Everyone has heard the saying 'abs are made in the kitchen', but what does that actually mean? Can you carve up some chicken fillets and attach them? Sadly...not recommended. However, there is a less gross way of getting lean abs...and the emphasis here is on good old healthy food.
While you can work a lot on your core at the gym, body fat must be in check for them to be visible. For a woman, that can be particularly hard because our bodies like to hold onto it. If your body fat is too low, your menstruation will cease (Amenorrhea) and we become temporarily infertile (scary stuff - believe me!) - so it's very important to find a good balance. Enough fat to hold onto that all-important mostly cycle and keep your body working properly, but still be able to see some definition.
Here's some awesome additions to your diet that will hep you get there:
1. Vegetable Juices/Blends
High in nutrients and low in kilojoules, hearty veggie juices are an ideal meal replacement for strength and vitality. Make green-leafy veggie juices a daily routine if you want your six-pack abs sooner. Adding a dash of lemon will take the bitterness out of the greens and be sure to add ginger.
Mushrooms are a fat-burninig wonder food; high in vitamins and low in kilojoules; they are one of the only foods that stay expanded in your stomach and give you that ‘full’ feeling.
3. Tuna in spring water
High protein, low fat; real six-pack food.
Hellooooo vegetables!!! Eat a lot of vegetables, a lot of the time. They're full of fibre to keep you reaching from additional snacks.
The amino acids in eggs are converted into muscle more efficiently than any other protein fuelled food or drink. Recent research shows that eating eggs has very little, if any, effect on blood cholesterol levels.
6. Lean Turkey/Chicken
High in muscle-building protein, lean turkey/chicken breast is a best friend in the kitchen.
SAY NO TO:
Alcohol, white bread, white rice, white pasta, wheat in general, cheese, chocolate, ice-cream, sweets, chips, fries, crisps, soda/soft drinks, fast-food, processed foods/meats (bacon/sausage/salami etc), margarine, commercial fruit juice, processed & packaged foods. Drink water all the time - at least 2 litres per day Fitties!
We've all been told to eat a ‘big hearty breakfast’ – but generally most of us still have dormant calories from dinner the night before. It's great to to burn up those calories in your morning training, and then follow that up with a good hit of protein (say this shake) and some carbs (these help you absorb the protein) such as berries or a banana.
For me, I have found that fasted cardio 3-4 times a week for 45 minutes helps keep my body fat in check.
It's so important to get enough sleep - deprivation in that department can lead to higher levels of cortisol - the hormone that tells your body to store fat. Damn it. So don't think that getting up at 4am for your cardio is going to do the trick - its counter-productive.
Aim to train your core 4-6 times a week for 15 minutes. I tag mine onto the end of my usual workouts.
If you're stuck for moves, I love the traditional bicycle crunch or lying leg raises. Check out @sugarysixpack on instagram for an infinite amount of inspo.
Of course, I'm not a PT of a dietitian. I'm just a gal that has achieved my personal health goals through trial and error, and a lot of hard work. Seek professional advice before commencing any training program and stop if you feel any pain.