There are numerous factors involved in getting ripped, I am not to keen on the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen” because I am a believer of developing all areas not just one. Please keep in mind; the major factor involved in getting ripped is being CONSISTENT. Just like anything else, it takes time, along with hammering at it on a daily basis.
1. Nutrition Is Key
It is important that you are in a negative energy balance. In order to see your abs, you must lose the body fat covering the abs, in order to drop the body fat you must be consuming fewer calories than you are burning. This can be achieved through a number of modalities including metabolism, nutrition, cardio, training etc. The easiest and simplest way to control this is by monitoring your nutrition intake.
2. I Advocate Cardio
I know a number of coaches whom brag that their clients don’t perform cardio, and this may be the case for some of my clients but I actually like for all of my clients to perform cardio to increase cardiovascular health, and of course the obvious fat loss. Performing any movement will burn more calories than you would at rest, which means it becomes easier to shift into a negative caloric balance where you will be burning the fat that hides your abs.
3. Perform Compound Strength Lifts
It has been shown that standing lifts, especially overhead lifts work your anterior core system to a much larger degree. Your anterior core system is primarily your rectus abdominus muscle aka your “sic pack’. For that reason I recommend strength training with the BIG 5; Pull-ups, deadlifts, squats, overhead press, bench press if you want to engage your core system.
4. Train Your Core!
I recommend isolating your abdominal training to 3-4x per week max. This includes training your intrinsic core muscles that help with stabilization; such exercises as planks, stability ball holds etc. are great for that. As well to get that “six pack” to show train your anterior core via crunches, knee raises, cable crunches. It has been shown that out of any exercise, crunches on a stability ball have the highest EMG. Therefore you recruit more muscle fibers than any other exercise with stability ball crunches.
Rest is about 50% of the equation although often overlooked. When you are constantly in a relaxed, stress free, and rested environment your body recovers, repairs, and drops body fat at an unprecedented rate relative to somebody who doesn’t sleep well or rest well.