While your main goal might be to crunch or plank your way to redefining your mid-section, you may want to make eating healthy your first priority to achieving six-pack abs. It is not unusual for men to hit middle-age and notice more weight around their waistlines. This may occur due to a decrease in testosterone levels, poor diet, lack of exercise, or an overall unhealthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, a high amount of belly fat puts men at an increased risk for developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer, and sleep apnea. Below are a few easy ways to stay healthy, battle the bulge, and get your six-pack back.
Fuel before and after your workout. In other words, do not run on empty. If you don't fuel your body properly, you are doing a huge disservice to your metabolism. At least an hour before your sweat session, have a small meal or snack. This should contain a mix of a carbohydrate and protein. For example, 2 slices of toast topped with a thin layer of peanut butter and a sliced banana. Within 40 minutes of exercising it is important to refuel and rebuild your muscles. Consume a meal or snack that provides a complex carbohydrate, lean protein, and good source of fiber. For example, a whole grain wrap layered with 2-3 ounces of all natural turkey breast, 3 slices of avocado, ½ cup of dark leafy greens, and 1 thinly sliced piece of provolone cheese. If you need dressing, try honey Dijon mustard or balsamic glaze.
Add variety to your exercise routine. Planks and push-ups definitely challenge the core but high intensity interval training (HIIT) will strengthen, sculpt, and tone your abs into washboard status. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that most adults exercise at least 150 minutes each week at moderate-intensity.
Avoid foods that cause inflammation. Processed foods with added sugar have been linked to obesity and inflammation. If your diet is high in sugary foods, the lining of your gut and your central nervous system may constantly be in repair mode. Over time, this may cause the muscles of the abdominal wall to weaken as well as lessen your chances of defining your six-pack abs. Other inflammation causing foods include: diary, wheat, and red meat.
Be aware. Eat until you are satisfied rather than when you feel full. Making a connection while you are eating with your mind and body is crucial to losing weight around your mid-section. Mindless eating typically takes place when we are watching television, reading a magazine, or surfing the web. Always sit and enjoy your meal one bite at a time.
Sleep well. Not getting enough sleep can slow down your metabolism and lead to an unhealthy cycle of overeating. If you find yourself grazing on packaged foods to stay awake, most likely you are choosing foods high in calories and low in nutrients. During the work week, set a reminder on your phone an hour before bedtime. Use this hour to prepare and organize for the next day. This will lead to a consistent sleep schedule and a stronger and leaner core.
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