of food protein is more thermogenic than fat or carbs so you are burning off slightly more calories by eating more protein.
The Role Of Weight Training In Visible Abs
I generally recommend at least two weight training sessions a week.
Your body fat percentage is the ratio of your fat to the lean tissue and that means muscle bones fluids blood all that other stuff some of which is changeable and some of which is not you want to get the lean tissue up as much as possible so in order to build muscle you’re going to need to do some strength training as well as taking in enough protein now that’s the muscle building side there’s not going to be that many calories burned from the actual workout itself you do get some EPOC. Excess post exercise oxygen consumption the extra calories that your body is using after you’ve done your workout. That’s a little bit greater for weight training than it is for cardio exercise but it’s not that huge anyway so don’t get worried about that.
Increasing Your Energy Expenditure
Now before I specifically talk about cardio exercise I want to discuss just increasing the overall calories that you’re burning over the course of the day it’s not necessarily just neat non-exercise activity thermogenesis refers to like small movements that you’re doing just as you’re moving around the difference between sitting and standing it can sometimes refer to how much you’re walking but normally we consider that part of the active exercise depending on the speed that you’re walking and if you’re walking just on a flat surface compared to if you’re hiking up a hill or something like that that’s going to be in that low intensity steady state cardio zone so you’re walking you’re burning off more calories but you know what really improving your cardio fitness.
Consistent cardio, about 30 minutes like three or four times a week, is pretty good.
My Cardio Routine
I love doing longer sessions of cardio on the weekend particularly in the summer.
I’m really into biking so we’ll either do the trails or I’ll take my son to the bike park and we’ll ride around there.
So that gives me the opportunity to get my heart rate up a little bit higher. I’ll pump it really hard up the kill and I can feel that when I get to the top my heart rate is right up. So it’s almost like an interval workout. High intensity interval training.
For me it’s more about just doing those activities that I enjoy and trying to use those to get a little bit fitter.
Exercise For Enjoyment And Not Just Calorie Burn
I am not the kind of person who will just get on the cross trainer at the gym and just be there for like half an hour to an hour thinking about how many calories I’m burning.
Probably 20 years ago I was that person. All I cared about was just burning those calories off. I would just listen to music and just keep working working.
Obviously that is still going to burn off calories but I really encourage you to find things that you enjoy physically that you can incorporate in your lifestyle without it feeling like torture.
What It Really Takes To Get Visible Abs
I’m not saying that that journey to getting visible abs is always going to be a picnic.
There will be periods where you have to do something that you’re not really in the mood for. And there will be times when you’re not going to be able to eat when you feel hungry or you feel a desire for a particular food.
But I think it’s best to build your system based on foods that you like to eat and activities that you enjoy.
That’s how you make it sustainable.
How To Stay Consistent
How can you decrease your intake of high calorie density treat foods, while still not being completely deprived all the time?
So always include a little bit of a treat.
I know for one of my clients I give him 200 calories of chocolate every day that he can have in order to make his nutrition plan more enjoyable for him. Because the rest of the day looks pretty much like lean protein and vegetables. So throwing that little bit of chocolate as a little bit of a reward.
I guess it’s just a change of mentality. I don’t have to suffer in order to get the result that I want. Sacrifice is one thing but then constantly suffering and struggling is another.
Finding Your Balance To Achieve Visible Abs
So it’s pretty much about finding your right balance.
Visible abs are a reflection of an ongoing commitment to nutrition and exercise.
Your calories out have to be sustainable for you. If you are a busy person you don’t have time to spend like an hour and a half in the gym every day.
You don’t need to. And in that case you have to shift the focus into calories in and you really have to be much more precise about how many calories you’re taking in.
Are you getting enough protein? And enough fat in order to keep your appetite stable so that you don’t have cravings later on in the day.
Because often those cravings will send you down the wrong path. You will start to overeat. You’ll go from depriving yourself and then overeating and depriving yourself and overeating. In the end you’re not going to see any loss of belly fat. You’re going to end up where you were before.
My Struggles With Visible Abs
I went through this for years and years probably a decade throughout my 20s. It was deprive, deprive, deprive, deprive, and then binge, binge, binge, binge, binge. And deprive and then binge. Then deprive and binge. It took a long time for me to work through all of that.
If you want to find the strategy that’s going to help you lose body fat check out this video here.