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Ripped, chiseled, dynamic, flat, rapid, sculpted, and a six-pack are all adjectives to describe someone else’s abdominal muscles. Whether it be for vanity or a health reason, and you are looking to “get ripped,” there are steps to consider before buying the newest or best ab machine on television. The first step to the desired end must be lowering your body fat percentage. If you do not work on reducing the size of your fat cells first, your hard work will be in vain.
Fat cells have a partially unfair and rather negative connotation. Fat is an integral part of our body and essential for survival. Fat cells are glycerol, acids, and water and can be solid or liquid. They are saturated, unsaturated, and monounsaturated and help control energy for your body. They aid in absorbing and digesting vitamins and regulating your body temperature. Fat cells expand to store energy for your body. They are suitable for your hair, skin, and eyes and regulate your metabolism. However, as with all things in life, anything in excess probably is not ideal for you. To achieve ripped abs, you need to try ridding yourself of the excess fat.
Essential body fat is necessary to maintain life and the body’s reproductive functions. Essential fat in women is approximately 8-12%, and 3-5% in men. A person’s body fat percentage is the percentage of total fat tissue compared to the body’s total weight. Some of this fat is essential in maintaining the body. The other is storage, which is the excess we are targeting. Several techniques for estimating body fat percentages are available, such as body mass index (B.M.I.), near-infrared interaction, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, expansions, body average density measurement, anthropometric methods, skinfold methods, and height and circumference methods. The old rule of thumb for women is that you should weigh 100 pounds for the first five feet and five pounds for every inch over five feet.
The cold, hard truth is that you must begin by restricting calories and exercising. If you have the same caloric intake but do not get as much exercise, the fat cells in your body expand, storing unnecessary energy for your body. Eating lighter and more often will help to shrink the fat cells. Your body will always have the same number of fat cells, but you shrink them when you diet and exercise, lowering your body fat percentage. Eat catabolic foods or foods that burn off more calories while breaking down. Vegetables and fruits are low in fat, contain water, have a high degree of fiber (raw), help burn fat, and suppress hunger. If you eat less but more often, you will increase your metabolism and burn fat more efficiently and continually. If you starve your body, you will defeat the purpose because the fat cells signal to the brain that you are hungry, and the fat cells begin to store again. Drink water continuously to shrink fat cells. Fat cells also store water, and if you do not supply it, the fat cells will retain moisture for your body and expand.
Cardiovascular exercise is most important for obtaining a low body fat percentage. Cardio exercise and interval training is the most effective way to see results. You can decide which exercises to do, but the key is raising your heart rate and keeping it elevated for some time. Also called aerobics, the movement’s name does not matter as much as how you exercise. The activity needs to boost your heart rate sufficiently and for a prolonged time. However, you should be able to carry on a conversation while doing these exercises. It is essential to consult either a doctor or a certified physical trainer for advice to shape a routine of activity that is right for you. Interval training uses both high and low-intensity cardiovascular exercises to reduce fat percentages. Ten to twenty minutes per day, to begin with, cutting your calories and drinking water should be a faster way to get rid of the storage of excess fat.
Just as you cannot climb a mountain by starting at the top, you need to address the body fat percentage excess before you can begin to see your beautiful abdominal muscles forming. It requires commitment, dedication, effort, persistence, and a lifestyle change, including limiting calories and regular exercise. Exercises are only practical if you do them, so finding something that you feel comfortable with is one of the first battles. Some people like to do activities with others; some do not. Some have classes available; others may not be able to afford to work out at a gym. If you want ripped abs, you will have to incorporate some cardiovascular exercise into your days to get the desired results.
A well-balanced diet is also crucial to body maintenance and lowering your body fat percentage. Eat smaller portions of each food group, emphasizing those foods rich in nutritional value and fiber. Fibrous foods expend more energy breaking down and decrease appetite signals to the brain. Have fewer portions more often during the day, keeping your metabolism and blood sugars balanced. Remember to drink water frequently and get plenty of rest. Lack of sleep and stress tell the body that you are hungry, and stress can also trigger unhealthy snacking. You may need the help of your loved ones also because while you are eating celery and carrot sticks, they may be tempting you with chocolates or cookies. You should not give up anything to eat, but if it is not visible, likely, you will not consider it a necessity.
Unfortunately, getting ripped abs is a lot of hard work, first lowering your body fat percentage and then focusing on the targeted areas of the muscle to be shaped. There is no quick, easy way to achieve this goal, and each person will have their journey, whether to look great on the beach or improve their overall health. It will take dedication to cut back and exercise faithfully, and it will not happen overnight. It takes a while for your fat cells to expand with excess body fat, and it will take as long and more extended to rid them of the excess. Examine your lifestyle and your goals, and evaluate if you can commit. It is a worthwhile endeavor and can be fun if you enter with the correct attitude.
David Grisaffi is a Sports Conditioning Coach and holds multiple certifications, including three from the prestigious C.H.E.K. Institute: Level II Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiologist, Golf Biomechanic, and Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach. He is also the author of the popular-selling e-book “Firm and Flatten Your Abs,” which teaches you how to develop a ripped abdominal region.