Do Abs Form From Working Out Or Dieting?

Have you ever committed to doing crunches every day for an extended period of time, only to crunch away hours of your life and still not uncover those hidden abs? It's definitely frustrating and confusing, especially when there are ab routines swarming YouTube with the words "beach bod" or "six pack abs" as the titles of ab workout videos. While abdomen-focused workouts are a great way to strengthen your core, the truth is, the popular expression that abs are made in the kitchen, has some real honesty to it.

What exactly does this expression mean? Tom Holland, MS, CSCS, exercise physiologist and fitness adviser for Bowflex shares with Pop Sugar what the popular saying, "abs are made in the kitchen," really means. "When it comes to achieving a flat midsection, diet is the most important factor," he says. It is true. All those ab routines may have helped you create a six pack, but your masterpiece will be hidden behind a layer of fat if your diet isn't prioritized.

Unfortunately, there is no exact diet for everyone to follow if they are wanting more visible abs. But there are some helpful tips to keep in mind. Coach recommends to cut back on your daily calories consumed. And to avoid fried food, simple carbs, sugar, and alcohol. Instead, try and fill up on plenty of vegetables and lean proteins.

Combining the two works best

We understand that diet may be the most important factor, but that doesn't mean exercise won't help you achieve your mid section goals. In Body USA states that HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, can be a highly efficient way to make abs more visible. One study showing the effects of exercise training intensity on abdominal visceral fat and body composition showed that after a group of participants achieved 16 weeks of high intensity training, they had reported more abdominal fat loss than the study's other participants who were asked to do five days a week of only low-intensity exercise. 

Remember that no matter what exercise you choose to do, it will likely help you by staying in the healthy mindset and sticking to a healthy diet. You are still effectively working towards a more defined abdomen, even if you have not finished your chosen workout drenched in sweat and panting to catch your breath. In a study done on long‐term effectiveness of diet‐plus‐exercise interventions vs. diet‐only interventions for weight loss, it was found that a combination of diet and exercise (any exercise) works best if you want to lose fat, claims In Body USA. And losing fat is exactly what you want to do if your goal is to unveil those hidden abs.