Thousands of ab crunches alone will not get you that desired six-pack. To achieve that ripped look you are also going to have to reduce your body fat percentage so the layer of fat that will otherwise cover your abs dissolves. Although the use of a gym would be an advantage, you can develop a six-pack at home.
The solution: four simple habits. Think of these habits as daily goals designed to keep you on the fast track to a fit-looking physique. Individually they’re not all that surprising, but together, they become a powerful tool.
DIET: Correcting your diet is vital. No more junk food. Cut out anything high in sodium, saturated fat or sugar, including liquids. Your new diet must be nutritious, with plenty of protein to build muscle. Think poultry, red meat, fish, whole grain, nuts, seeds, fruit, veg and low-fat dairy.
Drink at least 16 ounces of chilled H2O as soon as you rise in the morning. German scientists recently found that doing this boosts metabolism by 24 percent for 90 minutes afterward. A general rule of thumb: Guzzle at least a gallon of water over the course of a day.
Plan out your new diet so that you now eat six small meals each day, eating every two or three hours. Plan in advance, taking protein powders and healthy snacks out with you so that you always have an alternative to junk food.
CARDIO AT HOME: Perform a cardio session either on your home treadmill or by going out for a run or cycle. Apply interval training, or HIIT, to your workout. Interval training is so named because its uses periods of high and low intensity work throughout the session.
EXERCISE THE RIGHT WAY: Everyone has abs, even if people can’t always see them because they’re hidden under a layer of flab. The most effective strategy is a one-two approach of weightlifting and high-intensity interval training
What’s more, unlike aerobic exercise, lifting has been shown to boost metabolism for as long as 39 hours after the last repetition. Similar findings have been noted for intervals, which are short, all-out sprints interspersed with periods of rest.
Abs exercises are simple to perform at home with no equipment at all. The bicycle kick is rated by the American Council on Exercise as the most effective of all ab exercises due to it keeping the rectus abdominis almost constantly taut and working the obliques simultaneously. Other effective exercises that can be performed at home with no equipment are the vertical leg crunch and the traditional crunch.
SLEEP: You need sleep to unveil your six-pack. That’s because lack of shut-eye may disrupt the hormones that control your ability to burn fat.
To achieve a better night’s sleep, review your goals again 15 minutes before bedtime. And while you’re at it, write down your plans for the next day’s work schedule, as well as any personal chores you need to accomplish. This can help prevent you from lying awake worrying about tomorrow which can cut into quality snooze time.
If you want to strengthen your legs, build your butt, and work nearly every muscle in your lower body, look no further than the squat. This seemingly simple move is a staple in most strength programs because it effectively works multiple muscles at the same time, including your quads, glutes, and even your core. In fact, few other moves fire up more muscle than the squat, which is one of the reasons why it’s known as one of the “big three” exercises (along with the deadlift and bench press).
To get the most out of this muscle-building, fat-burning move, follow our pointers below on how to do squats with perfect form. And to really get all the benefits of squats, mix things up by swapping out the basic bodyweight squat for one of our 11 favourite squat variations, many of which can be found in workout programs on Beachbody On Demand (www.beachbodyondemand.com)
How to Do a Proper Squat
Before you load up your squats with weights, master the bodyweight squat. Here’s how to do a squat properly:
- Stand tall with your hands by your sides, feet shoulder-width apart, and toes pointed forward.
- Keeping your back flat and core braced, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. You want to “sit” into the exercise, pushing your butt back like you’re lowering yourself onto a chair or bench. Never bend forward at your waist — that will only increase the stress on your spine and throw you off balance.
- Pause, and then push yourself back up to the starting position.
Benefits of Squats
Squats target two of your body’s biggest muscles (quads and glutes), and enlist the help of your hamstrings and calves to get the job done. And that’s just what it does below the waist. When you do a squat properly, you also engage stabilizing muscles throughout your core. Plus, it can be done with little equipment (or even no equipment in the case of a bodyweight squat), and it only requires a few square feet of space to perform. To maximize its benefits, however, weave multiple squat variations into your weekly routine, like the ones found below.
7 Ways to do Squats with Weights
Variation spurs adaptation, which in the context of strength training is another term for muscle growth. Keep the classic barbell back squat in your exercise library, but also try any or all of these seven squat variations with weights to keep your routine fresh and to keep adapting.
- Dumbbell Squat
- Bulgarian Split Squat
- Dumbbell Goblet Squat
- Dumbbell Jump Squat
- Curtsy Squat
- Lateral Squat
- Releve Plie Squats
For instructional videos, head on to Beach Body on Demand: https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/how-to-do-proper-squats
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