Saturday, July 18, 2009

How to Sculpt Sexy, Bikini-Ready Abs in 30 Days

Diets, countless abdominal exercises and daily 45-minute cardio training sessions form the equation millions of women rely on week after week in an attempt to lose unwanted belly fat and build a sexy mid section. Unfortunately, very few are actually able to accomplish this feat. Why, you might ask? Maybe it is because many of the “health foods” marketed by the diet food industry are not as healthy as they would like women to believe. It may be because abdominal exercises such as sit-ups and crunches are actually the least effective way to build muscle in your mid section. On the other hand, perhaps it is the fact that long, daily cardiovascular exercise routines do not yield the best results in losing stubborn belly fat. The truth of the matter is, the traditional methods of developing chiseled and sexy bikini-ready abs are outdated, ineffective and can even be counterproductive, and too few women are aware of it. Even women returning to exercise after pregnancy do not realize that proper nutrition and a gradual return to exercise are necessary to achieve the best results in abdominal sculpting. Follow these simple steps to be on your way to the stomach of your dreams in just 30 days.

Step 1: Sexy Six-Pack Abs Start in the Mind - The first step to sexy abs is to understand that most abdominal workouts, although effective in strengthening and toning the muscles in your mid section, will not get rid of stubborn belly fat. Specific and targeted abdominal exercises are certainly beneficial when mixed into a rigorous, full body routine, but ultimately ineffective in producing sexy abs when performed alone. The same is true for cardiovascular exercise routines, which help burn unwanted body fat but are hardly effective without incorporating strenuous, high intensity resistance training. On the contrary, a frequent, high-intensity full body routine and a balanced diet filled with healthy nutrients is the best combination for burning fat and revving up your metabolism so that your sexy abdominal muscles will show. As a side note, it might also prove interesting to know that most women have six-pack abs beneath their belly fat-the secret is simply learning how to reveal them!

Step 2: Speed- Up Your Metabolism with HIIT Cardio –The common misconception about cardiovascular exercise lies in your individual metabolic rate, or metabolism. Sculpting sexy abs by spending long lengths of time on a treadmill is a traditional technique based on the theory that this type of aerobic exercise pumps more oxygen through your body in order to burn fat and energy. However, recent research has pointed to a different type of training, known as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), as the best solution to sexy abs. HIIT in its simplest form is an anaerobic exercise that makes you work slightly harder but in less time. Varied intensities of cardiovascular exercise raise the body’s metabolism for up to the next 24 to 48 hours after training, where the metabolic rate returns to normal after slower, low-intensity sessions. Keep in mind, that too much time spent on a treadmill (or other cardiovascular machine) can begin to burn muscle, your body’s greatest ally in burning fat. When it comes to sculpting a sexy mid section, less cardio may actually be more. Try this routine during your next visit to the gym- all it takes is 26 minutes:

1. Jog briskly for 5 minutes at 3.5 mph

2. Jog for 4 minutes at 5.0 mph

3. Run for 8 minutes at 6.0 mph

4. Jog for 4 minutes at 5.0 mph

5. Jog briskly for 5 minutes at 3.5 mph

Step 3: Ten Strategies for Sexy Abs through Nutrition – One of the single most effective ways to show the six-pack of your dreams is by losing stubborn belly fat through healthy nutrition. Follow these ten nutrition strategies and be on your way to sexy abs in 30 days:

1. Protein shakes after a workout: Plain and simply, protein builds muscle and muscle burns fat. Consume 40 to 60 grams of whey protein per day after a workout and decrease body fat fast! Whey protein also increases satiety, meaning you will be less hungry throughout the day.

2. Dairy products to help weight management: The vitamin D found in dairy products promotes calcium absorption and regulates the metabolism by suppressing fat synthesis and sparking fat burning.

3. Overindulge in low energy density foods: Consume large quantities of low energy density foods that are low in calories but fill you up based on their total volume. Low energy density foods include whipped shakes, broth-based soups, non-starchy vegetables and many fruits.

4. Eat often: The more often we eat the less hungry we feel later on (as long as we are not at the McDonald’s drive thru every three hours). Skipping meals to lose weight will only cause you to overeat at your next meal due to increased hunger.

5. Switch to green tea: Green tea extract and caffeine increase energy expenditure when combined, which means you are burning calories. Habitual green tea drinkers tend to have better overall weight maintenance.

6. Always avoid trans fats: Trans fats are associated with increased abdominal fat deposition. Avoid any food that contains “partially hydrogenated oil” and shed pounds fast.

7. Load up on omega-3s: Omega-3s alter the expression of genes tied to fatty acid oxidation. Consume plenty of salmon, mackerel, herring, halibut, sardines and tuna steak. Try omega-3 supplements if you do not eat from the sea.

8. Beware of sugar-free products: Sugar free gums and candies may sound like a compromising reward for your hard work but ultimately lead to bloating and abdominal discomfort.

9. Get the sugar out: Sugar spikes your insulin and increases your cravings for more sweets. Therefore, daily trips to Dunkin’ Donuts do not yield positive results.

10. Put down the booze: Physically fit people do not drink alcohol on a regular basis. Make the choice between six-pack abs and a six-pack of Bud.

Step Four: Building up the Muscles in your Abdomen – When strengthening the muscles in your abdomen, always be sure to hit each region, or muscle group, to maintain a balanced and proportionate mid section. Follow this routine three times a week to shred those abdominal muscles and help them grow:

1. V-Crunches: Lie on a mat and bring your arms to your feet, forming a V-crunch that works the lower abdominals. Repeat this motion for 20 repetitions.

2. Hip Raises: Lie on your back with your knees bent and lift your hips to the ceiling while keeping your feet on the floor. Do this for 20 repetitions.

3. Crossed Knee Crunch: Lie on the floor in a normal crunch position and place one of your feet in a 90-degree angle on top of your other leg. Do a cross-crunch by touching your elbow with the opposite knee. Repeat this exercise for 15 repetitions on each side

4. Abdominal Plank: Do a plank for 30 seconds. Lie on your stomach, touch your forearms and toes to the floor and raise your belly off the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

5. Leg Lifts: Lie on your back and lift your legs a few inches above the ground. Perform this motion for 30 repetitions.

Step 5: Patience is a VirtueFollow this guide and be well on your way to sexy, bikini-ready abs in 30 days. Continue using this program for as long as you need to for progressive results and remember to remain patient. One of the biggest obstacles you will face is staying motivated in the face of discouragement but if you stick to your guns your stomach will certainly thank you.