8 BEAUTIFUL Women Who DESTROYED China
8 Women Share Exactly What It Took To Sculpt Six-Pack Abs
A is like the “” of the fitness world—always desirable, yet seemingly unattainable.
That's because it’s insanely hard to get ripped abs. “Every woman’s body is built differently, so it varies, but generally speaking it takes a lot of time and dedication to get those abs to show,” says , C.P.T., instructor at The Fhitting Room in New York City (and a fitness model who has her own fierce six-pack). “It can take anywhere from three months to a year to get a six-pack, and it’s not just about doing a ton of abs exercises.”
So what does it take exactly? We talked to a eight women—some who don’t work out for a living, and some who do (because whywouldn’tyou get tips from a pro?)—to find out. (And for a great, ab-sculpting workout, check out Hannah Eden's .)
Focus on your food
“You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again—what you put in your mouth matters. It’s crucial to trimming up your core. You can do crunches for days, but if you aren’t fueling properly you’ll never see those abs! My favorite foods to snack on for flat abs are blueberries, apples, sweet potatoes, eggs, lean poultry, and green tea. ”—Amanda Butler,@amandabutlernyc
Skip the crunches
“You need to work your entire core to get those abs muscles to show up. Skip crunches and go for barbell back squats, barbell deadlifts, and HIIT workouts—think burpees, kettlebell swings, and rowing."—Amanda Butler,@amandabutlernyc
Learn what the heck a macronutrient is
“For me, getting a six-pack was about paying attention to what I was eating and lifting heavy weights at CrossFit. I do have a semi-strict diet, and I loosely count macros (focusing on daily carbs, protein, and fat intake rather than blindly counting calories) to stay balanced and on track. It sounds like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. Eventually, it just became a part of my lifestyle, and it’s something I enjoy doing. I even started a custom meal-plan business based on macros because I had such great results!”—Tina Haupert,@carrotsncake
Go for the 'Britney' abs
“In college, I was overweight and dreamed of having Britney Spears’ abs. Seriously. I 100 percent thought that it was out of reach though, until one day a friend made a snide comment telling me to get over wanting to have abs and that I was never going to look like Britney Spears so I needed to move on. For some reason, it really stung.
"I like a challenge, and someone telling me that it wasn’t possible was just the kick I needed to see if it was possible. So I started eating healthier—really focusing on figuring out what foods I had an intolerance for, were causing me to bloat, or were just notoriously hard on the gut—and learning how to get more out of my workouts. One trainer pointed out to me that I wasn’t doing situps in a way that was as effective as it could be, and to this day I still think of his advice (tilt my pelvis so my back lies flat on the floor!) every time I do core work.” —Dorothy Beal,@mileposts
“A silly thing I do on a daily basis is focus on sitting or standing tall with good posture and then ‘sucking it in,’ for lack of a better term. Basically, I tighten my core and hold onto it for as long as I can, and I keep doing that throughout the day. It’s a great way to not feel like a lump while sitting in front of a computer for a long period of time, and it’s like a bonus workout for my abs.” —Dorothy Beal,@mileposts
Don’t skip yoga…or Pilates
“These days, I do a fair amount of Pilates and yoga to focus on the strength of my core. You don’t have to be a crazy cardio bunny to lower your body fat percentage (to get those abs to show)—bodyweight exercises can be really effective. Yoga and Pilates help me focus on overall strength, not just my core, and it helps make sure I work my back, too. Most people forget about that, but you need a strong back to help support a strong core.” —Dorothy Beal,@mileposts
Be the healthiest version of you
“Unless you’re naturally gifted or a child, six-pack abs are always going to be a challenge. But remember, muscles have memory, so once you achieve a six pack once, if you lose it, it’ll be easier to get it back later. These days, I can get six-pack abs pretty quickly because I have such deeply ingrained muscle memory from my teenage years as a gymnast, when I was practicing in the gym five hours a day, six days a week.
"But at the end of the day, you can’t obsess over them. A simply toned one-, two-, or four-pack stomach looks beautiful, too. Instead of counting ab packs, focus on loving and healing your body and mind, and make a point to be the healthiest version of yourself. That goes a lot further than a six pack.—Caitlin Turner,@gypsetgoddess
Accept your body for what it is
“For so long, I wanted to look a certain way. I wanted flat abs, thin legs, small thighs. And I restricted what I was eating—calories, protein, carbs—because I thought the less I ate, the closer I would get to my ‘ideal’ body.
"But after having children and maturing, my body image has changed. I don’t run or eat to look a certain way, but instead tofeela certain way—happy. I no longer count calories or restrict what I eat. I focus on real food that’s minimally processed, and most meals include some sort of carbs (I really love potatoes), protein, and lots of veggies. All of that, coupled with higher mileage during more intense marathon training, has led me to how I look today. When I’m not in the middle of marathon training, I’m often five to 10 pounds heavier—and that’s totally okay.”—Michele Gonzalez,@nycrunningmama
Pick up some weights
"My goals six years ago was to 'get abs' and I used to think cardio and crunches would get me there. But it wasn’t until I started lifting weights and varying my abdominal exercises that I started to see a major change. You don’t realize how much you use your core muscles in order to perform powerful rapid movements like deadlifts!" —Shante Franca,@shantefranca
Sprint, sprint, sprint
“I alternate between all-out effort sprints (30 to 60 seconds) and walk/jog as a recovery until I feel fatigued. Intensity is key. Abs work as stabilizing muscles during a sprint, so the harder I push myself the harder my abs will work! Plus, there’s no equipment required, and I get a high calorie burn and full-body workout done in very little time. (I tell myself I can do anything for 30 seconds.) Depending on how I feel, I’ll either add this to the end of a routine or make it my entire workout, two to three times a week.”—Suzanne Cover, @suzannecover
Plan your meals
“I’m a sous chef at Sac-a-lait in New Orleans, and I average 12-hour days where I’m tasting a lot of food in the kitchen—including desserts, as part of my job is to develop new treats to put on the menu. That’s why my husband and I meal prep every Sunday. I’ll bring meals that are high in protein and full of green veggies, so that when I’m tempted to really dig in to the high-calorie food, I can quickly eat that instead.
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