You might think that you need to crunch your heart out and go on a strict diet if you want your abs to come out of hiding. Let’s get one thing straight: everybody has abs, but it’s the layer of fat around your midsection that’s preventing them from being seen. In my experience as a Fitness Coach, I have seen people do so many of the wrong things in order to get their abs to show. But what happens after? They go back to their “old ways” and BOOM!, their abs go right back into hibernation mode.
9 things you should NEVER do if you want abs year round
1. Crunch your life away
I am not saying that crunches are bad; they definitely have their place. However, most people perform them incorrectly and have other muscular imbalances (weak core, including hips and back) that make this exercise super ineffective and a painful waste of time. If you want to get rid of that layer of fat, it’s best to engage your entire body in compound movements like squats, biceps curls, lunges or overhead presses. Additionally, plank-based bodyweight movements like Push-Ups and High Plank Knee-to-Elbow, which can be found in the Runtastic Results app, are much better fat burners than any isolation exercises for the abs.
2. Train your abs every single day
Just like any other muscle, your abs need a break too! That doesn’t mean you can’t activate your core during your warm up with exercises like Planks, Inchworms and other balance and stabilization exercises, but you shouldn’t train any muscle group two days in a row…your abs included! You want to allow at least 48 hours before training that muscle group again.
3. Go on a crash diet
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: if you can’t sustain it forever, don’t even start! When changing your eating habits, don’t do something that you cannot maintain AT LEAST 80% of the time (if not more!). If it promises fast weight loss, you can almost guarantee fast regain. Slow and steady wins the race.
4. Forget about your diet completely
It’s 100% true: abs are made in the kitchen. You need to be mindful of what you are eating. I’ve seen people who workout 3-5x per week but have horrible eating habits, and they wonder why they aren’t reaching their goal! Food tracking with the Balance app is something I do almost daily. If you can’t lose body fat, it can be due to the fact that you’re eating too much (duh!) but also that you’re not eating enough! Start tracking your food today — you’ll become a pro in no time! Plus, you can learn The Benefits and Importance of Food Tracking and Practical Tips for Food Tracking where I break it all down for you. Consistency, not perfection, is the goal!
5. Do the same workout routine for longer than 4-6 weeks
Our bodies are really smart and great at adaptation. If you realize you’ve been doing the same workout routine for months, you need to mix it up! Try new exercises, go to a different workout class…just do something different!
6. Drink alcohol on a regular basis
For some people, excessive calories from alcohol aren’t really the main problem. It’s the food choices made after a night out: greasy burgers, taco truck, hot dog stand or a big bag of chips. Sound familiar? So not only are you getting more liquid calories than you need, but also overeating in the end. If you’re really serious about getting and maintaining your abs, you might want to think about your regular weekends at the bar.
7. Stress out all the time (about having abs or anything else!)
It’s one thing to have a stressful day here and there, but when stressful days are a recurring thing leading to a stressful life, it could be a huge reason why you cannot see your abs. Studies have shown that chronic stress is associated with higher levels of obesity. Take time for you, because you’re the only one that can do that! Don’t forget the benefits of walking, meditation and writing down and reflecting regularly on the things for which you are grateful.
8. ONLY do low-intensity steady state cardio (LISS)
As mentioned in number 5, you have to mix it up! When it comes to cardio, you don’t only want to go for slow and steady runs. Add some HIIT into your routine as well. HIIT and LISS cardio both play a role in fat burning and helping to get that ab definition.
9. Forget about recovery
Working out seven days a week is not the answer. In fact, the magic happens during your rest days and recovery, not during your workout. Working out is stress on your body, but it’s definitely good stress as long as you’re not overdoing it. Here are 6 signs to find out if you need to take a rest day. Listen to your body!
Do you have any tips for keeping your abs year round? Do any of these numbers speak to you as to why you can’t get your abs to pop? Share it with us in the comments below.