Fitness

Your Abs Plan (6 week Workout and Meal Plan Included)

Abs! They are like the icing on the cake, the finishing touch, maybe the most attractive part of a fit body. Many of us spend tireless hours sweating in the gym completing sets and reps and slaving over building the elusive 6-pack in hopes of taking haute Instagram selfies on the beach or at the lake.

However, having a 3D 6-pack for many people sometimes feels like Mission Impossible. How do you get chiseled abs?

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There are two pieces to this puzzle.  If you want show-stopping abs you must:

  1. Complete the right exercises
  2. Eat the proper food

There’s no way around it.

What Exercises Have You Been Doing For Core?

Research shows us that certain numbers of sets and repetitions for any given exercise can lead to differing results. For example: To achieve hypertrophy, or muscular gains, NASM suggests 3-5 sets of 6-12 repetitions, performing the exercise at 75-85% of the one repetition maximum (1RM) with a rest period of 1-2 minutes. If you are lifting for power, your load, volume, and rest periods change.

The research is correct. You will achieve hypertrophy, especially if you are just beginning a new exercise regimen. What if you are a seasoned lifter and you’ve reached a plateau? What if you can do 5,000 crunches, but your abs still aren’t poppin’?

Your plateau is due to the Principle of Adaptation. Basically, our bodies are excellent adaptors and they learn to be efficient at anything we do repeatedly even if that is sitting on our duffs all day. The way to fix it is by changing your routine. You are not going to do 5,000 crunches anymore!

abs plan

Every 6-8 weeks you need to change the way in which you work out. If you are not constantly overloading your muscles, they have no reason to grow. Now, this does not mean that you need to do 6,000 crunches this week. It means we are going to completely change the way you are taxing your core.

That’s where TUT comes into play.

1st Piece Of The Puzzle: Time To Try TUT!

What is TUT?

No, we aren’t talking about walking like the famous Egyptian (King Tut), but you can add the 80s song by The Bangles to your playlist.

TUT stands for time under tension. It is a common practice used by bodybuilders and other athletes to pack on slabs of muscle and increase muscular endurance. It works by prolonging the amount of time that the trained muscle, in this instance your core, is under stress during a set.

However, you really can’t gauge a “set” by a number of repetitions when using this method. You don’t count reps. You work to actual muscular failure, or the point at which the neuromuscular system can no longer produce enough force to overcome a certain workload.

The trick is to use enough load to reach muscular failure in 60-90 seconds. This amount of time varies for men and women due to differing types of muscle fibers that are predominantly found in their bodies.

TUT Abs Plan

The Rules:

  • Use perfect form.
  • Slow the cadence or the pace of the lift. Use a 3/3/0 pace (lift, lower, pause).
  • Work with heavy enough weight to fail in 1 minute on the first round of exercises and at 45 seconds on the second set of exercises. Don’t change the load unless it was too light the first round.
  • Don’t quit if you reach failure. Hold your position that you’re “stuck in” until time is up.
  • Don’t take any rest between exercises. This is a form of circuit training, so move one station to the next immediately and begin.

The Exercise Plan:

Weighted Russian Twists

Weighted Cable Crunches  (Ab Pulldowns)

Weighted Incline Oblique Crunches on Back Extension Machine

Ab Crunch Machine

Dumbbell Hanging Knee Raises (machine or hanging)

Remember that you will go through each exercise for one minute the first round. Your weight should be heavy enough to reach muscular failure. Then you will go through a second round for 45 seconds.

Your torso should be on fire if you are working at a slow enough pace, and if doing this routine at the end of your workout 2-3 times per week doesn’t slap dimension onto your abs, I don’t know what will!

Importance Of Working To Failure:

You are pushing your muscles to the max when you work to failure. By pushing them to failure you force them to grow because your muscles realize that they need to be stronger. Therefore, the “adaptation” phase starts again due to the higher demand placed on them to meet the new demands.

Importance Of No Pause:

TUT is designed to touch and go, meaning you raise and lower the weight, but never put the load down fully or never reach full extension. Without a pause, like you get in traditional reps at the top and bottom of the motion, your muscle is forced to stay under tension and work the entire time. This “no rest” piece is extremely important for pushing to failure.

Cardio:

If you need to lose weight to reveal your washboard stomach, it’s best to do 30 minutes of steady state cardio 4-5 times per week.  Or you can complete 20 minutes of HIIT three times per week.

abs plan

One other option is to use TUT for all of your exercise sets for all muscle groups including core, and you may not ever have to do cardio again!

2nd Piece Of The Puzzle: You MUST Eat Clean

The only way you will ever see your beloved abs is by eating a clean diet. Diet is key, and a huge piece of the puzzle. Nobody wants to hear that, but it’s true.

You may have a great set of abs under you r 1-inch winter coat. You may be able to feel them when you lie flat on the floor, but no one will ever see them until you get your mind wrapped around the importance of the foods you put in your mouth.

Basic Dietary Guidelines For Ab Revealing:

  1. Eat healthy meals/snacks every three hours in smart portions.
  2. Drink ½ gallon of water or more per day.
  3. Lower your sodium intake since salt causes water retention.
  4. Focus on increasing your protein intake, eliminating process carbs, eating appropriate amounts of healthy fats, and completely nixing sugar.
  5. Eat a metric ton of green vegetables. They should be your main source of carbohydrate intake.
  6. Don’t skip meals. Breakfast kick starts your metabolism in the morning. Don’t miss it or any other meal because you need your metabolism cranking all day long to burn up fat. When you feed your body on a very regular schedule (every 3 hours), it will respond by losing weight.  It no longer feels it must store extra fat when it knows it will be fed.

Want to expedite the process? Drop dairy and fruit altogether.

abs plan

 

Recap: What Have You Learned?

3D abs are a possibility for YOU and anyone else willing to work for them. It takes discipline in both key pieces of this puzzle to walk around shirtless though. TUT training will take you to the level of fitness you are trying to achieve and make you work like you’ve never worked before.  

Keep your mind on track, your abs on fire, and you will have the abs you’ve always dreamed of showcasing!

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Sarah Chadwell

Sarah Chadwell