"That leads us to nutrition. Many people say that "abdominals are made in the kitchen, not in the gym," and there's a lot of truth to that. You can do thousands of reps of ab work every week, but if your nutrition is not in order, you can forget about getting a great set of 6-pack abs.
1. Eat about 15-20% below your calorie maintenance level. If you use a more aggressive calorie deficit of 25-30%, then do not keep calories too low for too long; increase calories to maintenance or maintenance +10-15% 1-2 days per week.
2. Spread your calories into 5-6 smaller meals instead of 2-3 big ones. Be very conscious of portion size. If you eat too much of anything (even "healthy" food), you can say goodbye to your abs. Period.
3. Eat a source of complete, high quality lean protein with each meal (egg whites, lean meat, fish, protein powder, etc).
4. Choose natural, complex carbs such as vegetables, oatmeal, yams, potatoes, beans, brown rice and whole grains. Start with aprox. 50% of your calories from natural carbs and reduce carbs slightly (esp. late in the day) if you are not losing fat.
6. Keep total fats low and saturated fats low. Aim for 20% of your total calories from fat (and no more than 30%). A little bit of "good fat" like flax oil, fish fat, nuts & seeds, etc is better than a no fat diet. Essential fatty acids actually assist the fat burning process.
7. Drink plenty of water - a gallon is a good ballpark to shoot for if you are physically active.
1000+ reps of daily ab work is an amazing feat of endurance, but that’s not how you get visible, 6-pack abs! If you were to do 1,000 reps of ab exercises every day, you would have outstanding development in your abdominal muscles and you would definitely have great muscular endurance. Unfortunately, if your abs are covered up with a layer of fat, you will never see them even if you do 10,000 reps a day!
You Condition and Strengthen Your Abs With Specific Ab Exercises...But The Secret To Seeing Your Abs Is Reducing Your Body Fat!
I once saw a photo of a man who broke one of the Guiness World Records for sit ups. It was the most paradoxical thing, but this man did not have any abdominal muscle definition. He was not obese or overweight at all, mind you, but he had a small enough layer of body fat that the muscular defintion did not show through. I've never seen a better real life example which demonstrates the basic principle discussed in this article:
You get great abs from reducing your body fat, and you reduce your body fat by creating a caloric deficit through nutrition and metabolism-stimulating and calorie-burning exercise.
I've spent my entire career - through more than 18 years and 28 bodybuilding competitions - studying the science and practicing the art of body fat reduction. I speak from experience and I walk my talk as you can see from my pictures.