There is often debate about what the distribution of responsibility is for gaining the elusive V-Taper and defined abs that are so lauded. By this point, if you've been in the fitness game for an extended period of time, you've probably heard lots of strap lines about how to get shredded! Read on for our honest guide...
Cardio, Diet and the Elusive Ab Routine: What Actually Influences Getting Shredded?
There is often debate about what the distribution of responsibility is for gaining the elusive V-Taper and defined abs that are so lauded. By this point, if you've been in the fitness game for an extended period of time, you've probably heard lots of strap lines about how to get shredded! Fat Strippers are tools to use but many believe them to be the easy route to abs. Its always things like;
"This one supplement is the secret to getting shredded!"
"This single exercise will make your abs pop!"
"It's all about diet and abs are only made in the kitchen."
The reality is of course is that it is a complimentary blend of all these elements that creates not just a defined set of abs, but the depth and thickness of them also. Arguably the truest of the bold statements that get spouted on a regular basis is that "abs are made in the kitchen". Whilst this isn't completely correct, with a little rewording this statement holds a great deal of merit. I would suggest the following: abs are revealed in the kitchen. Without a proper diet (and more often than not, the overlooked factor is ensuring you are in a controlled, consistent calorie deficit relevant to your basic metabolic rate), even the greatest of athletes will struggle to drop body fat. This is the key, as it's your body fat that sits in the way of your achievements in the gym being visible to the naked
Once this is in check, I would then turn your eye to cardio. Cardio gains a lot of flack for potentially being the cause of "lost gains", but once again, this is only true in the sense that not performing the appropriate amount of cardio could potentially eat into your muscle stores, rather than torching fat. I would suggest that it is best to see cardio as a supplement to your routine and your diet; scale this up and down dependent on what kind of progress you are seeing. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a great way to burn fat and doesn't require inordinate amounts of time to complete. Try supplementing HIIT into your routine if fat loss has stalled for what feels like a significant amount of time; but try to tailor it so that your fat loss isn't aggressive, as this is where you will start to see loss of muscle as a result.
Finally we turn our attention to ab exercises themselves. It's worth baring in mind that a great deal of compound exercises already work your core, especially when they are performed with the correct form. Whilst there is no single ab exercise that will carve out your abs (especially without the other elements in place), my personal experience has led me to believe that it is best to view abs as you would any other body part in your split. Train them once or twice a week, weighted where possible, with a decent amount of volume and set range (3-4 is what I personally go for).
It is worth remembering one of my favourite quotes:
"The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple." Oscar Wilde
If you'd like help extra with your fat burn, take a look at non stim fat burners like Green Tea and CLA or a Thermogenic fat burner for something more aggressive.
Brendan O'Keeffe (@blokfitness on Instagram)
on behalf of Bodybuilding Warehouse