You may have heard many times that diet trumps workouts when it comes to having visibly defined core muscles and the popular saying “Abs are made in the kitchen”. All of us agree that what you fuel your body with plays a prominent role in this process. Besides food, there are some other factors that can help you obtain the requisite low body-fat percentage and muscle mass.
We’ve gathered five tips for those striving for visible abs:
Small meals that are eaten regularly
Those who want to get defined abs should eat small meals throughout the day. Your body has less gastric bulk to digest, which creates less of a bloated appearance (and hides those hard-earned abs) when you break large meals into smaller, more frequent meals.
Skip soda and alcohol
There are many beverages, except coffee, tea and water that are high in calories. These calories are refined, do not promote a satisfying feeling and generally add to your daily intake. Soda drinking can influence your waist circumference in a bad way. Alcohol is a particular type of beverage that works against your abs. It contains more calories per gram than other beverages and no nutrients. Drinking alcohol also influences hormone levels which affect fat storage, especially in the abdominal region, which is more susceptible to the effects of stress and hormone imbalance.
Cut back on carbs
Skip the simple carbs (added sugar, refined grains) and opt for small portions of complex carbs (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) at each meal to avoid excess water weight if you’re looking to see the immediate definition. Carbohydrates are a vital part of the diet, but unfortunately, the body also stores extra water with extra carbohydrates, giving us a puffy appearance, without defined muscles.
Eat small portions of food high in protein
Consuming too much at once overwhelms the system and leads to protein calories being stored as excess instead of used to build lean tissue. Aim to consume 25–35 grams of protein at each meal and 10–15 grams at snack time. Normal-to-high intake of protein (15–25%) increased resting metabolic rates and lean tissue mass shows a study from 2012.
Don’t treat fat as your enemy
Research shows fat helps increase protein concentration in muscles. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids can decrease waist circumference shows a study from 2007. Aim to consume around 30% of your daily calories from healthful sources of monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids found in foods such as fish, avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil in order to benefit from adding fats to your diet.
It’s time to focus on the foods you are consuming if you’ve been hitting the gym hard. The biggest challenge is to clean up your diet, but if you take our tips into consideration and you are motivated enough to get visible muscles, you will surely succeed.