Many people want to know how to "get abs" ASAP.
"Getting abs" is primarily a result of removing the body fat covering the abdominal muscles. To lose that fat you need to create and sustain negative energy and fat balances long enough to melt that fat off your belly.
That means you have to eat less fat and food energy than you burn.
In 2017 reached my lowest body fat level and waist circumference since my late teen years using a hypercarnivore diet with specific guidelines, which I have called The Meat Belly Diet™. Basically, it consists of meat, milk/yogurt (or another source of calcium), eggs and small amounts of low sugar fruits or vegetables.
And you know what?
I did not do any "cardio" to get abs as shown above!
Most people use the term “cardio” to designate steady state aerobics, such as walking/jogging on a treadmill for 45 minutes several times weekly.
I don’t recommend this kind of “cardio” 3-4x weekly, because it isn’t necessary nor desirable. Endurance training is an undesirable stress on the body which reduces outcomes from resistance training. A meta-analysis of 21 studies evaluating the effects of concurrent aerobic and resistance training found that endurance training, particularly running, can interfere with strength and hypertrophy development via resistance training (study).
If you perform resistance training properly and 2-4 times weekly, you do not need additional aerobic training.
What is proper performance of resistance training?
When you train like this, every set loads your cardiorespiratory system just as effectively as interval sprinting. You can verify this simply by taking your heart rate. Basically, each 30-90 second set is comparable to a 30-90 second all-out run.
One study reported that sprint interval training consisting of 3 x 20-second all out sprints thrice weekly produces improvements in cardiometabolic health comparable to 45 minutes of continuous cycling at ~70% maximal heart rate thrice weekly (study).
In another study, sprint interval training consisting of 4 to 6 repeats of 30-second ‘all out’ cycling with a 4 minute rest between sprints, thrice weekly, produced improvements in endurance performance comparable to doing 90-120 minutes of continuous cycling at ~65% VO2 max thrice weekly (study).
Therefore we can expect that doing resistance training with 3-5 multi-joint exercises x 60-seconds each to failure, with up to 4 minutes rest between sets, thrice weekly will provide similar cardiorespiratory outcomes to doing ‘cardio’.
You will burn more fat recovering from a properly performed resistance training routine than you will in a typical “cardio” training session, and you will gain more fat-burning muscle if you refrain from energy- and time-consuming “cardio” so your body can devote itself to building muscle rather than recovering from repetitive steady-state activity.
That's the method I used to "get abs" as shown above.
If you just can’t drop the idea that you “need” some type of cardiorespiratory training other than properly performed strength training in order to "get abs", then I recommend doing brief high intensity sprint interval training after your lower body resistance training sessions, and only once or twice weekly.
Watch this video in which Tracy demonstrates effective, brief, evidence based sprint interval training. As already mentioned, this 8 minute interval training protocol has been shown to be just as effective for cardiorespiratory fitness as 45 minutes of steady state activity (study).
Sprint interval training should be done after your full body or lower body-only resistance training sessions. Doing endurance exercise after resistance exercise on the same day of training may have a beneficial effect on development of lower body strength (study), whereas doing sprints or endurance exercise first reduces your resolve and ability to do proper strength training.
There you have it, an efficient way to "get abs"!
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