Frequently Asked Questions on How To Get Abdominal Muscles

Since I get so many questions on how to get abdominals, I decided to put together an Abdominals Q&A section in order to better help everyone achieve award-winning abs

Having said that, it must be mentioned that no matter how much abdominal training you do or how great your routines are, you will never achieve a nice ripped midsection unless you follow a clean diet consisting of the correct amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

Let’s answer some questions on abdominal training:

Question: I have been working out for over a year now in order to build my abdominals. I have lost a lot of weight but to no avail and now I just look thin. I need to know what I should do and eat to build my abdominals and gain muscle mass?

Answer: Getting great abdominals is a combination of the following factors:

1. A great diet consisting of (40% carbs, 40% proteins, 20% Good Fats) works best for the purposes of losing body fat. Carbs should come mainly from complex slow releasing sources such as oatmeal, grits, brown rice, sweat potatoes in combination with fibrous sources such as green beans and broccoli. Proteins should come from chicken, turkey, tuna, and lean red meats. Since you are focused on reducing body fat, dairy products and fruits need to be eliminated at this time, not because they are not healthy but due to the fact that the type of carbs contained in these foods may slow down fat loss.

2. A good weight training routine that has you in the gym for 45-60 minutes four to five times a week, with an abdominal program that is performed at least 3 times a week. 3.  Enough cardio built into the program to start the fat loss process and burn some extra calories. 20-30 minutes, 3 times a week at a challenging pace should start producing results. For those of us with a slower metabolism, we may need up to 45 minutes 6-7 times a week.

3.  Enough cardio built into the program to start the fat loss process and burn some extra calories. 20-30 minutes, 3 times a week at a challenging pace should start producing results. For those of us with a slower metabolism, we may need up to 45 minutes 6-7 times a week.

4. Finally, consume no more than your bodyweight x 12 in calories per day. On Sundays, increase this amount to 15 in order to increase the metabolism. Do the caloric increase in the form of carbs.

Question: Are there any supplements that I can take to get my abs?

Answer: If the advice provided in question #1 is not followed, then no supplements that you take may help you in your quest for good abs. However, assuming that you are following all of the advice provided above, there is a supplement that contains a great combination of appetite suppressing and metabolic stimulating ingredients. These ingredients can help improve your metabolism and help you in your quest for better abs.

Effective Fat Loss Supplementation

There are certain supplements that can be taken in order to offset the problems that arise when implementing a proper fat loss program and that can help you to increase thyroid function, increase energy, improve your mood, protect you from burnout, maintain mental clarity, reduce cravings, and of course, increase your metabolism and burn fat!

A) Supplements to Increase Thyroid Function and Metabolism

In order for a diet to be effective, one must ensure that thyroid function is at its optimal level.  A slow thyroid will lower your metabolism and make your dieting efforts futile bringing weight loss to a complete halt.  Therefore by using the two supplements below we ensure that our metabolism runs as efficiently as possible.

L-Tyrosine: This amino acid is a precursor (building block) to thyroid hormones, dopamine and also neurotransmitters like adrenaline.  Reducing caloric levels lowers L-Tyrosine in the body thus contributing to a slower metabolism and also less energy and mood swings.  Therefore, supplementing with this amino acid solves this problem.  In addition, Tyrosine also acts as a mild stimulant, has appetite suppressing properties, helps improve symptoms of depression, helps to fight mental fatigue and has been shown to reduce cortisol (the stress hormone that likes to feed from muscles while protecting body fat stores).  I’ve gotten great results just from this supplement by ingesting it 30 minutes before a workout with some caffeine.

Iodine: This is another essential supplement we must take in order to ensure the most optimal thyroid function and proper metabolism.  Low iodine levels stops the metabolism dead on its tracks as iodine is needed to produce thyroid hormones.  Research indicates that the amount of people with low intakes of iodine in the United States has increased dramatically.  Also, a lowered calorie diet that is low in salt can further contribute to low iodine.  Because of these reasons, I like to supplement my diet with some iodine.

B) Supplements to Increase Energy and Boost Metabolism

Lowered calories eventually lead to low energy levels.  Therefore I like to take these two supplements in order to continue to have high energy levels but also to increase the metabolism.

Caffeine Anhydrous is a central nervous stimulant that helps to increase energy levels, alertness, reduce fatigue and also to increase fat burning.  Caffeine in moderation will help to keep you going through the low energy periods caused by dieting and increase calorie burning by up to 13%.

Green Tea Extract with 50% EGCG & 98% polyphenols is proven to promote fat oxidation and improve metabolism significantly via sympathetic activation of thermogenesis.  It is also a super anti-oxidant that is many times stronger than antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables and provides more sustained energy and fat burning effects than caffeine.  Research conducted in Switzerland shows that men who consumed caffeine and green tea extract together burned more calories than those given only caffeine or a placebo.  In addition, the EGCG from Green Tea seems to help lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots, prevent heart disease and also fight cancer cells!

As if this would not be enough, EGCG has been shown in both animal and human studies to have a profound effect on making the body burn fat for energy and prevent body fat from being stored.  It seems that EGCG helps to suppress the enzymes that promote fat cell replication and the storage of excess calories into fat.  This is great news as what this means is that not only the amount of stored body fat goes down but also the number of fat cells as well!

C) Supplements to Uplift Mood, Memory and Mental Health (Nootropics)

The two supplements below that I am about to discuss are called Nootropics.  Nootropics are super cool nutrients that improve the functions and capacities of your brain, including mood, energy and appetite control.  Considering the fact that any good diet will have adverse effects on all of these factors, I would never consider dieting again without any of these two supplements listed below.

Thiamine Trisulfide Diisobutyrate is a derivative of vitamin B-1 (Thiamine) and is the only supplement known to cross the blood/brain barrier to boost the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is responsible for mental clarity and memory, appetite control, energy, mood and stress levels.  Taking this B-1 derivative also increases physical resistance to fatigue and helps to enhance concentration.

Bottom line is that even though dieting affects mood, memory, endurance and appetite in an adverse manner, T2D will reverse all of these adverse effects and make you feel happy, energetic and focused all day long while at the same time providing superb appetite control!

Rhodiola Rosea Extract is an adaptogen which has been shown to combat fatigue and the physical effects of stress and help to elevate mood and promote a feeling of well being. It also helps to boost mental function (enhancing memory and associative thinking even when sleep deprived) by increasing blood flow to the brain and helps to release fat from adipose tissue to be burned immediately for energy by activating hormone-sensitive lipase (an enzyme that breaks down stored fat).  On top of this, Rhodiola also helps to support the nervous system and reduce cortisol, a stress hormone that protects body fat from being burned and burns muscle, due to Rhodiola’s positive effect on mood.  As a matter of fact, these mood-enhancing effects are so pronounced that this herb has been shown to be very successful at fighting depression.

I also love the fact that this adaptogen is extremely powerful in terms of combating fatigue.  It has been tested extensively and shown to increase one’s ability to perform physical work and maintain focus and concentration over long periods of times.  As a matter of fact, some of the tests showing these positive effects were performed on night shift physicians and other night shift workers.  These are all effects that anyone can benefit from whether dieting or not!

Introducing XHILAR8™ – the World’s First Thermotropic™ Weight Loss Supplement

While you can get all of these supplements separately in order to create the ultimate mood/mental enhancing, appetite suppressing and fat burning stack, the cost would quickly add up as well as the number of different pills that you would need to ingest.  However, the research team of Labrada Nutrition has solved that problem by combining all of these ingredients in the exact ratios and quantities needed to exert the best fat burning, energy producing and mood enhancing effects in one product called XHILAR8™.  XHILAR8™ is the world’s first Thermotropic™ Weight Loss Supplement!

What is a thermotropic?  Simply stated:

Thermotropic = Fat Burner + Nootropic

XHILAR8™ combines all of the powerful fat burners and nootropics (“smart nutrients”, which improve the functions and capacities of your brain, including mood) mentioned above in a formula that contains just a small amount of caffeine; much less than the amount found in most weight loss products.  XHILAR8™ contains a unique blend of all of the supplements discussed above which work synergistically with the nootropic ingredients, resulting in a powerful energy boost for improved mood, performance and maximum calorie burning without excessive use of stimulants that make you jittery, irritable and ultimately burn you out.

If you use XHILAR8™ you will experience:

• Improved mood, energy and focus.
• Improved mental capacity.
• Reduced cravings and suppressed appetite.
• Faster metabolism and increased fat burning capacity.

And you get all of this without any jitters or subsequent energy crash!  I love it because it gives me steady energy, suppresses my appetite and gets me in a really good mood all day long. I also seem to be more focused and able to work harder all day long.

I guarantee you that if you use XHILAR8™, sticking to a fat loss program could not be any easier and the results obtained will increase TENFOLD!  Add XHILAR8™ to your fat loss program today and a Lean Body can be yours in no time.

Question: I cannot get rid of my lower ab fat and love handles. Is there any exercise that I can do to get rid of them?

Answer: While leg raise-type of exercises will work your lower abs, and twisting crunches will work your sides, these exercises only firm up and build up these muscles. In order to get rid of your lower ab fat and love handles you just need to lose enough body fat to where the fat on this area is burned as well. Typically, this type of fat is the last to go so for women to lose it they need to go down to 12-13% body fat and males down to 6-7% body fat. Having said that, you’re cardiovascular and nutrition programs will play a huge role in helping you burn that stubborn fat.

Question: Do weighted ab exercises give you a bloated stomach?

Answer: Adding weight to abdominal exercises will not give you a bloated stomach look. Instead, by adding weights you will target the fast twitch muscle fibers in the abs and thus create a six-pack with deeper groves in between.

Note: What Is A Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber? It is generally accepted that there are two basic types of muscle fibers. Slow twitch (Type I) muscle and fast twitch (Type II) muscle fiber. Fast twitch fibers can be an asset to a sprinter when there is a limited amount of time to generate maximal force. The slow twitch fibers, on the other hand, fire less rapidly, but can go for a long time before they fatigue.

However, beware of using heavy weights when training the obliques unless you want big sides and a wide waist. Obliques respond well to heavy training, so please do not make the mistake of training them with heavy weights and low reps as this will kill your V-taper.

Question: Are higher repetitions best for getting your abs?

Answer: Initially, ab training should just consist of two to three movements at the most, performed for 2-3 sets of as many good repetitions as the person can do with his/her bodyweight. As time goes by and one progresses, more sets can be added and repetition parameters can also be manipulated by adding weights to some exercises in order to target the fast twitch muscle fibers in the abs and thus create a six pack with deeper groves in between.

So to answer the question, a repetition range between 6-25 works best. However, sometimes to shock the muscle, I may do as much as 100 reps for certain exercises but may only do this for a week.

Question: How often should I train my abs for best results?

Answer: While many advanced bodybuilders and figure girls can train their abs every day for a short period of time in order to shock the body part, this typically will lead to overtraining if continued for too long.

Therefore, unless you are doing upper abdominals one day and lower the next, you are better off training your abdominals for no more than 20 minutes at a time, 3 times per week on alternating days, as in Mon/Wed/Fri or every other day at the most (thus one week you will train them four times and the next 3 times).

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2 Responses for Frequently Asked Questions on How To Get Abdominal Muscles

  1. September 3, 2009 2:21 pm

    I was very close to having plastic surgery on my stomach (tummy tuck), the plastic surgeon said that i had severe diastasis recti, my recti muscles were very seperated in the center, I push my fingers inbetween them when I lift up lets say when completing a crunch, he indicated the only way to fit them was surgery. Is there any way I can correct the recti muscles on my own without surgery.

  2. Adam K


    September 3, 2009 9:12 pm

    I love all your blogs Hugo, but I don’t agree with cutting out fruit to help you loose weight. I think there is a right time to consume fruits high in sugar like grapes, strawberries, cherries, pineapple, etc — and that’s immediately after a workout with a protein shake when glycogen levels are most depleted, and I also think that apples can be eaten with any meal in the day.

    I do agree with your point about dairy products — remember what Ahnold says, “Milk is for babies”!