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nutritional tips to revealing better abs By Chris Aceto Gut check: /s a /ayer of bodyfat obscuring your abdominals? \ so, your first reaction might be to train your abs extra hard. But no matter how many crunches you do, you have to shed the bodyfat to be able to display defined abs. Crash diets aren't the answer either. They may take some weight off, but they don't keep it off. Besides cutting your calorie intake moderately, you can help yourself get and stay lean by increasing the number of calories your body burns = both by exercising and by boosting your metabolism. Try these 12 techniques along with the ab exercises in the “Road Map to Great Abs” pullout to convert your barrel into a well-defined six-pack. Phot by Cary Sorensen ‘Aerobic exercise is equally important — it can transform your appearance by using stored bodyfat as fuel, Start ‘with three 20-minute sessions per week. If you see your bodyfat levels begin to fall, continue with this protocol. If necessary, you can build up to four 30-40-minute sessions weekly. Scharnhorst sums up the cffects of cardio training this way: “Aerobics isa great way to burn fat, but don't go over board. The main factor in long-term results is a balance between your total caloric intake and weight training Sure, cardio may help you get to your goal faster, but you'll be disappointed if you don't watch your caloric intake. Photos by Roni Ramos your prio Fess individuals seeking a measurnble change Which fe of exere is bette — lng weghus ox a dio work? Although both will alter your musclesto-fa ratio, weight training is be premier activity for long. Accorcling to Roger Schai lopment at Washington State University (Pullman), ‘Unless you're obese, weight training ought to be your primary focus for solid changes in hody composition,” Resistance training builds muscle, which elevates your ‘metabolism and increases calorie burning, The calorie burning effect of a hyped-up metabolism works around the clock, 24 hours a day: In time, weight training work outs that build lean body mass can help melt away bodyfat. Scharnhorst recommends: “If your goal is to add lean body mass, a good rep range is somewhere between 8 and 10nd up to 12 reps for each set. Try to take each set to local muscle failure and, if needed, ask the help of a spotter so youll have the confidence to work a muscle to its limit.” (OF course, don’t train to failure all the time; that will siow your progress.) ‘As for exercise selection, sets and frequency, he adds: “Stick with multjoint exercises like pressing motions, squats, bent-over rows, deadlifis and chins, Perform 2-3 ‘exercises for each bodypart and around three sets for each exercise you choose. Work each bodypart once a ‘week, though experienced lifters can eventually build up to working a bodypart about twice a week or once every four days.” Ann Grandjean, EdD, director of the International Center for Sports Nutrition, points out, ‘Empirical wisdom. tells us that grazing throughout the day offers a constant supply of nutrients, improving absorp- tion and. providing even blood levels of nutrients.” Pro bodybuilders, who inning to pull ahead as the are masters at achieving low levels of bodyfat with: ay several meals each day. You can emulate these dietary methods by splitting your total daily food on into five or even six smaller meals. This increases nutrient absorption, which in turn may improve protein and carbohydrate utlizatior for maximum muscle growth. out sacrificing lean body mass in the “rippin, process, apply the grazing technique by ca eat low-fat foods Building lean body mass, which increases the total amount of calories you bur at rest, requires you to train effectively and consume a dict that contains adequate carbohydrate and pto- tein. Carbs are the fuel for weight training exercise, while protein delivers amino acids to build and repair muscle tissue broken down through resistance training, ‘To reduce your total caloric intake without sacrificing calories from carbs and protein, cut back on fats like salad dressings, fried foods and fatter cuts of mea Switch to fat-free daity products and lean protein sources like skinless chicken, ‘or turkey breast, fish and leaner cuts of red meat include protein at each meal Weight training increases your protein needs. Amino acids from protein foods such as chicken, fish, nonfat dairy products and lean cuts of red meat are the building blocks muscles use to grow in size. Many sports nutritionists recommend Consuming approximately T gram of protein per pound of bodyweight to increase muscle mass but you should take this advice one step fu ther by breaking down the protein require ‘ment into small portions, The number of meals you consume should dictate t Amount of protein you eat at exc neal, Fc if you weigh 170 for roughly 28 grams at each of six daily meals. include fiber in your diet Toby Watkinson, DG, CCN, adamantly supp the valteofa high ber lec you tune neo bes dicated radio program, “The Health. Detecine He recommends cet that completely restricts refined foods and ads, “Fbeddense foods me important in controlling bodyfat.” His top picks for fiberrich carbs include pouoes, sweet potatoes, wild rice, fruit and vegetables, He says these foods stimulate the appetite center in the brain, leaving you feeling full and satisfied and less prone 10 ‘overeating, ~ 5 = If smaller, more frequent meals is the mantra of the aspiring bodybuilder, langer infrequent ones ‘ought to be forbidden, since excessive calories at one sitting can overload the digestive system, lead- ing (0 inferior absorption and probably a greater chance to store excess calories as fat. cardinal sin is to try to make up for a missed meal by doubling up ata later one. Ifyou do miss a meal, instead eat a lit tle bit more at each of your following scheduled meals. Eating a double portion sitting can influence fat storage, especially if you have no plans for immediate physical activity ‘An ideal approach to build- ing muscle and shedding fat is to provide your body with adequate amounts of carho- hydrate and protein through the day while creating a small total caloric reduction?