Tag: Health and Fitness

What Percent Body Fat Do You Need To See Abs

What Percent Body Fat Do You Need To See Abs

Have you ever wondered what percentage of body fat you need to be at to see your abs? If you are into fitness, or have ever cut weight to achieve your best look, then you have likely pondered this question. And although this number and exact percentage is different for everyone, there are some good general guides to get you close. This article will cover those.

As a general rule, 10% body fat for men (14-17% for women) is the key number to really show your abs. You will start to see the definition of your abs before you get down to 10%. However, to really see the definition of your 6-pack, then 10% is your best target number.

Getting to 10% is simple, but it’s not easy. And always keep in mind that most of the work and heavy lifting is done in the kitchen, not in the gym.

Many people have the opposite perception of this important fact. You can do ab work and core work every day for hours, but if your diet is full of fat and unhealthy foods, then it’s a nearly impossible journey to get to 10%.


The Fundamentals of Getting to 10% Body Fat

Reality is, to cut weight and get to 10% body fat you simply must lose excess fat on your frame.

And the most effective way to do this is to consume less calories than you burn over a given period of time. And that period of time of course depends on your starting point.

If your body fat percentage is 25% or higher, then that is defined as obesity. So the journey will take longer but it’s still totally achievable. Whereas if your body fat is 15%, then you are very close to your target and it will not take as long.

However, if you have ever cut weight and reduced your body fat to 10%, then you likely know that the last 5% are oftentimes the most challenging. If you are obese, or severely obese, the weight falls off rather quickly when you start dieting and cutting weight. The first few months it’s possible that you might lose 5 pounds a week just with small changes.

But as your body adapts and becomes more efficient, and your metabolism changes to adjust to the reduction in calories, it is natural for the process to slow and become more challenging. But look at this as a positive thing, as your body is becoming more efficient.

Check out our friends at A Lean Life for more info on the process of getting lean.


Reduce Carbs…But Not Entirely

Most people trying to get extra lean need to reduce their carbohydrate intake. Carbs are a major stumbling block for many people, and the key to getting to 10% body fat is reducing carbs.

Cutting back on carbs has plenty of health benefits like losing weight, and it can also get you closer to getting your target % body fat. But how does one actually do this when most of us have diets that include a lot of carbs?

Here are some Diet Tips to get you to 10%:

1 – Enjoy healthier drinks.

Sugar-sweetened drinks like soda or iced tea are high in sugar and carbs. If water quenches your thirst, but not your craving for something tasty to drink, add lemon or sugar-free sweeteners like Stevia, Erythritol, or Xylitol. This will make your iced tea or water pretty tasty!

Also, fruit juices contain lots of carbs and so much sugar. Even those that claim they’re 100% fruit! So, you might as well eat the actual fruit so you can have some fiber too.

2 – Low-carb snacks can also make you feel full.

If you get really hungry a few hours before a meal, enjoy a quick fix of low-carb snacks like nuts and cheese—make sure you have them in small servings! Protein bars (100 to 250 calories) also work really well.

3 – More veggies, less bread and potatoes!

Especially when eating out, a lot of meal choices include bread and potatoes. Check with the restaurant if you can replace these high-in-carbohydrate foods with healthy vegetables instead. White bread and pasta are considered simple carbohydrates, and are on the no-go list when you’re cutting to get shredded. Not to be mistaken with complex carbs, such as brown rice and whole wheat bread (which are healthy and necessary).

4 – Load up on protein.

This will make you feel full because of the “fullness hormone” PYY that’s released by protein. It reduces the feeling of hunger, and can help stop certain cravings of more food. Have at least one of these with breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

  • Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Lean meats (sirloin steak)
  • Fish
  • Poultry (white meat chicken – grilled, no skin)

5 – Read food labels and count carbs!

Choose food items that have lower carb and sugar content, and also watch your calorie count. A good target is a calorie deficit of 200-300 calories per day.

You’ll lose fat, but not too fast where you start to lose muscle also.

You can even try out using nutrition trackers – look for available apps on your phone. These trackers will help you keep count of your carbohydrate intake.


The Bottom Line on Body Fat for Abs

If you want to see your abs, then you need to be 10% body fat (or at least very close). It’s not an easy journey, but it’s very doable with some discipline and a lean diet.

Learn more: Fat Loss Forever >>

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A Practical Guide To Level Up Your Exercise Routine

A Practical Guide To Level Up Your Exercise Routine

When you started working out as a beginner, your ultimate goal was probably building a consistent exercise routine. Of course, it’s one of the best habits to have since consistency is an essential element of discipline. But once your body has adapted to what you’re doing and reached a certain level of fitness, any change may be necessary.

Locking into your established workout routine for a long time can set you up to a plateau, demotivation, and even burnout. Note that you’re likely to see a decrease in performance when you experience any of these things. By all means, you would not want that to happen after working so hard on your fitness goals.

Thus, if you’re beginning to lose interest and focus during your workouts, it’s most likely one of the indicators that you need to switch things up. So, here is a practical guide to level up your exercise routine.


Make An Assessment

Before making any changes, it’s essential to assess where you are right now and what you’re currently doing in terms of your fitness goals. Are there any significant improvements? Or are you getting the same results? Do you want to see better changes in your body? Take the time to look at the areas where you excel and need some progress.

You may want to consider the following factors when making an assessment.

Nutrition

Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain weight, or get a ripped body, you must evaluate what you’re currently eating. Many people struggle with nutrition, which has a great impact on their bodies. Remember that what you’re feeding yourself can either build or ruin your fitness goals.

If you think this is one of your weak areas, you may visit websites like BarBend.com to give an idea of what other nutrients are a good addition to your diet.

Exercise

It’s also important to assess what exercise routines you are already doing and your progress in each of them. Are you performing endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance exercises? Or are you only focusing on one type of training or workout?

Besides assessing the forms of exercise you’re doing, you may also have to consider the following aspects:

  • How hard are you working out?
  • How often are you doing the exercise?
  • And how long are you exercising?

Get a NEW Workout Program >>


Make Necessary Changes

Once you’re able to get an assessment of your current nutrition and exercise plan, it’s easier for you to make the necessary changes. That said, you have to adjust your goals and apply new steps to acquire the fitness level you desire.

Change Your Exercises

When you do the same exercises repeatedly, your mind space out as your body goes through the familiar patterns. As a result, you may experience boredom and eventually reach a plateau. That’s why adding variety to your exercise routine is the first alteration you may have to make if you want to level up.

Besides performing unilateral exercises, you may use something unstable like a ball or foam roller to add a challenge to your balance training. You can also do two exercises at once, such as squatting with an overhead press.

Varying your workout can help you stay physically challenged. But change it up based on your experience level and training cycle.

Change Your Frequency

How often you should do your routines depends on the type of training you’re doing and the goal you want to achieve. Let’s say you’re weightlifting, and your goal is to be fit and strong. You may stick with two or three days of bodyweight workouts every week. However, you may have to lift every day if you want to build lots of muscle.

When your goal is building up, it would always make sense to increase the frequency or the number of days you work out in a week. But then again, it’s advisable to change the number of workouts you have each week occasionally to prevent adaptation. For instance, you usually do four workouts per week. You can then try doing three workouts if you have hit a plateau.

Change Your Intensity

Another way to level up your exercise routine is to change your intensity. It’s basically how hard you are working out. Remember that intensity has nothing to do with how difficult or easy your workout session is. But it’s more of how much weight you lift in comparison with your reps.

If you notice you can do more reps than before, try to increase your workout intensity. You can do it by moving faster, adding vertical challenge, increasing resistance, cross-training, or interval training.

Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is necessary to level up your exercise routine to the next level. However, be mindful not to overdo it.

Learn Proper Recovery Techniques >>

Change Your Workout Length

How long you should workout is a personal preference. But in order to make more consistent gains, you can alternative your workout length from time to time.

If you also want to increase your fitness level, you may try to work out six to nine hours a week. However, you must pay attention to how you feel before, during, and after every workout.

Change Your Diet

Fueling your body with essential nutrients is part of leveling up your exercise routine. Keep in mind that your body needs a certain amount and type of food to work out at an optimal level. Your muscles also need it to recover after doing a lot of physical activity. Taking supplements is a good thing to add to your diet plan to level up your fitness routine and performance.


Takeaway

There is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to taking your exercise routine to the next level. It depends on a number of factors, such as your current progress and desired fitness goals. But learning how to pay attention to how your body responds is of the utmost importance.

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5 Reasons Why Good Quality Sleep Is Beneficial To Your Health & Fitness

5 Reasons Why Good Quality Sleep Is Beneficial To Your Health & Fitness

Often we hear that sufficient good quality sleep is vital for our physical and mental well-being. But, we often focus on our diet and physical activity when trying to improve our health and fitness and ignore sleep. Though sufficient good quality sleep is a must for our body to rest and recover. And is equally important for us to stay healthy and fit.

In 24 hours of a day, we try to accomplish as many tasks as possible. But, when we don’t find enough time to complete our tasks, we tend to sacrifice sleep. Insufficient good quality sleep or poor sleep has an adverse impact on your hormones; which can lead to weight gain, mental stress, depression, anxiety, and other life-threatening diseases like cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes.

As per sleep experts, 7-8 hours of good quality sleep each night is best to achieve optimal health benefits. Sufficient good quality sleep allows your body to take the complete rest that is required by it to recover from the hard work of the day and be ready for the task that needs to be accomplished the following day.

Insufficient good quality sleep also affects your social well-being, as it can make you irritable and moody. Plus, it can reduce energy levels and motivation to perform your daily tasks, ruining your productivity.

Older adults are more resistant to the effects of sleep deprivation. But young adults and children don’t have the same level of resistance and may become hyperactive or rebellious.

So, here are 5 reasons why sleep is good for your health and fitness…


1. Prevents Excess Weight Gain

Sufficient good quality sleep helps your body to prevent excess weight gain by stopping you from overeating and it allows your body to balance hormones, Ghrelin, and Leptin. These hormones control your hunger. Ghrelin, also called the “hunger hormone”, stimulates appetite and increases the intake of food; whereas Leptin inhibits hunger. Ghrelin promotes the storage of fat whereas leptin helps in reducing fat storage.

Insufficient sleep disrupts your body from using insulin properly. Your body becomes insulin resistant which allows fat to circulate in your blood resulting in the generation of more insulin. This excess insulin is stored as fat in your body

Insufficient good quality sleep also results in increasing your stress level. When your stress levels increase, your body starts producing more Cortisol; which forces your body to store more calories as fat.

2. Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

When you are asleep, your blood pressure level lowers down which results in giving your heart and blood vessels a rest. Insufficient good quality sleep or poor quality sleep is known to increase the stress level and increase anxiety; which can increase your blood pressure level and cholesterol levels. High blood pressure and excess cholesterol level in your body can lead to serious life-threatening diseases like hypertension, coronary heart diseases, and diabetes mellitus.

In addition to diet control and physical activity, doctors recommend that 7-8 hours of good quality sleep daily is vital to reduce the risk of developing many cardiovascular diseases.

3. Improved Concentration and Productivity

Another reason why sleep is good for your health is because it helps to improve your brain health. An adequate amount of good quality sleep can boost levels of your concentration, problem-solving skills, and productivity.

Insufficient good quality sleep or poor sleep can impair the functioning of your brain, make you tired mentally, and reduce the level of alertness and concentration. Sleep deprivation can throw clarity of thoughts out for a toss and you won’t be able to make the simplest of decisions, and forget making complex ones because of which your productivity suffers.

The deep sleep stage is essential for your brain to consolidate memories and link stories of the day. While your body is resting, your brain is at work in consolidating feelings, memories, events, thoughts, and other sensory inputs gathered during the day and preparing for new inputs, memories, thoughts, events to be registered the following day.

4. Boosts the Immune System

Your immune system helps you to fight infection by identifying harmful viruses and bacteria and getting rid of them. Another health benefit of adequate good quality sleep each night is that it can help you improve your immune system and help fight infections like the common cold.

As per some studies, even a small reduction in the amount of required sleep can weaken your immune system. It found that people who sleep less than 7 hours per night are 3 times more likely to catch a cold than those who sleep a minimum of 8 hours per night.

Sleep deprivation weakens your immune system and your body is not able to fight infections with the same strength or pace.  Due to a weak immune system, you may fall sick more often.

5. Helps to Reduce Inflammation

Insufficient good quality sleep increases stress hormones and anxiety which raises the level of inflammation in your body resulting in making your body prone to developing cardiovascular diseases, even cancer, and diabetes.

Also, inadequate good quality sleep or poor sleep has a major undesirable impact on your body as your body may develop inflammation due to cell damage. It may lead to recurring inflammatory bowel diseases due to inflammation of your digestive tract.

Conclusion

In addition to a healthy diet and a good amount of physical activity, sufficient good quality sleep is vital for your physical and mental well-being.

Sufficient good quality sleep is good for your health and fitness because of several reasons:

  • it boosts your immune system to fight infections
  • helps you to avoid weight gain
  • helps you to avoid developing life-threatening cardiovascular diseases
  • improves concentration
  • helps in reducing stress levels and inflammation
  • and getting rid of anxiety

Sufficient good quality sleep helps you to rest and recover from the tiring efforts of the day which is vital for being productive the next day.

This is a Guest Article from SleepStandards.com


More Sleep Articles:

How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need? >>

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How To Use A Foam Roller

How To Use A Foam Roller Properly

It takes only a few minutes to learn the proper foam rolling technique to relax your tight tendons and soft-tissues. So, let’s get started now on how to use a foam roller properly to increase joint mobility and decrease muscle pain and stress!

Page Contents:

Get our complete How To Warm-Up Properly Guide >>


How Foam Rolling Works

Foam rolling works by:

  • Breaking apart adhesions in the tissue layers (known as self-myofascial release),
  • Moving fluids through soft tissues,
  • and overall assisting with Muscle Recovery.

So, you can use it to aid in the mobility of tight tissues or just as a recovery technique.

Foam rolling has become very popular in recent years, but it has been around for decades. As it is an effective tool that helps to mobilize your joints by relaxing the soft tissues and muscles around them if done properly. But, the most important thing you need to know about foam rolling is that it is NOT a fix-all solution.

Foam rolling simply prepares your body to improve joint and muscle flexibility by relaxing any chronically tight tissues around them.

If a muscle is tight, or overactive, it will fight against any stretching you do for it. So, the foam roller can be used to help relax your muscle tissues in order to prepare them for other stretches.

It is what you do after foam rolling that counts!

Stretching Exercises >>


Proper Foam Rolling Technique

Here’s how to use a foam roller properly:

Beginner Technique

  • Simply roll the foam roller up and down your muscles in a controlled manner to massage the muscle. This is a great way for beginners to start, as it is the least intense.

Advanced Technique

  • For a more effective self-myofascial release technique, attempt to crush your tissues lightly by rotating on them horizontally using controlled pressure. So, instead of rolling the roller up and down your muscles, keep the roller in place and roll your body side-to-side (perpendicular) along the same area. This will reach down deeper into the tissues.
  • Then move slightly up the muscle and do the same thing.

To properly break apart adhesions in your soft tissues, stop at points where you feel the most pain and relax the muscle into the roller.

Stay on that spot for at least 30 seconds at a time and breathe deep to let your muscles relax. Then slowly continue rolling over the entire muscle.

If no tightness or pain is felt in a certain area, then either use a firmer tool or move on. You will only feel pain where there is tightness. The same as a massage.

Get our complete How To Warm-Up Properly Guide >>


Choosing a Foam Roller

Foam rolling is most effective with a smooth round object that can roll over your soft tissues; such as a stiff ball or cylinder.

Soft Choices for a Light Massage

  • Basic Foam Roller
  • High-Density Foam Roller
  • Tennis Ball

Buy a Foam Roller >>

Firm Choices for a Deep Massage

  • 4-6″ PVC Pipe
  • Lacrosse Ball

Buy Lacross Balls >>

It is best for beginners to start with a soft roller, then upgrade to a firm roller. Preferably a solid PVC pipe or something similar.

I know that sounds like it hurts, and it does…at first. But it is the only thing that is truly going to work.

This is because, if the roller is less dense than your tissues, then it will break down and limit the amount of tissue release you can obtain.

Your tight tissues can only be fully released with dense objects that can break apart the adhesions. And anything made of foam just isn’t enough.

However, this also will increase the intensity of the message so you won’t need to use it as frequently. It’s the same as when you do high-intensity workouts, you need more time to recover.

What NOT To Get

When choosing your foam roller, make sure that you get one that does NOT have a bunch of spikes on it or “pressure points”. Though it may feel good, it is not nearly as useful as just getting a firmer object, like a PVC Pipe or Lacross Ball.

Remember, we want to smash over the muscle massaging everything, not just pinpoint it. That is what hand massages are for. And the fancy-looking rollers just don’t do as well.

Get our complete How To Warm-Up Properly Guide >>


How often can I use a Foam Roller?

You can roll out your tissues anytime, from before, during, or after your workouts.

  • Before, or during, your workouts if you have a tight muscle that is causing pain, or preventing proper technique.
  • Post-workout or on non-workout days to help with recovery.

However, the same muscles should not be rolled out more than four times per week. And often not multiple days in a row, to allow for proper recovery.

This is because, when you use a foam roller, you are breaking apart your soft tissues, similar to when you workout. So you need time to recover before doing it again.

Get our complete How To Warm-Up Properly Guide >>


How long should Foam Rolling take?

How long foam rolling takes, depends on how tight your muscles are. At first, your self-myofascial release massage may take an hour if you have a lot of tight tissues. If it does, then let it.

Do not rush through this process!

Over time, as your tissues are released and become more relaxed it will take less and less time.

If you have limited time, it is best to focus on the most important areas during the time you have. Set a timer if needed, and go for 10-20 minutes.


how to warm-up properly for strength training bookGet Our Complete Workout Warm-Up Guide!

Learn how to decrease pain, improve performance and prevent injury with mobility exercises specific to your workout!

Be ready for any workout in 15 minutes or less!

Learn More


How To Prevent Injury >>

Tendonitis Treatment >>

How To Cure Joint Pain >>

How To Commit to Your New Year’s Resolution Fitness Goals

How To Commit to Your New Year’s Resolution Fitness Goals

New Year = New Goals

Do you, or someone you know, need to find a way to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions and Fitness GoalsWell, I have your solution! And it all starts with committing to yourself and your goals!

Take the 30 Day Fitness Challenge >>

First, let me tell you how I did it…

On Christmas Day 2015 I made the biggest decision of my life. It was the decision to invest in myself and pursue my dreams of creating my own success, my way.

It all started with a commitment to myself, and over 4 years later that commitment has never faltered. Not even for one single day!

That’s over 4 years of Commitment to my own strength, health, and fitness every…single…day.

And that commitment all began with The Daily 30A simple fitness routine that has helped me in more ways than I can list! And I know it will help you too!

Take the 30 Day Fitness Challenge >>

Commit To Yourself and Your Goals

The main purpose of the Daily 30 Bodyweight Exercise Routine is to teach you to stay committed to your strength, health, and fitness goals by helping you to develop the self-discipline you need to succeed in training and in life.

Just ask yourself…when is the last time you did something every single day for over a year to work towards your goals? Most people will say never and that is why most people never succeed.

So, be different! Be the one that does succeed! Then tell others how easy it is just by developing a little self-discipline.

I have done the Daily 30 for 1,468+ days in a row now (at the time of this post) and I plan to do it every day for the rest of my life.

Whether I was healthy, sore, sick, tired, injured, or just didn’t feel like it, I stuck to my commitment and that is the base of all my success in training and in life.

Just by making that simple commitment to myself I remember to always keep my goals on track, no matter how hard things get.

That is why I made The Daily 30! To help people stay committed to their goals every day.

Plus, the exercises are so simple anyone can do them! And it takes less than 3 minutes to do, allowing no room for excuses.

So, whether it be you or if you know someone that needs something to stick to this coming year, The Daily 30 is exactly what they need!

Think of it as the first step in making a commitment to yourself for a better, stronger and healthier future.

Get started today by clicking the link below!

Start The Daily 30 Challenge Today!

Make sure to share this with your friends!

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