Meat Free Athlete's Guide to Six Pack Abs
The Meat Free Athlete Guide to 6 Pack Abs - No Gym Required!
*My guide was featured in Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine
One of the most common questions people ask me is how they can get 6 pack abs. Just like anything, you need to have the right tools to succeed. All you need is a yoga mat, a folded towel or something comfortable to lay on. No equipment or leaving the house required! Having a strong core not only looks and feels great, but it also has its benefits, especially for those who are active. A strong core improves performance, balance, and reduces your risk of injury.
For the best results you need a holistic approach. Ab exercises alone won't give you the visible 6 pack you want.
1) First and most important, is what you eat. This is key to optimize the effort you put into your workout. Aim to eat an unprocessed plant based whole foods diet, and avoid refined sugar and added salt. Some of my favorite foods are kale, quinoa, black beans, avocados, chick peas, flax seed oatmeal, bananas, and organic unsweetened soy milk, to name just a few!
2) The second key is cardio. You don't need to become a distance runner or become cardio obsessed. Adding just 30 minutes of high energy cardio 3-4 times a week with make a big impact.
3) Next, get plenty of sleep. Your body needs rest to recover and build muscle. Avoid triggers that disturb your sleep, like having caffeine after 4pm, and make sure to have rest days from your ab routine.
4) The final key to a great 6 pack is sticking to the 3 P's; Plan, Persist, Prevail. To keep motivated and consistent, you have to set goals and challenge yourself. Enjoy what you're doing, have fun!
The Ab Routine
I prefer to do a straight number of reps per exercise, for example, I like doing 100 in row, instead of breaking it up into several sets. I find that it works best because it really focuses in on the abs you're targeting and gets the burn. If you prefer sets, try starting with 3 sets of 20 reps. Increase that to 3 sets of 40 reps when you need a challenge, and then continue to increase your reps as your improve your ability and core strength.
TIP: My general rule is that when you feel like you can't possibly do anymore after your sets/reps, stop, take a deep breathe, exhale, then push out 30 more. The stronger you get, the higher this number should be. Set goals for yourself and push yourself to new limits!
1) Crunches - Works upper abs. Keep your elbows and chin up to avoid pulling on your neck, and to keep proper form. Advanced: to challenge yourself, lift your feet a couple inches from the floor and don't let them touch back down while you're doing the crunch. Or do a full situp, bringing your chest all the way up to your knees, and don't let your shoulders or feet touch the ground during each rep.
2) Vertical Leg Crunches - Works lower abs. Raise your hips towards the ceiling. Advanced: do a regular crunch at the same time.
3) Side Crunches - Works obliques. Make sure you don't pull on your neck. Do the same number of crunches on both sides. Advanced: straighten your legs, and lift your legs with each crunch.
4) Plank - Works obliques, upper, and lower abs. Keep your body straight and avoid dipping your hips too low or too high. Beginners, aim to hold for 30-90 seconds. For the more experienced, aim to hold for 4-5 minutes. The key here is to set goals and challenge yourself to keep beating your personal best. Advanced: hold up the left arm and right leg only, then switch.
5) Back Crunches - Works lower back. Do reps like the regular crunches, and also try doing static holds like the plank. Advanced: lift the left arm and right leg only, then switch.
Building a solid set of abs doesn't need to be complicated, it just takes persistence and consistency. Stick to this formula and you'll be on the right track to rocking a 6 pack!
Comment below if you need any tips or advice and I'll be happy to help you reach your goals.
- Anne-Marie Campbell, "Eat Kind Be Strong"