One of the most common questions my clients ask me is “how can I get my abs to show?” Lots of guys and girls want visible abs…but getting them can be very difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing.
In this AskTheTrainer.com post, I’ll show you the five WORST mistakes that I’ve seen people at the gym making when trying to get abs. I’ll also show you how to avoid each one, and what to do instead so you get your six pack abs as fast as possible.
Mistake #1: Thinking That Eating Fat Makes You Fat
The first thing that most people do when trying to lose their belly and get abs is to cut all the fat out out their diet. But this is actually a HUGE mistake.
We’ve all been taught things like “eating fat is bad for you” and “eating fat makes you fat.” But the truth is, all fat is not the same. Natural fats are good for you and an essential part of a healthy diet….where else processed fats is unhealthy and causes you to gain fat.
The good fats and the ones you need are foods like coconut oil, almonds, nuts, pecans and walnuts. Olive oil is also one of the absolute must when it comes to healthy fats. Animal fat from whole cuts of meat is also good in moderation.
The type of fat that you must avoid is processed fats — the greasy fats from foods like fries, burgers and pizza. These types of fat are more difficult for your body to convert into energy, and are more likely to be stored as fat in your body.
So if you want to get abs, make sure that you include healthy, natural fats as part of your diet. Focus on avoiding unhealthy processed fats to get those abs to show.
Mistake #2: Thinking You Can Get Abs Through Diet Alone
The second mistake people make is thinking that they can get abs through changing their diet ALONE.
Now, don’t get me wrong…diet is an important part of getting six pack abs. And even if you only start to eat healthy and don’t work out at all…you’ll get far better results than if you had done nothing.
But the truth is, you’ll get much better results (and much faster results) if you use both follow both an exercise and nutrition program to get your abs.
Why is this? Well, diet can only do so much. Lifting weights will cause your body to build lean muscle, gaining muscle will increase your metabolism and increasing your metabolism causes you to burn more calories and fat.
So remember — if you want to get the fastest results combine BOTH a diet and exercise program. You’ll see better results with your body, and the results will come faster. And in my opinion, doing things this way will also be EASIER for you than just dieting alone since you will be able to eat more and still lose weight.
Mistake #3: Thinking That Long, Slow Cardio Will Get You Ripped
The third mistake is thinking that long, slow cardio training is the key to losing your belly fat and getting six pack abs.
This is VERY surprising for some people, because cardio is so popular and you always see lots of people doing it at the gym. And we’ve all been told that cardio workouts burn lots of calories.
And it is true that cardio workouts burn lots of calories — while you are doing them. However, there are other types of workouts that not only burn calories directly, but which also indirectly burn calories through increasing your metabolism.
Your metabolism is the number of calories your body burns each day to maintain itself, whether you exercise or not. The more lean tissue you have on your body, the more calories your body requires to keep you going.
The problem with doing cardio exercises is that cardio does not build muscle. This means that although you burn calories directly from your workout, your metabolism does not increase.
However, there is another type of training that both allows you to burn calories directly, AND to build muscle from your workouts. In the long term, the increase in your metabolism this muscle gain causes actually causes you to burn far more calories from this type of workout than you would through cardio. It doesn’t happen overnight, but over time it adds up to a lot of extra calories and fat burned.
What I recommend to my clients instead of long, slow cardio is a training program consisting of two things:
A weightlifting program focused mainly on heavy, compound lifts (lifts like bench press, squats, etc.)
A short, high intensity bodyweight cardio program (3-5 minutes per workout.)
With a program like this, you’ll still be burning lots of calories directly from your workouts. But even more importantly, you’ll also be building muscle. That means that you’ll burn more calories every day through your metabolism — which is the key to losing your belly fat and getting abs.
Mistake #4: Thinking Supplements Are The Key To Six Pack Abs
The fourth mistake is thinking supplements are the key to getting the ripped body and six pack abs that you want.
I personally made this mistake BIG TIME when I was first learning how to get in shape. I spent hundreds of dollars a month on various supplements that all promised to be the key to getting in shape. I fell for all the hype in the ads…but I always found that I was disappointed after using them for a few months.
The truth is, if your workouts and diet are good then supplements can help a little. But no matter what supplements you are taking, you will never get in good shape without having the right diet and workout routine. All that supplements can do is to make a body built by good habits slightly better.
In addition to this, MOST supplements have been scientifically proven to have no effectiveness whatsoever. Unless you regularly spend hours reviewing studies and articles in scientific journals like I do, it’s very tough to tell which ones work and which ones don’t. If you’re not doing this research, chances are most of the supplements you spend your money on in the past actually did nothing.
Not only do supplements waste your money, they also waste your time and distract your focus from the things that truly matter. Almost everyone would be better off to put all of their time and focus in their workout and diet, because small improvements in these areas can produce far more results in your body than any supplement.
So don’t spend too much time or money on supplements when you’re trying to get in shape. Instead, use all of the time and focus you have to improve your workouts and diet. These things aren’t as novel or exciting as supplements — but they are the only things that will allow you to get the six pack abs you want.
Mistake #5: Thinking You Need Complex Equipment Or Gadgets To Get Abs
The fifth mistake is thinking you need complex equipment or gadgets to get abs.
I fell into this trap myself. In fact, I can remember one piece of equipment I bought that completely embarrassed me. I bought this electronic “ab belt,” and I was walking around my house with this electronic ab belt strapped to my waist shocking me every few minutes. Here I was a guy with a big belly sitting on my sofa trying to ‘’shock’’ my abs into appearing. Even though I hoped it would get me ripped with no effort like the infomercial promised…after a while I had to admit it wasn’t doing much.
So I looked into why ab gadgets aren’t effective for burning your belly fat, and here’s what I found out…
There are some ab gadgets (like the electronic ab belt I bought) that simply do nothing. Any piece of equipment that promises that you can get ripped with no exercise at all probably falls into this category.
But most exercise equipment out there actually does require you to do some exercise, and does have some effectiveness. However, what most people don’t realize is that exercising with free weights and bodyweight exercises is actually much more effective than using complex exercise equipment.
This is because you will burn more calories exercising with free weights or bodyweight than you would with exercising with machines. The reason why is that these machines totally remove the stabilization aspect of an exercise and lock you into one pattern of movement.
Stabilizing your body naturally during an exercise allows much more calories to get burned during your workout. This means that you’ll burn your belly fat faster, which is the key to getting those six pack abs you want.
So if you’re really serious about losing your belly fat and getting abs, don’t waste your time with ab gadgets and complex equipment. Instead, focus on basic exercises with free weights and body weight. Not only will you save a boatload of money, but you’ll also get your six pack abs much faster if you do this.
5 Mistakes People Make When Trying To Get Abs: Final Thoughts
Those are the five most common mistakes I’ve seen people make when trying to get abs, and how to avoid each one.
If you’d like to learn more about the workout and eating plan that I personally used to get abs — and that I’ve used to get hundreds of my clients abs as well — check out more free videos posted on my website!