Whenever I talk about fitness with friends that go to the gym, and ask them about their ab routine, and I usually get one of these 3 responses:
- They do the same boring workout for several months (which often consists only of sit-ups and crunches at the end of their regular workout) and wonder why they see no results.
- They don’t even work on abs anymore
- They work super hard on their core, thinking that their ab workout is enough to get their abs visible in time for summer.
If your situation is one of the above, keep reading.
First of all, I hope you already know about the most important factor in getting visible six pack abs: Fat Loss.
No matter how much you work on your abs, no matter how much money you waste on “ab machines” (don’t fall for these), your abs won’t show up unless you have a low enough body fat percentage.
Like everyone says: Abs are made on the kitchen.
But everyone’s already tired and satured of hearing and knowing that diet and cardio are the key element in losing fat, so I’ll skip you that sermon today.
Today I’m talking about how you can keep yourself motivated to work on your abs and optimize the time you spend working out, providing you have your cardio and diet in place.
The hard part of bodybuilding and fitness is not working out.
The hard part is keeping yourself motivated and staying commited your workout programme and your initial goals.
You could have a shitty non-optimized workout program, but if you kept doing it day after day you would still get results.
People don’t get their results because they simply stop. They stop mid-way.
People stop because they depend too much on willpower. They depend only on that initial motivation.
The general consensus today is that willpower doesn’t work. It’s a finite resource.
Motivation and willpower will only last you a few days, so you have to learn how to stay disciplined.
But in fitness, even more important than learning how to be a disciplined person, is to learn how to love the process.
Love The Process
You need to love working out.
To love that burn and pump you feel after an awesome workout.
To love that soreness on the next day which makes you sure that your pain on the day before was worth it and it’s going to bring you results.
But how does one teach himself how to love working out?
Back when I still had a gym membership, I feel that one of the few things that motivated me to keep going to the gym every day of the week was the social aspect of it.
Being with friends and competing amongst each other was somewhat addicting.
But besides that I didn’t really like repeating the same movements over and over again in a room full of sweaty people listening to commercial radio music.
So I got inspired by famous calisthenics athletes and started doing different types of workouts. Fun and highly diversified workouts.
Sure I wasn’t getting results as fast as I was used to, but all my workouts felt awesome.
I actually felt I was getting stronger and that my strength actually had some meaning.
I wasn’t just able to move an object off the ground, I was able to move and lift my entire body in amazing new ways.
That’s how I managed to keep myself motivated and able to work out every week for such a long time.
Find whatever activity works best for you.
In my case it’s calisthenics, but it could be different for you.
You can love working out but you can hate going to the gym.
Don’t be afraid to try new things, like crossfit, gymnastics or any other sport.
Find what you love and it’ll be easy for you stay motivated.
Optimize Your Time
With calisthenics, all your workouts are going to be based on compound movements.
Compound movements, are exercises which target more than one muscle group at the same time, in contrary to isolation exercises, which like the name suggests only target a specific muscle.
By working out with only compound movements, the duration of your workouts will reduce drastically because:
- You’ll be working lots of muscles at the same time
- Some calisthenics movements are so tough that you won’t be able to last much.
Not only will your workouts be faster by default, but there are some techniques that you can apply to optimize your workout even more, for example:
When you’re doing pull-ups or chin-ups, simply raise your legs instead of letting them hang.
This will force you to engage your core during the entire movement, working not only on your lats, but also your entire core. Saving you some precious time, that you’ll otherwise have to spend on isolating your abs.
If you focus on tightening and engaging your core during an entire calisthenics workout session, you may not even need to work on your abs at the end of your workout.
Diversify Your Workouts
I see people doing the same workouts for several months.
This not only slows downs your progress but it’ll make you extremely demotivated to workout.
Like good old schwarzenegger says, you have to shock the muscle
If you keep doing sit ups and crunches every single workout, your body will get used to it and will not improve.
Your muscles will only grow if they’re forced to do so.
Vary your training.
If your core isn’t used to this kind of movement, I guarantee you that your abs will burn like hell on the next day.
There are literaly thousands of workouts and exercise variations you can try, why do you keep doing the same old ones?
Try out new things, optimize your time and get out there and find out what you love to do!