Health Topics

Healthy Living

November 2009
Fab Abs in 30 Days
Kuldep Sethi
The winter party season has almost everyone shopping for rock hard flat abs already. Not all of us have ribbed abs like Sylvester Stallone or toned ones like Priyanka Chopra, but there is no harm in trying. Having flat abs is determined partially by genetics, but mostly by determination and dedication.

A consistent diet and exercise program can definitely help you achieve the 'look' you desire. Train smart with a good combination of diet, cardio and strength to get there.

A good ab building routine is good to read and look at, but you will have to commit to it and be very serious about it for it to work. The spare tyre around your midsection will eventually disappear and that long hidden six pack will soon emerge with triumph. Commitment is the key word.

Eat Right
Going on a crash diet is completely disastrous. Don't even think of it! It may show you instant results but disaster strikes once you stop the diet. You regain all the weight you lost and more the day you stop your crash diet. The body goes into 'starvation mode' and holds on to its fat, thereby making it harder to lose any weight. To repeat, having a permanently lean waistline and flat abs requires a commitment to a healthy eating plan. Reduce your intake of carbohydrates and fats, and increase your intake of lean protein on this plan.

Cardio Vascular Exercise
A well rounded exercise programme has to include a good cardio plan. A good cardio workout is any kind of a workout that will make you sweat. This includes speed walking, jogging, biking etc. Eating right will prevent the fat cells in your body from getting bigger, but a good cardio workout will actually shrink them. For a good workout, the heart rate must be kept high for at least 20 minutes. After 20 minutes is when your body will turn to its reserve stores of fat for energy – and that's how you burn them. In other words, you must do at least 30 to 40 min of cardios three to five days a week.

Strength Training
Doing many hours of crunches and ineffective ab routines is just going to make you frustrated. Train smart and see instant results. The following program has been formulated keeping every aspect of the abdominals in mind. Try it and see the results for yourself. The key is to always fatigue the weaker regions first. Train your abs in this order: First the obliques, then the lower abs, and finally the upper abs. In order to achieve synergism, or complete development; do not limit yourself to working just the strong muscles. You must incorporate all muscles of the region into your routine.
After 20 minutes is when your body will turn to its reserve stores of fat for energy – and that's how you burn them
  • Lie on the left hip
  • Flex knees to 90 degrees
  • Focus eyes on ceiling
  • Keep shoulders square, both elbows 'flat' to the floor.
  • Place hands behind the head
  • Contract the obliques and slowly lift (do not curl) the shoulders to a position two to six inches off the floor
  • Hold for one count, return to the starting position
  • Immediately repeat
  • Repeat on the opposite side
Lower Abs
  • Sit on a flat bench
  • Contract the lower abs and lift the straight legs as high as possible off the floor
  • Do not hyper extend the lower back
  • Hold the position for one count
  • Slowly lower the legs to the straight position
  • Immediately repeat but do not give jerks
  • Do about 15 to 25 repetitions in three to five sets
Upper Abs
  • 90 Degree Crunches
  • Lie on the back
  • Flex the hips and knees to 90 degrees
  • Tilt head back, focusing eyes on the ceiling
  • Place hands behind the head
  • Lift the upper body to a position approximately 30 degrees off the floor
  • Raise the upper body towards the knees, do not move the knees down towards the upper body
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • Immediately repeat
  • Do not pull on the head or neck
Plank on Elbows and Toes
  • Lie face down on the mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor
  • Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting elbows
  • Keep your back flat, in a single straight line from head to heels
  • Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air
  • Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for two to five reps
Kuldep Sethi is an American College of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and director, 360 degree Fitness, Hyderabad