The Best Way to Get Rock-Hard Abs for the New Year

We know that getting rock-hard abs is a combination of hard work and healthy nutrition. That hard work comes from inside as well as outside of the gym. All strength training helps build lean muscle while keeping the metabolism elevated. All of the core exercises obviously helps too. But the real work they say comes from inside the kitchen.

You are what you eat, sure. You may be able to get away eating unhealthy at times when you’re young. But as you age, you can’t hide behind the benefits of youth. One of the keys is to be really aware of what you put into your body to keep it fueled. One of the biggest culprits in helping to avoid getting ripped abs is added sugar.

First, Know the Difference Between Natural & Added Sugars

One of the first steps on the nutritional side of things is to understand the nuances of added sugar. To begin with, fruit does contain sugar (in the form of fructose) but it’s natural. The source of sugar found in fruit is fructose. As mentioned, fruit contains natural sugar as opposed to added sugar or sugar alcohols. One key ingredient found in fruit is fiber. Basically, fiber slows down the speed of glucose entering into the blood stream. As a result, it won’t raise blood sugar level quickly. When you eat a candy bar, though, which has no fiber and is loaded with added sugar, your glucose level will spike. In fact, the body releases insulin from the pancreas to bring down the glucose level. “The amount of insulin released usually matches the amount of glucose present.” This is important to understand. If this happens often throughout the day, there is a high probability that the body will begin store more body fat as a direct result.

Foods Containing Natural Sugar
  • Fruit
  • Milk
  • Dairy Products
  • Vegetables
  • Greek Yogurt
Examples of Foods with Added Sugar
  • Candy, Cookies, Pies and Sweets
  • Gatorade & other sports drinks (read their food labels)
  • Yogurt (other than plain)
  • Processed meats
  • Basically anything out of a can, package or box
  • Chocolate Milk (if you drink it – use it post workout)
  • Breakfast cereals

Secondly, Have an Idea of What Sugar Alcohols Are

Many people consume a high percentage of sugar (carbohydrates) over the course of three meals during their waking hours. Now that you have a better understanding on fruit and natural sugar, let’s look at the differences between added sugar and sugar alcohols.

Added Sugar

Added sugar is in 74 percent of all packaged foods. Think about that for a moment. In order to make foods low fat, many of the food companies replace added fat with added sugar. Highly processed foods also contain dopamine which is why you crave more of certain food like potato chips. Americans currently eat about 76 pounds of different forms of sugars each year. Even though we have seen a 15 percent decrease in added sugar consumption since 1999, according to government data, the typical person still eats about 94 grams (or 375 calories) on a daily basis (U.S. Department of Agriculture). Lastly, Dr. Robert Lustig, author of Fat Chance, and his colleagues, have shown through their research that every additional 150 calories (38 grams) of added sugar consumed above daily requirements, was associated with a 1.1 percent increase risk of type 2 diabetes.

Sugar Alcohols

Added sugar and sugar alcohols are carbohydrates but with slightly different chemical makeups. Sugar alcohols are considered less sweet and contain fewer calories than sugar; they affect blood sugar levels less significantly. They are also known as polyols, which are ingredients used as sweeteners and sugar replacers. If you have diabetes you want to stay clear of sugars and lean towards sugar alcohols …if you must. Keep in mind they may also cause bloating and an upset stomach in some people. Best advice, stay clear of all three forms of sugar.

Thirdly, Stay Up to Date with the Research

review of observational studies published in Journal of the American Medical Association has shown that increased fruit consumption is tied to lower body weight and a lower risk of obesity-related diseases. Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, report the perfect combo of two fruit servings and three vegetable servings each day will add years to the human lifespan! A by-product of the study resulted in a new phrase known as the “5-a-day mix.”

Two large European studies published by the British Medical Journal found positive associations between consumption of highly processed foods and risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Results showed that higher consumption of ultra-processed foods (more than 4 servings per day) was associated with a 62 percent increased risk of all cause mortality compared with lower consumption (less than 2 servings per day). For each additional serving of ultra-processed food, mortality risk relatively increased by 18 percent.

You may wonder why your abs are not showing as much as you would like, especially since you’ve been hitting the gym every other day for months now. A research study at the University of Massachusetts, in 1984, looked at various fitness outcomes of subjects who performed 5,000 sit-ups over the course of a month. This equated to performing hundreds of sit-ups on a daily basis. It wasn’t enough to lose abdominal fat though. The subjects, a group of college students, had body measurements taken as well as a muscle biopsy procedure. The subjects body fat didn’t change; not even an inch was lost around the abdominal area by the end of the study. In the end, they had much stronger abs but their body fat and girth remained unchanged.

Final Thoughts

Hitting the gym to work your body and core is great, so keep it up. The key, however, is to really focus on what you’re putting into your body, on a daily basis, to fuel it. Moving forward, think of yourself as a high performance athlete. Ask yourself before eating something – is this food the best option to fuel my performance? Next, put yourself on a daily budget when it comes to added sugar. Men should eat no more than 150 calories a day (38 grams) of added sugar, while women should be more in the area of 100 calories a day (25 grams). Finally, reduce or eliminate highly process foods from your diet. This is what ultimately drives the reduction of fat stored around the midsection.

Stay Strong Together

Jefit is an advanced strength training planning & tracking app. It helps all gym goers and athletes alike keep on track with their fitness goals. The app has the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community. It also has the largest exercise library that includes weight training, flexibility and cardio exercises.

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