One of the most common things I get asked is how to flatten the lower abdominals. Even people that come in for problems with their knees, lower back and neck frequently ask about how to flatten out this troublesome region. In this blog we will be discussing how to flatten the area, get a six-pack and boost your ego. There are several areas to consider. In this blog series we will cover;
1. Body fat
2. Gut health
4. Lower abdominal exercise.
In part 1 we will first discuss how important body fat levels are to flat lower abdominals.
I was once told that to show a good six pack you needed to be approximately 10% body fat or less. I held this notion as true until someone close to me was still able to show a six-pack at 18% body fat. A competing body builder will typically have around 4-6% body fat, competitive marathon runners are normally around 8-12%. 18% body fat is very achievable for men. The important thing with flat abs is to have good tone in the abs and no excess of fat over the top.
The first thing is to get your body fat measured. At Virtus I use an Omron body fat measurer and callipers. You’re more than welcome to come to the clinic and we can do this for you. Most gyms have access to this equipment or even the scales with body fat measurement can be used as a makeshift option. It’s always important to get a baseline and helps you set goals. Different people are able to shift body fat at different rates however 0.5% a week is normally very achievable and often more can be achieved in the early weeks.
In terms of achieving this goal there are many parts to a successful fat reduction programme.
Some quick basics to start with are;
- Write down your goal twice a day. This helps you keep focused and generates momentum.
- Do at least 10 minutes breathing practice a day. This will allow you to decrease stress level and think more clearly. TRY IT!
- Drink 0.0333 x your body weight in kg’s of water per day. E.g. 100kg = 3.33 litres of water a day. Frequently people eat when they’re thirsty.
- Eat for your metabolic type. If you’re an Eskimo eat more meat and if you’re Chinese eat more like a vegetarian.
- Eat the highest quality of food available. As with most things the more you pay the better the value for money. If possible buy organic especially for your fats. Remember fats store toxins.
- Avoid processed foods.
- Keep a diet diary and monitor how different foods affect your body fat, energy levels and any symptoms you may have.
- Resistance training may be best for long-term results. If you are used to exercising regularly already try a circuit of 5 whole body exercises like squats, lunges, and cable pushes etc. Start with what you can manage and build up the number of sets. Rest for 60-90 seconds between each circuit. However if possible try and get yourself assessed by a professional for a proper program. Train 3-4 times a week as a guide using this system. If you can maintain your health and energy levels sufficiently doing 4-6 sets of this circuit will give you rapid results.
- Make sure you get the sleep you need. 8-10 hours per night is best for most people and will help control sugar cravings.
Follow this advice and you’ll be well on your way to loosing 1%+ body fat a week. In part two of the series we will discuss gut health, a frequent reason for a perfect four pack and bloated lower abdominals.