You must have heard the old saying that “abs are made in the kitchen” over and over again. Whoever came up with it was very right, right? Well, almost. The more I look into it, the more I realise that abs are revealed in the kitchen. If you are also struggling to reveal your abs, here are six food hacks for six pack abs.
“If hunger is not the problem, then eating is not the solution.”
My trainer keeps telling me that I need to eat six small meals packed with protein, low in carbohydrates and garnished with plenty of green vegetables a day. That coupled with core training every other day and plenty of cardio is the “secret” to six pack abs. Sounds easy but I find the eating part particularly difficult and that’s why I came up with these food hacks to help me on my journey to six pack abs.
1. Clear your fridge and cupboards
It’s obvious but your first step really ought to be temptation elimination. Go through your cupboard and get rid of all the chocolate bars and sugary snacks you love so much. It’s hard but it’s for a good cause. Saying goodbye to all that sugar is not only good for your abs but for your health too.
Have a sugar-fuelled chocolate/sweets/candy snacks binge if you find it difficult to part with your precious stash. It’s likely to make you sick and help you realise that too much of what you fancy is not good for you.
Don’t stop there. Go to your fridge and make sure you clear out all alcohol and any food items that you know are bad for your abs and muscles in general. Things like cheesecake, pizza, ready-made meals etc. Feel free to have one last binge on them if it helps you cope getting rid of them.
It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway: don’t go to the shop buying the same stuff!
2. Swap fruit for vegetables
Fruit is good for you, well it’s better than chocolate and sweets/candy but it still has sugar in it. Try to limit yourself to just one piece of fruit per day. No more! Feel free to add blueberries and other berries to your oats but only about 8 of them.
I used to add half a packet of blueberries and raisins to my oats in the morning and yes, it tasted amazing but I never thought about the extra calories that came with it. I also used to eat 8 oranges a day plus an apple and a banana.
Just by eating all these extra pieces of fruit (oranges, apple and banana), I was consuming 136g of carbohydrates and 543 calories extra each day. I never even thought about it until my trainer mentioned it to me. Needless to say that I don’t eat any of them now. I still put blueberries and raisins in my oats but I limit myself to 8 of each.
A much better alternative is to swap your fruit for kale, spinach, broccoli, cucumber and any other green vegetables you like. That way, you still get plenty of nutrients in your diet but you don’t have to fear the extra carbohydrates and calories.
3. Swap fast food for healthy fats
This one is a no-brainer too. Even if you are not eating any junk meals and takeaways, you need to supply your body with the healthy fats. Try to add avocado or peanut butter to your diet. Do it in moderation though.
I normally add half an avocado to my salads or have it on a piece of rye bread with scrambled eggs. I don’t particularly like peanut butter but when I have it, I spread it on rye bread and have it with scrambled eggs or spread it on wraps.
4. Swap fizzy drinks and alcohol for still water
Fizzy drinks (or soda if you are one of our American readers) are loaded with sugar – even the “diet” ones – and they also leave you feeling bloated. The alcohol is just empty calories. It may seem like a drastic step but you really must swap them for still water. You should be drinking plenty of water anyway.
If you find it difficult to drink just water, add lemon to it. That’s how I have it and that’s what helps me get through 2 litres of water a day.
5. Limit your protein shakes
Just like your other muscles, your abs need protein too. It’s almost the norm to have your protein from protein shakes and there is nothing wrong with that. Ideally you should get your protein from natural sources like poultry, fish, beef or their vegetarian/vegan alternatives.
We live in the real world and sometimes convenience takes priority. If you must rely on protein shakes, then at least make sure that they are not loaded with extra carbs and sugar. Check the labels and choose ones which are low in carbs. Order sample sizes and try them before you commit to the big bags.
6. Keep track of what you eat
Even if you are super disciplined and eat all the right foods at the right times, it’s still good idea to track your diet. There are many apps for that but my favourite one (and I think it’s also the most popular one too) is MyFitnessPal. The chances are, you already have it but don’t really use it. Get back on it and start tracking your macros.
Make a habit of entering your meals (snacks and drinks too) as you go as that will make you think twice before “rewarding” yourself with a chocolate bar/energy drink or a Starbucks.
Food hacks for six pack abs – summary
If you are anything like me and find it difficult to eat, let alone eat the right things, the chances are that you are not going to wake up one morning and start eating the right foods at the right times. That’s OK though. Take small steps and replace your bad eating habits gradually. It requires a lot of self-discipline and you are likely to encounter set-backs but don’t give up.
Start with the things that are easiest for you to give up and replace them with the “right” alternatives. In my case that was drinking water instead of alcohol and fizzy drinks (or soda if you are in the USA). Stick to these changes for a good few days and then use that as motivation to tackle the next bad habit. In my case that was cake (carrot cake and muffins lol). Again, stick to it for a while and use it as a stepping stone to the next change.
You are more likely to succeed if you looked at these six food hacks for six pack abs as a long-term lifestyle change. Set yourself a month (or however long you think you need) to make the transition and stick to it. Train your abs just as you train your other muscles, do plenty of cardio and you will begin noticing changes.
I am towards the end of these changes and I can feel my abs but they are still wrapped in a layer of fat which is about an inch thick. It’s a slow process for me but I am happy to take things steady and integrate them with my lifestyle rather than achieve results quickly and then go back to my old habits.
Please feel free to share your six food hacks for six pack abs with the rest of our community.