Let me get something straight here. I am not about body-shaming and everyone should love the body type they have. But if you, like me, are aiming for a lean, toned physique yet still cannot see your sixpack despite hundreds of crunches, this article may shed some light on the issue.

Turns out, it isn’t how much you do but what you do that counts when it comes to a chiseled body. That’s why celebrities engage trainers to help them get in shape before a movie role. It isn’t so much about being able to run a marathon or lifting the heaviest weights but conditioning your body to look its best. Here are some mistakes you may want to correct if a sixpack is not on your horizon despite your best efforts.

Not doing enough reps

Everyone knows that to target their rectus abdominus (the muscle of your abdomen), you need to do your usual set of crunches, leg lifts and Russian twists. But what they don’t tell you is that you have to do enough reps for it to count. If you are hitting 10-20 per set and not feeling any burn on your abdomen, you are probably well below your threshold of building some serious abs. Unfortunately, the notion of no pain no gain does apply here. Once you get to the level where you feel some burn, try adding another 5 reps to bring you even further. Don’t forget that your body acclimatizes to the exercises as well, so you must up your reps over time to ensure your muscles are being worked out optimally.

Ab-building exercises can be tacked to the end of a weights session or combine them with some high intensity interval training.

Magnetic muscle sculpting
Use technology to give your abs the added edge

Not using technology to give you an added edge

The truth is that not everyone is as disciplined to fulfill the time and effort needed to work out their abdominal muscles optimally. That does not mean there is no hope for couch potatoes. That’s where Hollywood action heroes have something to teach us: workout even when you are not working out. Studies have down that magnetic stimulation of targeted muscles at rest can lead to contraction and fatigue that simulates an actual workout. The best part is that a single session of 15 minutes can be the equivalent of 15,000 crunches, thereby accelerating your sixpack sculpting progress. Magnetic Muscle Stimulation was originally used to strengthen and tighten pelvic core muscles (much like your kegels) in women who experienced laxity and urinary seepage post childbirth, as well as in the physiotherapy of athletes with sports injuries. However, its use has now extended to enhancing the body sculpting potential of people who would like to accelerate the results of their personal training regimes. Doctors will tell you it doesn’t replace exercise and diet, but with this as an adjuvant tool to give you a leg up on the body sculpting game, no one’s complaining.

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Your body fat is too high

Its funny when I see people who are obviously overweight trying to do crunches in the hope that a sixpack will magically appear. You can hit your abs with laser-like precision and build a core that would put Olympians to shame, but unless you’ve scythed away all the flab from your stomach no one’s going to know. Your sixpack could be lying under all that midsection fat, hidden from the world!

According to sports scientists, if your body fat isn’t around the 10% mark your abs simply won’t show. For a simple fat hack, accompany every meal with a mug of green tea. A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found thanks to their metabolism-boosting polyphenols a single mug accelerates your body’s break down of fat by a third. Another tip to try: fast for 12-16 hours a day to allow your body to reset, and focus on cutting off processed foods. Combine with a 1-day cleanse for best effects.

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Mix and match your fitness routine

You need to mix up your moves

Your body is smarter than you. Unless you regularly change the methods you use to assault your core the muscles will adapt to the training and stop growing. There are just three different types of body movement that effectively work your abs: flexion and extension moves like crunches; rotation exercises like medicine ball twists; and static contraction moves like the plank or hanging leg lifts. The best abs workouts will incorporate exercises from every movement type. If your routine is getting tired, mix things up to challenge yourself constantly.

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Abs are built in the kitchen

This may be a hackneyed phrase, but it does make sense. If your diet is poor and you are not taking enough protein, you won’t have the building blocks to create muscle mass aka sixpack. If you are chowing down enough calories to feed a bevy of sumo wrestler, the amount of effort and time to just break down these excess calories would mean you won’t even break even in terms of fat burning. You should not be spending all your time in the gym trying to burn off that Big Mac you’d just had. Too many people ‘reward’ themselves after a workout with a calorie-laden, protein deficient pig out. That’s just like eating poison after curing yourself of a disease. So look into your kitchen, eat clean and eat smart.  Take probiotics to strengthen your gut health. You will then find yourself building a sculpted physique with minimal effort.

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You’re not getting enough rest

The oft-ignored third element in the six-pack equation is sleep. It’s when you’re wrestling with the sandman that most muscle is built: your growth hormone levels are elevated throughout the night. What’s more, fail to get enough shuteye and the stress hormone cortisol floods your system, encouraging your body to store fat around your midriff and putting the brakes on your gains. If you’re struggling to log your eight hours first, try a warm glass of milk before bed, listening to soft music or meditation. Most of all, turn off all mobile devices and set them on silent mode to give yourself uninterrupted shuteye every night.

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