The lean look donned by Hollywood celebrities and world class athletes is the elusive goal that us normal people strive for, and the pièce-de-résistance is the all mighty six pack. But how do you get a six pack? And do you have to live like a saint to maintain the look? These are the questions that personal trainers around the world are being asked every day. And I’m here to give you some answers for the big fitness questions.
No longer is it about being the biggest guy at the bar; functional strength is the new big thing. But does chucking on your late 90’s gym kit and doing a few laps of the local park create such a desirable physique? In short, no, but it’s a start.
Can sprinting and jogging be the key to getting a six pack?
Running does help to burn fat and lose weight, but alone it won’t get you the six (or even eight) pack you desire. The first step to getting that chiselled look is knowing your goals and working on the right muscles and movements in order to achieve them.
If you’re looking to get that six pack and keep some size, then sprinting is more for you. If you take a look at the top sprinters in the world, such as Usain Bolt and Christian Coleman, you’ll see that they not only have the bodies of Gods but also have the functional strength, agility and stamina to run 100m in under 10 seconds.
High-intensity sprints and movements are the most effective for burning fat. Sprinting for 50 to 100m all out, and then walking back, or including sprints in your long distance jogs will not only increase your heart rate but raise your metabolism and keep it high for a period of time after your workout is over. Not only will you be encouraging fat loss by doing this, you will be strengthening your abdominal muscles along with your glutes and lower back. Along with this, you can make your workouts consistently more challenging by introducing hill runs and incorporating obstacles such as hurdles to keep challenging and pushing yourself when you get comfortable with simple sprints.
We recently interviewed double world champion, Lucy Charles, who gave her top tips on how to become a better runner – perfect for beginners all the way through to world athletes who compete in Ironman triathlons and various other events.
What support movements and exercises should I do to work on my six pack?
Running on its own is great for increasing aerobic endurance and overall fitness. But it’s impossible not to notice the difference between Usain Bolt and Mo Farah; one looks as skinny as they can get, whilst the other looks like the guy that always got picked first in P.E. But why is this? Sprinters implement more strength training and explosive workouts whereas long distance running focuses on endurance, and these have too very different outcomes, both in fitness and looks.
Incorporating strength training into your fitness program is what will get you that desired six pack and God-like shape. By focussing directly on the muscles that need to be strengthened you will be able to create a more sculpted and desirable look. So what exercises should you include to get that six pack? This is the easy part – telling yourself what you have to do. Performing them is another story. Along with the inclusion of sprints in your jogging, doing some abdominally-focussed exercises are key to defining your mid section. These include sit ups, leg raises, Russian twists, crunches and many more.
What should my diet be when working on a six pack?
Diet is simple.
I know, that doesn’t sound right, but it is! As long as you consume fewer calories than your maintenance levels then you’re pretty much golden.
But let’s not forget, the six pack is made in the kitchen as well as the gym, so here’s a few of the foods to eat to help you along on your six pack quest:
Broccoli is the perfect side to any meal; it is packed with fibre and is very low in calories. If you load up your meals with broccoli or any of the other green super foods, such as kale and green beans, then you’ll start to see the weight drop off of you.
Along with this, a great healthy snack to nibble on throughout the day are blueberries. A super food rich in fibre, antioxidants and vitamin C. They help to inhibit the formation of new fat cells helping to keep or gain those washboard abs.
Now you’re going to need some protein to accompany these super foods and that is turkey. Those hours spent running in and out of the gym followed by the hours put in to specifically train your abs would go to waste if your protein levels are too low. Turkey packs a punch with 29 grams of protein per 100 grams. Turkey also has a host of nutritional benefits; it’s very lean and loaded with niacin, selium, B vitamins, zinc and tryptophan.
Btw, if you’re looking to expand your running kit, we’re regularly giving away a few pieces on our Instagram page – 247Jogger.Give us a follow to be in with the chance of getting your hands on some.