First of all, just know that this article isn’t about ab exercises to get you a 6-pack. But, I’m sure you know that based on the title.
While it’s great to do core work, and you should be doing it, I want to talk about how you should structure your diet so you can burn fat, get lean, and get those abs to POP.
If you want your abs to show, you really need to get lean.
You’ll most likely have to lose more weight than you’ve ever lost before.
Burning body fat and getting lean is NOT an easy process. If you’re like me, you’ll start to feel too small during the diet and you’ll be tempted to end it.
But, perhaps you’re not like me and you don’t see yourself that way. That’s great! Keep dieting and losing weight until you’ve got those 6-pack abs.
Another quick note: you don’t need cardio to lose weight. It definitely helps along with a weightlifting routine, but it’s not required.
The next common problem you may run into while losing weight is the so-called starvation mode your body falls into.
While the actual starvation mode people talk about isn’t what’s actually happening, your metabolism definitely slows down as you get skinnier and skinnier.
The way you counter this is through the foods you put into your body: the proteins, the carbs and the fats. Protein is, by far, the MOST important macro you’ll be eating.
Setting Up Your Calories For Fat Burning
First things first, you need to understand how weight loss works. It truly is a scientific process. Once you understand this, you’ll have diet down to a science.
So, what causes weight loss?
I’m glad you asked! It’s your bodies ability to burn more calories than you consumed in a 24 hour period.
Sometimes your bodyweight will fluctuate day to day, but generally speaking you will burn fat and lose weight when in a caloric deficit.
Burning enough fat off your body is how you’ll get to a lean enough state so your six pack shows without you flexing. Depending on how much body fat you have, this process can take several months.
Therefore, the first task to do is to figure out how many calories you need per day to lose anywhere from 1-3 pounds per week. The more you weigh, the more weight you’ll be able to lose in the beginning.
But, as you get leaner, you’ll find it more difficult to lose weight. Once you drop below 15% body fat, you’ll want to limit your weight loss to no more than 2 pounds per week.
If you go more aggressive than this, you risk giving in to cravings and losing muscle mass. This is the last thing you want to do! You want to keep as much muscle as possible as you lean down.
To figure out how many calories you should eat per day to lose weight, multiply your body weight by 11.5. This is a good starting point. I don’t recommend going lower than this number.
As long as you’re eating plenty of protein per day, you should be able to burn body fat. Increasing protein is key. Most people undereat this macronutrient.
What’s The Best Time To Eat?
There are several diets out there that suggest various times of the day to eat. The popular intermittent fasting diet suggests you only eat during an 8 hour eating window.
Some people will fast for 4+ hours when they wake up before eating.
Others will eat small meals and snacks throughout the day with a focus on simply hitting their daily calories and macros.
The truth is that this is entirely dependent in what works best for you. You can make arguments for any of these diets. But, I have found that it’s best for you to pick the one that works for you.
I personally enjoy fasting for a few hours because I don’t like eating right when I wake up. It doesn’t sit in my stomach right. I like coffee on an empty stomach.
So, eat when you want. The most important thing is that you aren’t going over your daily calorie limit. Make sure you’re tracking your foods with the MyFitnessPal app. It’s the best one out there.
What Are The Best Foods To Eat?
It’s hard to make an argument about the foods to eat. Science suggests that it really doesn’t matter what you eat since at the end of the day, a calories is a calorie.
With that said, you definitely want to eat a high protein diet. A lack of protein will make it extremely difficult for your body to hold onto any muscle mass you have.
This is important because dieting can be very difficult on your lean muscle mass. A lack of protein will cause your body to feed off of your muscle instead of your fat.
By eating enough protein, your body will hold onto the muscle you’ve built and tap into your fat stores instead.
Therefore, head on over to Costco and stock up on protein bars and shakes. They have a good selection that I personally enjoy.
One shake and one bar can get you up to 60 grams. Depending on your weight, 60 grams can be more than half of what you need to sustain your lean mass.
Fill in the rest of your protein with a couple of meals and you’re set. You can also have another protein shake if needed.
As for fats and carbs, try to keep these healthy. I enjoy fruits, vegetables and rice for my carbs.
Eggs are a great source for fats. Olive and coconut oils, almonds, cheese, whole milk (lactose free) are other foods I eat to get my fats in for the day.
Remember: it’s all about the total calories you eat everyday and eating a good amount of protein.
When you’re eating the right way, your metabolism will speed up and you’ll become a fat burning machine.
It takes time to get the 6-pack body. Don’t expect it to come within a few weeks. This is the Lean Warrior lifestyle. It takes time.
Dedicate 12 weeks to healthy eating. If you’re still not lean after 12 weeks, take a break and give your body some rest.
Have a week or two of cheat meals. You’ll gain a few pounds but it’s okay. You’re armed with the knowledge to lose the weight quickly when you head back into your dieting phase.