Abs. We love them. You love them. We all want them (we think . . .), but sometimes they can be hard to achieve or reveal. Are you struggling? You're not alone. There's no magic pill for abs, but that would be pretty sweet. Until said magic pill is invented (fingers crossed), you need to focus on some details of your health and wellness routine to get the results your six-pack-loving heart so desires.
Word to the wise — healthy eating and strength training (with proper form) play major roles in your ab journey. Incorporating these five tips are paramount to your muscular success.
You're Mimicking Movement, Not Focusing on Muscle
You can do all the crunches in the world, but if you're not doing them properly, you're not going to notice a difference. Trainer JayDee Cutting III told POPSUGAR, "Focus on the muscle, not the movement." This means oftentimes we're so focused on trying to imitate an instructor, we don't pay any mind to the muscle itself, which is where you're going to see the most results. Focus on tightening your core when you're working out to intensify the burn and ensure proper form. You will be pleased with the results.
You're Only Doing Cardio
If you're a cardio bunny but haven't started doing any kind of resistance training, you're not going to have any kind of muscle definition. So despite the fact that you might be lean, you won't have a lot of ab to show for all your hard work.
It's time to start lifting weights. Not only does weight lifting boost your metabolism and help you lose weight, but it's a surefire way to create muscle definition and strength.
You Have Some Fat to Lose
If you've been struggling with excess belly fat, you're not going to see your abs until it goes away. Are you stressed? cortisol — a stress-released hormone — can cause you to store more belly fat. Make sure you're properly cooling down from your workouts and eliminating sources of stress in your life.
You Haven't Found the Kitchen
Speaking of which, we're sure you've heard the term "abs are made in the kitchen," which leaves many of us thinking — what kitchen? Where it at? Whose house? Can we come? Are they free?
As Barry's Bootcamp trainer Erica Stenz told us, "eat clean, train mean." You can't exercise away a bad diet (but wouldn't that be nice?). To ensure that you're nourishing your muscles, burning fat, and maintaining a healthy weight, you need to focus on optimizing your nutrition. As The Biggest Loser's Jen Widerstrom told POPSUGAR, "One day of quality eating is like two weeks of workouts."
This doesn't mean ditch all your favourite treats and go gung-ho on a superrestrictive diet — just be more mindful of your choices, and opt for cleaner foods as much as possible. Find what works for you and your needs.
Your Posture Is Lacking
Did you know your posture can help define your abs? The way you sit, stand, and even carry yourself in a fitness class can determine how defined your midsection is.
Pop Physique founder and professional dancer Jennifer Williams told us that "pulling in your abdominals throughout your waking hours will bring so much strength to core muscles" and will help create a tighter, more defined tummy.