Crunches: check. Sit-ups: check. You’ve done every core workout under the sun, so where’s the promised six pack? If your abs are still hiding under a pesky layer of fat, it might be time to reconsider your diet choices. Luckily, it’s not too late to change your ways and uncover your abs before beach season is over. Men’s Health recommends eating smaller meals along with 3 to 4 liters of water daily in order to maintain your blood sugar level and boost your metabolic rate. Cut back on the carbs, as Muscle and Health advises, and stick to only eating them in the morning or right before a workout. Plus, whatever you do, avoid those midnight snacks! When it comes to what foods you should put in your body, reach for any of these six options to speed up your six-pack.
Eggs have been your longtime fitness friend. Since they’re packed with protein, a morning omlette or scramble is a great option before a workout. But did you know eggs also contain a nutrient called choline that boosts your metabolism? According to EatThis.com, research has shown that eating eggs for breakfast makes it easier to lose weight and shred those abs. If you want to maximize on egg’s sculpting potential, hard boil a few eggs and bring them to work as an afternoon snack.
3. Green Tea
Instead of reaching for that protein shake right after the gym, consider steeping some hot tea. Studies have shown that people who drink a cup of green tea four to five times a day lose more stomach fat than non-tea-drinkers. The reason for this miraculous phenomenon? According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate, a natural chemical compound that causes the body to use fat as fuel. And of course, since it’s a zero-calorie beverage, you can drink as much green tea as you’d like without worrying about adding weight.
Dairy is another crucial element of an ab-sculpting diet. Research has shown that incorporating this calcium and protein source into your daily meals will help you eliminate fat, especially in your stomach. In fact, one study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that subjects who ate more low-fat dairy products had less abdominal fat. While dairy is a great option for trimming down, as Huffington Post reminds readers, beware added sugar! Stick to products like nonfat greek yogurt or skim milk over flavored and sweetened options.
5. Lean Meat
When it comes to meat, the leaner the better. This added protein helps you stay full and keeps you from overeating during subsequent meals. In fact, protein has been shown to boost post-meal calorie burn by 35%, which is great news for your long-awaited six-pack. Go for options like lean turkey, chicken, or salmon. In addition to the protein benefits, turkey breast contains nearly one third of your daily requirements of niacin and vitamin B6, while salmon is bursting with omega-3s that help fight inflammation.
There seems to be a never-ending debate in the fitness world about bananas. Some critics claim they contain too much sugar to be a viable nutritious option. But when it comes to uncovering your abs, bananas are key. They increase bacteria in the stomach that reduces gas build-up, plus all the potassium cuts down on water retention (aka, no more ab-hiding-belly-bloat). Throw some bananas in your oatmeal, or bring a few to the gym as a pre or post-workout snack. Your gut will thank you.