Don’t you just hate it when you work your socks off at the gym and you still don’t have a six pack to show for?
If you are a gym goer, you would know that it is much easier to bulk up and increase your muscle mass than it is to sculpt an impressive six pack. It doesn’t matter how hard you workout and how disciplined you are with your training, your abs simply won’t show. Even those “tried and tested” programmes that “guarantee” you a six pack, don’t always seem to work.
It’s quite frustrating and on top of it, all that stress can be a contributing factor to your problem. Fear not – there is some (easy) damage limitation you can do to control it.
WHY STRESS IS BAD FOR YOUR ABS?
When you are stressed out (and let’s face it – that happens more often than you want it), your body releases cortisol. It’s a steroid hormone which is often referred to as “stress hormone”.
High doses of cortisol over a prolonged period of time result in fat storage and muscle breakdown – the last things you want to happen to you when trying to burn fat and show off your abs.
You don’t need me to tell you that fat is your abs’ biggest enemy. To make things worse, the male body functions in such a way that it stores its fat reserves around the middle, leaving your six pack hidden underneath it somewhere.
The less fat you carry (around your middle), the better the chance of having a six pack on show. Here’s how to keep your stress (and fat) levels under control:
5 SNACKS TO HELP YOU BEAT STRESS AND REVEAL YOUR ABS
They say abs are made in the kitchen, so here is a selection of five natural snacks that are guaranteed to help you calm down, and beat stress:
Vitamin C is “good for you” for many reasons and one of them is that it can help you reduce your stress levels. 100g of pineapples contain 47.8mg of vitamin C.
Pineapples also contain an enzyme called bromelain which helps break down food and reduces bloating. It also has natural anti-inflammatory functions which can aid fast recovery after a tough workout.
When you are stressed out, your metabolic rate rises too which in turn reduces your potassium levels. Potassium is responsible for sending oxygen to your brain. It also helps normalise your heart rate and it regulates the water balance in your body.
100g of bananas contain 358mg of potassium, so having a banana will help you balance your potassium levels and reduce your stress levels.
Remember the cortisol that your body releases when you are stressed out? Well, nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans and hazelnuts) help you maintain healthy levels of cortisone.
Nuts also help strengthen your immune system which high levels of cortisol weaken.
You know that green tea is a natural fat burner but its benefits don’t stop there. Green tea also reduces cortisol levels, relaxes your muscles and improves your mood by increasing the level of endorphins in your body.
Greek yogurt is rich in protein, calcium and potassium as well as other vitamins and minerals that are “good for you”. It gives your brain a sense of calmness and it is an effective stress-reliever.
If you want to supercharge your pot of Greek yogurt, add a handful of berries which are natural antioxidants and rich in vitamin C.
TIPS ON RELIEVING STRESS
If you are stressed but not in the mood to eat, these simple tips will help you calm down:
LISTEN TO MUSIC
Take a break and listen to some classical music. It has a calming effect and can reduce your blood pressure and cortisol levels.
TALK TO SOMEONE
You know what they say: “A problem shared is a problem halved.” A reassuring voice of a friend or a loved one can help you “work it out” and calm you down.
Watch your favourite comedy programme or find some funny videos on YouTube. That will give you a much needed boost of endorphins and it will decrease your cortisol levels. Laughter also tricks your brain into making you happy.
Endless reps of sit ups are not the answer to a washboard stomach. When it comes to sculpting your abs, your diet is more important. Make sure you eat properly, allow plenty of rest time between workouts and try to keep your stress levels to a minimum.
Download the Skinny Muscles free abs home workout routine below. Like, tweet or +1 to reveal the link – it’s that easy.