This is an excellent question. There is a common saying among those in the personal training community that abs are made in the kitchen and not the gym. It’s catchy but more importantly, it’s true. And, its possible.
I’d say that 75 percent of your six pack success is resting on your diet choices. Your diet will ultimately determine if you ever see your abs or just keep working out but getting no closer to your dream. With our current diets and food choices, obesity is on the rise and getting a lean, mean set of abs seems to be becoming more elusive.
In order for a man to see his abs in full glory, he’ll need to drop his fat percentage to 10 percent or even lower into the single digits. About 8 or 9 percent body fat will reveal shredded washboard abs. Sounds beautiful, doesn’t it?
But the sacrifices are not easy. Many guys are more than capable of giving their best and working out like crazy in the gym. They’ll pump out the sets and reps till they are dripping with sweat. These same guys will then go home, eat a pizza, wash it down with a diet soda and top it all off with a candy bar.
Their theory is that since they work out so hard, they can make these small allowances in their diet and they’ll still be able to burn off the calories. This is exactly the reason why after months of training they still can’t see their abs. For every step forward, they’ve taken two steps back.
When you put in an intense workout at the gym, you’re trying to raise your metabolic rate, create an oxygen deficit and aim for an afterburn effect where you burn calories for hours even after your workout is over. You do not train to give yourself a license to eat whatever you want later on in the day.
Every calorie that is not derived from proper food sources is an extra calorie. These calories all add up and translate to fat stores. A 60 minute run on the treadmill will burn about 400 to 500 calories.
1 slice of pizza is around 230 to 300 calories. Eat 2 slices and you have just cancelled out an entire workout! You do not want to waste your calories on junk food, to see your abs; you will need a calorie deficit till all your fat stores are burned off. That may take a while. Don’t make it longer by consuming calories that are not beneficial.
You need to be on a very clean diet. Eat proper foods like chicken breast, broccoli, eggs, fruits in moderation, green vegetables, etc. These are single ingredient foods. Avoid processed foods, dairy products and white foods such as white rice and white bread.
Once you have got your diet on track, your workouts will have double the effect since your body will not have unnecessary calories to burn. It can access the fat stores and burn off the stubborn belly fat slowly but surely. Then and only then can you ever hope to see your abs.