The first thing to recognize is that getting a ripped mid-section involves losing weight. In order to have highly defined looking abs, it is usually agreed that you need to drop your body fat to below ten per cent.
It is certainly true that getting your body fat that low will be sure to make your abs visible but actually, you don’t need to go that far.
Abs become visible when the amount of ‘padding’ (fat) on top of them is low enough that they can be seen pressing through the skin above. Get your body fat percentage under 10% and even the most undefined set of abs becomes visible.
However, if you want to get visible abs without going to this extreme, then the other option is to make your abs visible by making them stronger.
Stronger abs protrude further and so can be seen through 12 or even 15% body fat. We’ll look at how to get stronger abs in a little bit but for now, know that 12-15% is a much better target and far more achievable than aiming for 10%.
So how exactly do you go about losing that weight though? There are actually a number of answers and the best one is going to depend on your lifestyle and your preferred eating habits. More importantly: it will depend on your biology and your hormonal balance.
A lot of healthy experts and online ‘gurus’ will recommend that the best way to lose weight is to stick to a diet that is low in calories and then to combine this with extra activity. Extra activity will make you burn fat faster and if you aren’t consuming extra calories then this will create a deficit resulting in you quickly becoming slimmer.
To manage this then, all you need to do is to track the total number of calories you are consuming and then measure the total number of calories you burn off (your ‘Active Metabolic Rate’). As long as the latter is higher than the former, then you should maintain a ‘calorie deficit’ and your body will have no choice but to burn away the unwanted fat stores to keep you moving around.
You can measure your AMR using a number of calculations but actually a better option is to use a fitness tracker. This will take into account not only your height, weight and gender but also the amount of daily steps you take, your heart rate at any given time and a range of other metrics (such as exercise).
You can then track your calories consumed by using an app like MyFitnessPal. This will allow you to simply scan foods through your phone by using the barcode and to that way tally up the number of calories you are eating. Again, as long as the total burned is higher than the total eaten, your body should have no choice by to turn to your stored fat to burn for fuel.
Maintain this deficit every single day and you’ll be able to encourage gradual and regular fat loss.