Strong, sculpted abs demonstrate a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Improving the midsection does not have to take years of hard work. With the ab challenge, fitness-minded individuals change their diet and exercise programs to achieve success. Before starting the program, individuals often talk to their doctors.
Few things show off your commitment to health more than a toned midsection. Not only does a flat stomach tell everyone you are serious about being active, it allows you to be confident. After all, who wants to stroll along a beach with a gut hanging over his or her belt?
Unfortunately, belly fat is some of the most stubborn. As you probably know, hitting cardio hard is an effective way to shrink your waistline. By itself, though, cardio cannot give you the sexy, toned abs you crave. Instead, if you want a washboard stomach, you must commit to a holistic approach.
That’s where the ab challenge comes in. With a precise combination of diet, cardio and strength training, you can get the beach body you want. It doesn’t take forever, either. If you want to get ripped in just 30 days, take the ab challenge.
If you have chronic medical conditions, you should be sure you fully understand the side effects of any change in diet or exercise. Before starting any diet or exercise program, it is important to talk to your doctor. If you feel weak or ill during the ab challenge, seek medical attention before continuing it.
Understanding The Challenge
In just 30 days, you can get the abs you want. Before delving into some of the exercise and dietary details of the ab challenge, let’s look at the seven basics.
1. Get Started
Putting off a lifestyle change is easy to do. You can probably count a million reasons to wait to start your ab challenge. An old adage says, “While the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is today.” Rather than waiting to begin your ab challenge, choose to get started today. Then, commit to spending the next month working on your midsection.
2. Snap A Photograph
If you are like most, you probably use your smartphone to snap photos of a variety of things. Taking before pictures, however, likely isn’t high on your list of priorities. Still, you won’t know if the ab challenge is working if you don’t have some before pictures. Therefore, strip down to your skivvies and snap a photograph of your pre-challenge body. If you don’t want the picture to fall into the wrong hands, save it in a top-secret folder. Don’t, however, skip this step.
3. Calculate Calories
Not every person requires the same number of calories. Before starting your challenge, use an online calorie calculator to determine how many calories you need to maintain your current weight. Then, reduce that number by up to 500 calories per day to lose stubborn belly fat. Note, though, that while you want a sexy, toned midsection, you don’t want to be unhealthy. As such, never cut your caloric intake to under 1,200 calories per day. If you are working out hard, you probably need significantly more to maintain a healthy lifestyle during your ab challenge.
4. Eat Right
Diet is perhaps the most important part of your ab challenge. Therefore, we discuss diet in more detail later in this article. Generally, though, you want half of your diet to come from vegetables and fruits. The other half should be split evenly between lean protein and grains. To keep your eating on track, you may want to download a food-tracking app.
5. Don’t Weigh Yourself
Most individuals experience daily weight fluctuations. If you notice a temporary weight gain, you may be tempted to fall off the ab challenge wagon. That’s a mistake, as the program works for virtually everyone who sticks to it. Therefore, try to avoid stepping onto the scales until your ab challenge is done.
6. Get Some Exercise
While the ab challenge is mostly about eating right, you can’t underestimate the importance of effective exercise. Below, we detail the sort of fat-burning exercises that help you get the most out of your ab challenge.
7. Stick To It
Getting the abs you want is a journey. While the ab challenge is only one month long, it can be tough to see it through to the end. To be certain you stick to the challenge, you must be realistic about your approach. If you want to cheat with your meal plan, do so in moderation. Allow for 10 percent of your calories to come from treats. After your treat, though, get back on track. Remember, you only have to do the ab challenge for 30 days to see results.
There is one simple truth to getting toned, sculpted abs: you must eat right. Remember, a beach body is 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise. Therefore, for one month you must eat the right foods at the right times. While changing your diet can seem daunting, you only have to worry about the next 30 days. You can do anything for one month.
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods are the primary enemy of toned abs. These foods have chemicals that often make you feel bloated, tired and hungry. They also push you further away from your fitness goals. Accordingly, if you want the midsection of your dreams, you must cut out processed foods. This includes fried foods, white flour and packaged offerings. Also, eliminate refined sugar from your diet. Yes, that includes alcohol.
To avoid eating the wrong foods, you must have a plan. The time to make good dietary decision is not when you are starving. If you wait until then, you have already lost the battle. Therefore, create a meal plan and stick to it.
Eat The Right Foods
The ab challenge asks you to convert your diet to include 50 percent fruits and vegetables, 25 percent lean protein and 25 percent grains. If you aren’t good at meal planning, you can find a variety of online resources that will tell you exactly what to eat during your ab challenge. For most, preparing meals for an entire week is an effective strategy. Not only does this take the guess work out of eating, it decreases the likelihood that you will cheat on your challenge.
When possible, try to eat fresh foods. Since these items are packed full of nutrients, you are sure to get enough vitamins and minerals when you choose fresh foods.
Drink Enough Water
Most people go through life dehydrated. Not drinking enough water can make you feel tired. It can also cause you to feel hungry when you aren’t. Therefore, drink at least eight glasses of water every day for the duration of your ab challenge. If you have trouble drinking enough, download an app to track your water consumption. Also, the more you work out, the more water your body needs. During cardio and strength-training sessions, carry a water bottle with you.
Cardio And Strength-Training Exercises
Cardio is invaluable for getting sculpted abs. You don’t, however, have to spend hours on the treadmill to get the midsection you want. Here are some cardio and strength-training suggestions to help you achieve ultimate results during your ab challenge.
Jogging in place is effective cardio. With high knees, you stretch your knees as close to your chest as possible. For a full minute, jog in place, lifting your knees at least as high as your waist. If you aren’t ready for this, use your abs to raise one knee to your waist at a time.
To succeed in your ab challenge, you need to build abdominal muscles. You don’t need sophisticated gym equipment, though. Instead, get into side-plank position. Then, raise your leg as high into the air as possible. Repeat this exercise 10 times. Then, switch to the other leg.
Knee strikes combine cardio and strength training. Start in a stand-up position with your legs slightly apart. Strike one knee across your waist toward the opposing arm. Do this exercise 20 times before switching to the other leg. For even more effect, try this exercise when your heartrate is elevated.
When you do squat jumps, you strengthen your core. A strong core, of course, leads to toned abs. To pull off this exercise, get into a squatting position. Then, jump as high as you can, returning to squat position each time. After 10 of these, you should feel the burn.
If you have ever seen the Rockettes, you know these dancers have killer abs. Take a page out of their playbook by standing flat on your feet. Next, kick your leg out in front of you, trying to reach a high point. Meanwhile, keep both arms parallel to the ground. Alternate between legs, mimicking the iconic kick line. If you can do this exercise for 60 seconds, you are better than most.
Final Thoughts On The Ab Challenge
If you are like most fitness enthusiasts, you want strong, sexy abs. You don’t have to spend forever trying to get an athletic core. With the right diet and exercise program, you can achieve your goals in as few as 30 days. What are you waiting for? Talk to your doctor and start your ab challenge today.