The good news/bad news on abs
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock Everyone—yes, everyone—has abs. The bad news? “Though all humans have beautiful ‘six packs,’ they’re often hidden beneath a layer of fat,” says Cedric X. Bryant, PhD, chief science officer at the American Council on Exercise. Thankfully, you can reveal those six packs without hours of sit-ups or crunches.
According to Bryant and other exercise pros we spoke with, the best way to lower body fat and get flat, defined abs is to follow a healthy eating plan, prioritize rest and recovery, and tweak your workouts to get better results in line with your goals. Read on to find out exactly how trainers help their clients make these changes so they can see results sooner rather than later. (While you’ve got trimming down on the forefront of your mind, be sure to check out these 13 quick weight-loss tips that nutrition pros swear by.)
Timolina/Shutterstock Abs are made in the kitchen—almost every trainer Reader’s Digest spoke with said a smart diet is key to success. One easy way to improve your diet is to follow Revenge Body celebrity trainer Lacey Stone‘s go-to formula: “I tell my clients to drink lots of water and eat four meals a day. Each meal should contain a palm-sized serving of a lean protein like fish, 1/4 cup of complex carbs like quinoa or brown rice, four tablespoons of healthy fats, and as many non-starchy vegetables as they want.”
If sticking to an exact formula seems overwhelming Bryant says to start by cutting meal portions by 20 to 25 percent. (These nine genius portion control tricks for quick weight loss can help.) Once you’ve become used to eating less, then try transiting to Stone’s approach to a balanced diet.