How to achieve and maintain the abs of your dreams

By Ava Africa | Photos by Drew Graham, Christopher Campbell, and Brooke Lark/Unsplash

This topic is as hot as summer. The truth is this, there are no shortcuts. Quick-fix solutions will only give you temporary results. So we’ve a few tricks for you to get six packs fast and keep them forever.

Understand Why

Knowing why you want to achieve a toned body is very critical to attaining the body shape you want.  As the saying goes, “You need to know the why to endure the how.”

Set Your Target

More than your body weight, you should be aware of your body composition. There are a number of tools that allow you to measure this such as the Karada Scanner. This can measure body fat percentage, muscle percentage, and body age–factors that are more important to monitor when managing your body shape. Your focus should not be on the overall body mass you lose but on the mass of fat you lose and muscle mass you gain. This will help create long-term results since the muscle will help burn fat naturally.

Visualize

Cut out a picture of the body shape you want to achieve. Making this your smartphone or bedroom wallpaper or sticking it on your refrigerator door and bathroom mirror definitely contributes to strengthening your willpower.

Create a Plan

Your plan should include a schedule to work out (whether at home or in the gym) and eating nutritious meals. Here’s a sample weekly workout schedule for busy people:

SuMTWThFSa
AM30 min jog*15-min cardio using stairsRest15-min cardio using stairsRest15-min cardio using stairsRest
PM10 min core10 min core10 min core10 min core10 min core10 min core10 min core

*Pace must only allow you to speak a few words in between breaths

It is not enough for you to just focus on the workout. Combining this with proper eating habits will make your body shape permanent. Therefore, develop the following practices:

  • Eat when you’re hungry (just enough to satisfy the hunger). Snacks in between meals must be restricted to protein bars, fruits or vegetables.
  • Eat full meals three times a day. Fruit, vegetables, carbohydrates, and protein sources must be included.
  • No need to count calories. Use your hand to properly portion your meals. Fist-size for fruits and protein, an open palm for vegetables, and a half-open palm for carbohydrates.
  • Eat your fruits first followed by vegetables then the carbohydrates and protein.
  • Train yourself to eat steamed, grilled, and boiled food instead of oily and fatty choices.
  • Drink lots of water.
Take Action

Follow this mantra: “It’s either you have excuses or you have results. You cannot have both.” You may want to have an accountability partner who will help you keep motivated. Your accountability partner will only help you, not push you, because keeping those abs for life is still up to you.

The key here is not just working out for long hours but teaching your body how to build muscle the natural way, and in a way you can sustain.