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Most men crave a washboard stomach so they can show them off but for Muay Thai world champion Ole Laursen, strong abs serve a more practical function. Nicknamed "Iron Fist", Laursen says, “Anyone who has ever taken a hard shot to the stomach, be it a knee, a kick or a punch, will tell you that it is not fun, and if you are going to do a fight you need that layer of muscle as a bit of insurance.”
The 33-year-old (left in main picture) is one of the headliners competing in the One Fighting Championship on September 3rd . This mixed martial arts (MMA) tournament is touted as Asia's Greatest Battle of Champions with the region's best fighters competing under one roof at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Besides beefing up his defense, a tough mid-section plays another crucial role in the ring for Laursen. "I also generate a lot of power from that area, it’s almost like the core of my body, so it needs to be strong just so I can throw my strikes with real power and speed," he explains.
Gaining that six-pack did not come overnight and the Legacy Gym fighter attributes his chiselled physique to a disciplined fitness regimen. "For me, being in great shape has never been about looking good, it’s always been about getting fit in order to fight," Laursen emphasises. But he jokes, “I suppose the fact that a six-pack looks good doesn't do me any harm either. But I always try and keep my shirt on when I go out so I don't see how a girl is ever going to know whether I have a six-pack or not, unless I decide to tell her!”
Ole Laursen's Six-Pack Secrets
1. Cardio to keep the weight off
For me keeping my weight down is very important and that means lots and lots of running, at least an hour a day. I don’t think there is any substitute for running, you can try a bit of skipping and cycling as well, but running is like the building blocks behind any workout. It’s the best way to lose weight and it also gives you a good base of overall fitness.
I also do lots and lots of sit ups, at least 500 a day. If you do the sit ups but not the running, you develop strength but you don’t lose weight, so you might have a fantastic six-pack but noone is going to see it because it is hidden by your enormous belly! That’s why heavyweight boxers sometimes look a bit out of shape, because they focus on building strength but not on losing weight.
2. Re-fuel after training
After every workout I have a protein shake, this is really important because it provides the fuel which those muscles need to grow. I also watch what I eat and tend to focus on lean meats and rice and obviously avoid alcohol.
3. Add variety to your training
My advice to anyone looking to get a six-pack is to try and mix it up as much as possible. Even if you are at home in your room with no gym machinery, you still have plenty of options: One day, do normal sit ups. The next day, try doing leg-raisers, where you lie flat on your back, hold your legs together and lift them up and down. The next day, try doing leg-crosses, lying flat on your back, raising your legs above the ground crossing them over and under each other alternatively.
You can also lie flat on your back and ‘bicycle’ your legs as it you were riding a bike, or do ‘crunches’, there’re loads of different exercises and they all work in slightly different ways. If you do the same one every day it will become less effective; variety is really important.
It’s also not a good idea to focus on just one area of the body. All muscles are interconnected so even if your sole fitness goal is to get a six-pack you still need to do other types of exercises. Seriously, when it comes to fitness and exercise, there are no shortcuts. It’s a cliché but you definitely do get out what you put in, although you should still be intelligent with your choice of exercise.
Catch Ole Laursen in action at the One Fighting Championship on September 3rd, Singapore Indoor Stadium. Visit www.onefc.com for fight and ticket details.