The other day I wrote a blog about my 9 tips for sculpted abs. However, since then many of you have contacted me and asked more about nutrition and diet and what to eat to get that 6-pack we all want.
We all have abs, they are just more or less visible. To make your abs visible you need to ensure that your body fat percentage is fairly low, but also that you avoid foods that might trigger bloating and water retention. This is obviously highly individual so try to stay in tune with your body to see what foods you might react to.
To get rid of the ‘padding’ you will need to ensure that you eat fewer calories than you spend on physical activity. However, it’s important that you don’t eat too little as this can make you waste muscle and create a stress response in your body. You need to take it slow… Getting the body of your dreams is like a marathon, not a 30-second sprint! You need to persevere and be consistent!
Here are my top 7 foods to include in your diet:
1. Salmon or any other fatty fish
Healthy fats help keeping your hormones functioning at an optimal level and, in turn, help keep your body fat levels at bay. There are several healthy fats you can include in your diet, such as avocado, nut oils and olive oil, but one of the most important fats to consume is fish oil. The fat found in fish contains omega-3 fatty acids. Your body cannot produce these, and you need to get it from the food that you eat. Omega-3 fatty acids have a range of benefits such as reducing inflammation but they also helps in the reduction of body fat, by assisting in the breakdown of existing fat and reducing additional body fat storage.
2. Lean protein
Lean protein will help your overall muscle tone and will ensure that you are able to keep your hard-earned muscles when in a calorie deficit. Lean protein is also important to help you recover from your workouts. Lean protein will allow your muscles to repair quickly, which in turn will give you more "tone and definition". Try to get in a high protein and a carbohydrate source a few hours before your workout and within an hour after your workout.
Try this delicious smoothie found in my program Body By Nina.
3. Healthy carbs
Contrary to what many believe, including healthy carbs, is essential if you want your abs to show. When you are trying to lose body fat carbs will help reduce muscle breakdown. In addition, healthy carbs will help manage blood sugar levels and keep your gut healthy and keeping your regular. In addition, healthy carbs will also help bust stress by increasing the release of the feel-good chemical serotonin. Make sure that you include whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit and berries in your diet. Don’t be afraid of carbs. They are good for you!
4. Orange, lemon & lime
Citrus fruits are well known for being rich in vitamin C, but other foods like berries, kiwi, guava, capsicum (bell pepper), chilli (chilli) fruit, parsley and watercress are good sources. Vitamin C might help reveal those abs as it seems to be able to bust stress and reduce cortisol levels. So if you are under stress, make sure you increase your vitamin C intake.
5. Sun-dried tomato
Sun-dried tomato contains higher levels of magnesium, which has been shown to curb the levels of cortisol and stress. Other foods that are high in magnesium include sunflower kernels, tahini, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, walnuts and pine nuts.
Drinking a cuppa might also help relieve stress. In addition, if you drink certain herbal teas they might also assist with general gut health. So, next time you are feeling like a hot beverage have some ginger, chamomile, or peppermint tea. I also like to squeeze some fresh lemon juice into mine.
I can’t stress this enough…ensure you drink enough water. Even a slight level of dehydration can have a negative effect on your metabolism and can also make you bloated, so ensure that you are hydrated. If you don’t like plain water you can add berries, fruit or even cucumber to add some flavour.
These foods might assist in revealing your 6-pack, however the most important thing to remember is to ensure that both your training and nutrition are on point.
P.S. As an extra bonus I’ve included this ab workout. Give it a go!!
5 rounds and 15 repetitions of the following exercises
- Flutter kicks
- Heel touches
- Plank 30 seconds
- Leg raises
- Knee pull-ins
- Hand walkouts