If you talk to any 6 pack achiever, you would realize that exercise accounts for only 20% and rest 80% would be the diet!
Anyone can work out an hr everyday but designing and controlling what you eat the rest of 23hrs is the key. They say 6 Pack abs are created in the kitchen not the gym. You have got to follow a religious diet.
There is lot of information about diet on the internet. Basically you have to play with amount of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Don’t neglect vitamins as they are important for your body.
Some math if you are interested:
Proteins account to 4 calories per gram, fats account to 9 calories per gram and carbs account to 4 calories per gram too. You need to take in 1-1.5x your weight (in lbs) of protein every day. Depending on your present body constitution you would need 30-45% protein, 35-45% carbs and 15-25% fats (all in calories). You could use this to design your nutrient content.
For example: if you are planning for lean bulk up at 150 lbs and say you would need 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20%fat. You need 225gm (1.5×150=225) or 900 calories (1gm=4calories) of protein. 40% represents 900 calories, so 40% would be 900 calories of carbs (or 300gm) and 20% would be 600 calories of fats (or 67gm).
If it is confusing I am going to explicitly mention how much you would need later on.
The best App to count your calories is “My Fitness Pal” App which has enormous database (including indian dishes). You could set up your goal and estimate the amount of you would need to eat for every day
There are lot of diet plans and structures but below is what worked for me and few others. You could use this for a kick start but tweak as you move on as necessary.
Complete diet plan based on the body type
I have separated out the diet plan according to the 2 different body types. Type-1 being the lean built or higher metabolism or lower body fat% to start with and Type-2 with hefty (fat) built or lower metabolism or higher body fat% to start with.
Diet for lean built body (Body type-1)
Diet for hefty built body (Body type-2)
Very important diet tips for 6 pack abs
During weight training days:
- Consume the majority of your carbohydrates around your workout and in the morning/day time.
- You can have starchy carbohydrates like oats, yams, brown rice, etc. before 6 p.m. (ok for clean bulk up and lean built)
- Stick to fibrous carbohydrates like vegetables after 6 p.m.
- Eat enough healthy fats, like nuts, flax oil, etc.
During days without weight training:
- Eat most of your carbohydrates early.
- Try to stick to fibrous carbohydrates as much as possible.
Pre- and post-workout meals:
You should always take some healthy carbs (and/or protein) 30min-1hr prior to workout. A protein shake right after workout and full course healthy meal after a hour or so
Last but not the least water intake is very important for abs. The body needs water to flush out our cells, and if the body isn’t getting enough, it will store water until it gets enough. Aim to consume roughly 16 cups (1 gallon) of water over the course of the day. Consuming large amounts of water over a short period of time can make you feel physically full and interfere with your eating plan; be sure to spread out your water and write it down in a food diary so you can stay on top of your intake
Just AVOID processed sugar. This includes white table sugar, corn/maple syrup, brown sugar, sugary sweets etc. Sugars in fruits and vegetables don’t fall in this category. Definitely processed sugar has negative impact on your 6 pack journey. Sugars in your system, spike your insulin levels. High insulins levels prevent your body from burning fat and when your body doesn’t use fat for energy, it stores it on your body and you get fat.
Reduce sodium intake. Sodium consumption bloats the stomach and causes the body to temporarily retain water, creating fluid weight gain and hinders your effort for 6 pack. A high-sodium diet also elevates blood pressure. To get rid of sodium you have to drink lots of water and flush all the sodium out.
Try to QUIT alcohol (especially beer). Beer is just empty calories (no protein, no healthy carbs and no fats). Constant beer intake would decline the progress of 6-pack. Alcohol cannot be stored as body fat, but basically reduces fat metabolism to very low. Occasional alcohol should be compensated with extra cardio or exercise.
It’s very difficult to account all the protein naturally (chicken, salmon, egg whites etc.), so it is ok to take in protein supplements. Two popular protein powders are whey and casein protein.
When protein (preferably isolate) is excellent to consume around workout time due to its fast absorption rate (breaks down quickly). Consume it pre-, during, or immediately post-workout.
Casein (preferably Micellar) is good for bedtime protein supplement because it breaks down slowly, so feeds and repairs the muscle overnight.
Don’t mix the protein powder with whole milk. Preferably mix the protein powder with water and if you can’t then use unsweetened original almond milk
There are 3 different kinds of carbohydrate sources (simple, complex and fibrous).
Simple: Simple forms of carbohydrates are made of just one or two sugar molecules. They are the quickest source of energy, as they are very rapidly digested. They will give the body an immediate boost of energy, but will always follow with a big energy crash. Examples are fruit juices, sports drinks, sodas, candy and table sugar.
Complex: Complex carbohydrates are made up of sugar molecules that are strung together in long, complex chains. Complex carbohydrates take the body longer to digest, providing you with longer lasting energy than simple carbs. Some examples are peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables, sweet potatoes, yams and oatmeal.
The best time to eat complex carbs are post-workout meals which helps fueling your muscles to help with recovery, accelerating fat loss, and helping to build lean muscle.
Fibrous: Unlike starchy and sugary carbohydrates, fibrous carbohydrates are not digested. Fibrous carbohydrates leave your feeling more full and results in longer lasting energy. You will not have an energy crash when eating them. These generally have great vitamins and minerals that our bodies use and need. Fibrous carbohydrates include artichoke, eggplant, broccoli, asparagus, sprouts, onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, and other green leafy vegetables.
You should eat as much fibrous carbohydrates as you want. You could eat them anytime of the day.
If you are inactive it is good you have most of your carbohydrates from vegetables, and then when you work out you should add the complex carbs in your post-workout meal.
The information written here is based on my personal experience and reading several fitness articles etc. What works for me might not work exactly for you. So you should only use the macro (ratio, diet, plan) that works best for you.
If you have any health issues please consult your doctor or hire a dietician and/or trainer
Make sure you do all the ab exercises and workouts properly. Incorrect way of training would cause severe body/muscle pains
Click on below links to look into my workouts plans and lifestyle changes.