A man doing reverse crunches
How to maintain your six pack abs

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here is no point in working out and dieting to achieve a six pack and then just stop, convinced that you have done enough. If you are lucky, you may get away with it for a few weeks. In most cases, you won’t and will need to know how to maintain your six pack abs in order to keep them in shape and on show (if you so chose) for years to come.

Instead of going back to square one and start over every time you lose your shape, it’s much easier to carry out some maintenance work. It doesn’t have to be intense but you still need to put the effort in. Here’s how to do it.

TRAIN LESS

Even if you are happy with the results, you still need to workout in order to maintain the shape and definition of your body (not just your abs). That’s the bad news. The good news is that you don’t have to train as hard as you did.

You can cut your routine down to two or three days a week. If you are doing weight training, you need a minimum of three days a week in order to benefit from it. Do six to eight reps in order to maintain your muscle mass.

CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE

It’s also a good idea to change your routine. There is little point doing the same exercises again and again. You will get bored and your muscles will get used to the exercises. Even though you are in “maintenance mode”, your muscles still need stimulation.

Do full body workouts and incorporate dumbbells, barbells and even a medicine ball into your routine. Involve more than one muscle group in your sessions. Do press ups, push ups, barbell squats and lunges.

KEEP UP WITH THE CARDIO

Congratulations on managing to lower your body fat to a level which allows your abs to show. Don’t get too cocky about it though. You still need to do your cardio if you want to keep it that way. A walk in the park won’t do, especially if you are prone to storing fat faster than others.

Do HIIT sessions twice a week to make sure your six pack abs stay defined and on show.

DIET

Your diet is still a key player in the six pack abs game. Go back to your pre-abs eating habits and you will soon pay the price. Remember to eat plenty of protein, good carbs and stay hydrated. Stay away from refined sugars, processed fats and anything else you haven’t touched during your abs-sculpting diet.

Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks at all costs. Eat a good portion (fist size) of protein with each meal and plenty of vegetables and fruit throughout the day. Leave the carbs for dinner and pre-bed snack.

It’s not really a rocket science to put one and one together, and work out that you can’t expect to still have a six (or more) pack without making the effort to maintain it. It takes a long time to achieve and the process doesn’t stop there. Just be sensible and eat clean, workout and do your cardio.

It’s also a good idea to have a break from exercising and dieting after 12 weeks. It gives your body the chance to adjust and recharge before you take your routine to the next level.

[quote_box_center]If there’s anything else you do or have a view on how to maintain your six pack abs, please feel free to share it with us.[/quote_box_center]