It’s familiar advice that achieving a six-pack is 30 per cent training, 70 per cent nutrition. But that doesn’t mean living off brown rice and whey. “After consistent ‘clean’ eating, your metabolism can slow down,” says personal trainer and body anatomy expert Joe Lightfoot. “One carb-heavy meal a week can kick-start your fat loss and refuel your energy.” So make Sunday your “more rice” day.
Start taking things to work. “Antilateral flexion movements, such as holding a heavy bag in one hand, work your abs because you’re forced to resist a side-bending motion,” says Lightfoot. “They also give a big metabolic hit.” Alternate your holding arm, and tense your abs as you walk. Add intensity by taking two steps at a time when climbing stairs. And try not to drop your bag.
“You need vitamin D to avoid muscle wastage and maintain fat burn,” says Lightfoot. He recommends dairy foods as a healthy source. Try one of Yoplait’s yogurts with up to 20 per cent of your recommended daily allowance in a single serving – you’ll save on empty calories from sugary desserts. Vitamin D also helps the body absorb calcium, which is vital for bone strength.
Train more of your core in half the time. Regular crunches put your abs through just half of their potential range of motion, but performing myotatic crunches lets you extend them fully, activating your hard-to-hit inner core, too. So try this: Lie on a Bosu ball with your knees bent. Crunch up and extend all the way back as you return, curving your spine. (But resist any temptation to trampoline.)
Exercise doesn’t have to involve hardcore gym sessions. “The key to maintaining a lean physique and developing visible abs is to increase non-exercise physical activity (or Nepa),” says Lightfoot. “Walk around during advertisement breaks during your favourite TV shows, park further away from destinations, use a shopping basket instead of a trolley, and always use the stairs.”