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How to Train your Abs

Training the abs…what really works?

So many of us want that coveted 6 or 8-pack. And we want it now. If you were to google “how to get a 6 pack” your search would turn up article after article with a multitude of different exercises. So what really works? Variety and Nutrition. CrossFit is constantly VARIED movements executed at high intensity, so we have you covered in this area. You will not come to any of our classes and do 100 crunches. Ab-mat situps? Yes. But that won’t be all. There will also be mountain climbers or Russian twists along with plank holds and v-ups. CrossFit also relies on core-to-extremity workouts. This means that our core must be strong and able to stabilize our bodies as we move through many of the more difficult movements – the snatch, the clean & jerk, etc. Even though you won’t experience a ‘100 crunch day’ at CrossFit West of the River, your core will be worked. You may not always recognize some of the exercises as being ‘ab work’ either. So here are just a few of the many terms you may hear: GHD situps, dragon flags, windshield wipers, super v-ups, atomic sit-ups, wall ball situps, leg raises. Any exercise that we do that requires core stabilization is also working your abs: wall climbs, handstand holds, the squat, the deadlift, tire flips, sled pulls, push ups…basically everything we do . So, if you’ve been doing CrossFit for a while, and you’re like, ‘ok, I’ve spent the past year doing all of these so-called ab exercises and I still can’t see my abs’ – it may be time to look at your nutrition. Your abs can be incredibly strong and excellent at stabilizing your core…but if there continues to be a layer of fat over them, you will not be able to enjoy the benefits of your “show muscles.” The best way to shred that fat off of your belly is through nutrition.

500,000,000 crunches will not result in a six-pack if that layer of fat is there. If you look at body builder websites they recommend a 500 calorie deficit, 30 minutes of cardio in the morning, weight lifting in the afternoon, and carbs only on days you workout. Will this work? Yep. Is it sustainable? Nope. So let’s meet somewhere in the middle. Let’s look at adopting a lower carb workout through the Paleo diet. The only carbs you consume on this diet are whole/clean/natural. There is also the Keto diet which consists of limiting carbs everyday to very low amounts and then your body relies on your fat stores for energy. Carb cycling is another popular diet that focuses on consuming higher and lower carbs based off of whether or not you are working out. The Zone Diet consists of eating perfectly balanced (carbs/fats/proteins) meals and snacks. So which one will work? Honestly, they all will. Through consistency, they will all result in fat loss. You have to figure out which one is right for you.

At CrossFit West of the River we offer nutrition counseling and coaching for this exact reason: let a coach walk you through these different plans and talk to you about your cravings, your habits, your successes and failures…and then help you to choose the best plan for you. And then, the most important part, that coach will hold you accountable. They will check in with you and see how you’re feeling and make sure you’re following the new plan. They will make adjustments for you if it’s just not working.

And, of course, if you have that big summer vacation coming up and you want to rapidly try to get those ab muscles to show, follow the body-builders’ tips. If you’ve been doing CrossFit for any length of time, I promise you have some ab muscles that are waiting to be shown off. Just don’t be too disappointed if they go back into hiding after you’ve thoroughly enjoyed yourself during vacation. We want long-term success for you. We want you making good choices AND enjoying yourself on vacation. We want your hard work in the box to show no matter what time of year it is.

If you want to find out more about the different nutrition plans available through CrossFit West of the River, click HERE. We would love to help you reach your goals!

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