By Julia Sparco
Elm Staff Writer
It is a goal of many people to have visible abs, be it as a result of staying in shape, wanting to be more attractive, or to feel good.
Surprisingly, achieving a six-pack does not require working out for several hours every day; improving diet, consistently exercising, and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle can get anyone closer to their goal of having abs.
“A strong core manifests itself differently in every body type, so people shouldn’t chase the unattainable 0% body fat version of abs and strive to be their own definition of fit,” senior captain of the Washington College women’s volleyball team Isabella Sansanelli said.
According to Healthline, “cardio is especially effective when it comes to reducing belly fat.” They recommend around 20-40 minutes of cardio three days a week to begin, but to increase cardio time each week for continuous improvement.
Cardio workouts can include walking, running, jogging, biking, and/or swimming.
Aside from cardio, targeting abdominal muscles directly when working out can be extremely beneficial.
According to the BetterHealth Channel, there are actually four muscles that make up the abdominal: the transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, external obliques, and internal obliques.
The rectus abdominis has “the characteristic bumps or bulges that are commonly called the ‘six-pack,’” but all four muscles should be worked for the best results.
Abdominal exercises can be sit-ups, planks, crunches, and/or russian twists.
“Planks are essential and a main exercise that I do when targeting my abdomen,” senior volleyball player Laura Cochrane said.
According to the BetterHealth Channel, Pilates and use of a stability ball can help target abs when working out without having to do strict ab workouts. BetterHealth states that “you can use exercise balls in a variety of ways to challenge balance, stability, and torso strength.”
To prevent injury, BetterHealth also recommends “regular stretching, warming up prior to exercise, and cooling down afterwards.”
Exercise aside, diet plays a very strong role in creating a healthy body and lifestyle.
According to Healthline, increasing protein can “promote weight-loss, fight belly fat and support muscle growth.” Meats like steak, chicken, and fish are recommended along with eggs, yogurt, and nuts.
“Mainly just make sure your simple carbs are low, processed food is low, and protein and healthy fats are high,” said junior basketball player Michael Roseman.
It is also extremely important to stay hydrated.
According to Healthline, “staying well-hydrated helps bump up your metabolism, burn extra belly fat and make it easier to get a set of abs.”
They recommend one to two liters of water to be consumed a day, which comes down to six to eight cups of water, for the best results.
By eating right, regularly exercising, and consuming a healthy amount of water, you will see a change in your body. It is important to keep in mind that abs require commitment and time to develop.
Featured Photo caption: Crunches target the external and internal obliques, as demonstrated by senior Jacklyn Russo. Photo by Mark Cooley.