The hardest part of the journey to get ripped and bring out your abs may just be the first step. Not only is getting started physically hard, but you also have to deal with conflicting and confusing advice from all sides. That's why we've combined the thinking of some of the top names in physique sports to create this comprehensive six-pack guide.
Think core definition is all about your core workout? Think again. We'll lay out everything you need to know in terms of nutrition, nutrient timing, full-body training, core work, and strategic supplementation to redefine your midsection.
The road to muscular definition all starts with making your nutrition match your goal. One tried-and-true way to figure out the amount of protein, carbs, and fat you'll need is to use [login to view URL]'s calorie calculator to get values for all your macronutrients. Just enter your age, height, weight, how much physical activity you get every day, and your fat-loss goal.
This calculator distributes the macro amounts to create a high-protein, moderate-carb, moderate-fat diet: 40 percent of your calories come from protein, 40 percent from carbs, and 20 percent from fat. It also builds in a daily caloric deficit that usually ranges from 300-700 calories, depending on your weight and activity level.
The calculator prioritized proteins because they are slower-digesting, help add and maintain muscle mass, and trigger the release of appetite-suppressing hormones. Without enough protein in this diet, you'll feel hungrier and your body will tend to metabolize your hard-earned muscle mass to get the energy it need to follow this program.
Your calculator results will enable you to lose 0.5-1.0 percent of your body weight each week, a safe and sustainable amount that can deliver surprising results over 12 weeks. A 180-pound man, for instance, could lose 0.9 to 1.8 pounds each week, or about 4-8 pounds a month.
Build Your Carb-Cycling Plan
You build your abdominals in the gym, but until you get rid of the fat that covers them, no one but you will know they're there. And even you will have your doubts! Our BPI Sports Panel all agree: To drop serious body fat and keep up high-quality training, carb-cycling is a must.
The carb number you got from the macronutrient calculator in Step 1 is for moderate-carb days. On low-carb days, cut that number in half to bring down your daily calorie count. The easiest way to do this is by packing these days with high-fiber, low-calorie carbs like leafy greens, broccoli, and low-sugar fruits. On those days, eat far fewer starchy foods like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and plantains, and shy away from foods made from grains, such as bread, pasta, rice, noodles, cereals, couscous, oats, barley, and tortillas.
Following an extended low-carb diet can affect your energy level, and depending on the approach you take, cause you to burn through valuable muscle mass. To preserve this hard-won tissue, follow a 3/2 carb split. Stick to the low-carb approach for three days, followed by two days of moderate carbs. You'll repeat this five-day cycle about 17 total times over the course of the 12-week program. Be sure to get your carbs from a variety of sources.