Fact: If you want six-pack abs, what you put in your mouth (and when) is far more important that what you do at the gym.
In 33 recent clinical trials, Brazilian researchers found that diet controls 75% of weight loss. The other 25% comes from the burning of calories either through cardio or strength training workouts. Most of us that desire six-pack abs have to first lose the layer of belly fat covering them. Otherwise you might have a six-pack, but nobody will see it.
Eat six times per day
The point is to keep your metabolism in high gear so you are burning maximum calories, and you do that in part by keeping food in your stomach. You should eat three standard meals and three healthy snacks. Eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals at 8 a.m., 1 p.m., and 6 p.m., respectively. At 11 a.m., 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. eat your three snacks.
Eat nutritional foods
Be sure to eat meals that are nutritionally balanced, meaning they include high-fiber whole grains, good fats, complex carbohydrates, and lots of protein. You can get your whole grain from breads, cereals, and pasta, good fats from olive oil, canola oil, and peanut butter. As far as carbs, focus on the dark green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and lettuce. Protein comes from turkey, chicken, and other lean meats, along with eggs and whey powder.
Also add in beans and legumes for some high-fiber alternatives along with various tree nuts like walnuts, pecans, and almonds for Omega 3 fat.
Stay hydrated, but watch what you drink
You need to stay hydrated, but drinking the wrong fluids can be detrimental to weight loss and muscle development. Stick with the standards of plain water, fat-free or low-fat milk, coffee, tea, and smoothies (ones you make yourself, so you know what is in them.) Stay away from soda, full-fat dairy products, and high calorie drinks, such as many of the sport drinks, fruit juices, and alcohol.
While eating right keeps your calorie count down, you still have to exercise to burn fat and develop muscle. One of the best exercises to develop the six-pack region are crunches. For some variation, work in leg lifts, jack knifes, planks, and bicycles into your exercise routine.
To help burn off that layer of fat covering your abs, do cardio training that gets your heart rate in the target zone – 70% to 80% of your maximum heart rate. Events that qualify include running, jogging, bike riding, tennis, racquetball, or any sport that keeps you moving, three to five times per week for at least an hour at a time.
To speed up your metabolism and build muscle, include stretch training at least two times per week. Just make sure to have at least one day between strength training sessions so your muscles have time to recover.
Getting a six-pack ab is not an easy feat, but it is attainable with a focus on what and when you eat, what you drink, and how you exercise.