6-Pack Abs for Athletes | STACK

Paul James
- Paul "P.J." James is a health and fitness expert. His book, "Take It Off, Keep It Off," provides eating plans, training routines and step-by-step instructions...

How to Finally Get Those 6-Pack Abs

June 5, 2012

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As an athlete, you already know that building beach muscles won’t do much to improve your on-field performance. However, you still want something to show for all that time in the weight room, right?

Many people obsess over Sit-Ups and Crunches and embark on marathon cardio sessions in the hopes that their abs will just pop out one day. Unfortunately, most of that hard work is misspent energy. By following a few simple principles, you can develop the core strength you need for your sport and start seeing those abs you’ve been secretly trying to sculpt for years.

Fuel

You develop core strength through discipline at the gym and six-pack abs through discipline at the kitchen table. Building abs that show is all about removing body fat from your waistline through your diet. To do this, you need to minimize fat and sugar consumption and use stored fat for energy.

Opt for complex carbohydrates to provide maximum energy over a long period of time rather than junk food that delivers only an instant burst of energy. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yams
  • Oatmeal
  • Flaxseed oil

Just don't overdo it. Consuming too much flaxseed oil—or other healthy fats found in avocados and nuts—can slow fat loss. Learn more about the right food choices in my book, Take It Off, Keep It Off. Maintain a strict diet at first to get the physique you want, then shift into maintenance mode with regular exercise and a more lenient diet.

Schedule

Get into the habit of doing 15 minutes of fasted cardio (cardio on an empty stomach) every morning, and watch your body start to change shape. When you work through a short workout on an empty stomach, you’re using stored fat for energy. If you eat breakfast and then do cardio, you’re only burning off some of the food you just consumed. Work out smarter, not harder, not hard.

Core Workout

Build your abs through weights and abdominal work, both of which engage the body's core (the muscles around the spine). All that's required is a commitment to lift weights on a regular basis and a daily five-minute abdominal routine. Women often shy away from weightlifting because they’re afraid of building bulk; but for women, there’s nothing better for developing body shape, posture and tone than lifting weights. For more detailed information, please check out my video on YouTube, where I demonstrate and discuss the ins and outs of abs.

I followed these principles to build my own six pack after gaining 90 pounds on purpose and losing the weight again. Connect with me through Facebook and Twitter for more of the weight loss principles I discovered.

Photo: Simplyshredded.com

Topics: BURN FAT | CORE | ABS
Paul James
- Paul "P.J." James is a health and fitness expert. His book, "Take It Off, Keep It Off," provides eating plans, training routines and step-by-step instructions...