There’s little else that’s sexier than women sporting six pack abs. For females trying to achieve a toned midsection, all the material covered in my previous posts apply. The basic principles of acquiring chiseled abs remain the same. This means using the latest ab machine promoted in those Saturday morning infomercials isn’t going to get you that washboard abs. You need a consistent routine consisting of dieting, strength training, and cardio.
It’s All About Fat Loss
Your abs will never show unless you get rid of that stubborn body fat. To turn your body into a fat burning furnace, you need to perform intense cardio 3-6 times a week. This should be done either first thing in the morning (before breakfast) or immediately after your strength training workout.
I recommend doing HIIT because it has just the right intensity level and takes no more than 15-20 minutes of your time. This means that time-wise, there is absolutely no excuse for skipping out on your workout. If you don’t have 15-20 minutes to spare, then I suggest you reevaluate your lifestyle.
Women typically shun strength training because they fear that the muscle gains will give them a Hulk-like appearance. First of all, this assertion is completely unfounded. Women don’t produce testosterone at the level men do, so unless you’re on synthetic steroids, there’s no fear that you’ll turn into a female Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Secondly, the muscle that you do gain will play a valuable role in your fat loss journey. Muscle mass requires energy to maintain, and energy requires calorie expenditure.
A strength training routine consists of the same workouts I have recommended in previous posts. This includes the same number of sets and rep range. Many women who lift weights stick to pink dumbbells and perform upwards of 50 reps in the name of “muscle toning.” Muscle toning is a myth; you get your muscles to show by growing them and stripping the fat that’s covering them up.
Here’s a strength training routine to follow that contains a mix of both compound and isolation movements:
|Squats or lunges||3 sets, 5-10 reps|
|Bench or dumbbell presses||3 sets, 5-10 reps|
|Pullups or cable rows||3 sets, 5-10 reps|
|Bicep or dumbbell curls||3 sets, 5-10 reps|
|Tricep pulldowns or skullcrushers||3 sets, 5-10 reps|
This is just a sample; feel free to swap out the exercises as long as the replacement works the same muscles and is also a compound/isolation exercise. In other words, don’t replace squats with, say, leg extensions. Men and women alike are tempted to do this from time to time because leg extensions are far less excruciating.
Don’t sacrifice your hard work in the gym by indulging on that chocolate cake. Your diet needs to be spot on and primed for fat burning. Consume a ratio of about 50% protein, 30% carbs, and 20% fat.
According to health consensus, women need about 2,000 calories a day. Since your goal is fat loss, you need to consume a bit less than that amount. 1,200 to 1,500 calories is a good figure to shoot for.
Here’s a sample daily diet plan
|8:00 am||1 cup orange juice, 1 cup skim milk, ½ cup oatmeal||400 calories|
|11:00 am||1 fruit, ½ cup nuts, string cheese||300 calories|
|3:00 pm||Tuna or turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread||300 calories|
|6:00 pm||Brown rice, chicken breast, steamed vegetables||300 calories|
|9:00 pm||1 cup milk||100 calories|
You don’t have to eat like this every day. In fact, you shouldn’t eat like this on a daily basis. Designate one day out of the week as a cheat day. On this day, eat at your heart’s delight and consume around 1,800-2,300 calories. A cheat day not only fights off the cravings but also keeps your body “guessing.” This prevents your body from lowering its metabolism to adjust to the calorie deficit.
On the subject of diet, I can customize a meal plan for you. Let me configure a dietary lifestyle consistent with your fitness goals.
Ab Exercises Do NOT Equal Six Pack Abs
Six pack abs for women is not acquired lying down on the floor and doing sit-ups. Far less women would be out of shape if that were the case. If you really desire for a sexy body worthy of that bikini set you saw at the mall, then you have to put in the work, and the work does not entail endless crunches. Of course, you should still perform ab exercises for maintaining a strong core. The combined consistency of strength training, cardio, and dieting, though, is what will really get the abs to show.
So Where Do We Start?
Check out my program The Simple Shredded Solution for more information about burning fat and building muscles.
[photo credit: Roberto Berlim]