Ripped abs can be very hard to achieve and even genetically impossible for some. Since abdominal fat accumulation is largely determined by hereditary factors and age, those who are not genetically predisposed to ripped abs or older folks may have a hard time developing the chiseled look. The best way to get ripped abs, however, will differ based on each individual's unique qualities and circumstances. Generally, however, ripped abs require both proper eating and exercise habits to lose any fat obscuring the abs, as well as ab-targeted exercises that helps provide definition in the mid-section.
Starting with a healthy diet is often a critical step in getting ripped abs. A muscle-building diet, high in lean proteins such as chicken, fish or tofu will help build muscle and stave off hunger cravings. Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables are also an important component of a low-fat diet. Highly processed, packaged foods, on the other hand, should be avoided.
Many nutrition experts and fitness professionals recommend eating several small meals, four to five times per day. This approach is often touted as an effective way to manage metabolism and hunger cravings which in turn is helpful in maintaining a lean body. This type of diet typically focuses on 300 to 500 calorie meals that are high in protein. If the majority of calories consumed are from fresh and lean food sources, counting calories often isn't necessary.
Cardiovascular exercise, such as jogging, biking or swimming, is also usually needed to lose excess abdominal fat. The common recommendation is to engage in some type of cardio exercise for 25 to 45 minutes at least three to five times per week. Regular cardio exercise coupled with a healthy diet will help to burn excess body fat and display the abdominal muscles.
Building the strength of abdominal muscles is an essential component for achieving ripped abs. Abdominal exercises should be performed for at least thirty minutes, every other day. Taking a day off in between will allow the muscles to heal and repair more quickly, giving them a more accentuated appearance.
Ab exercises should be varied, working several different abdominal groups. Fortunately, there are several exercises that can be accomplished without the use of machines or a gym membership. Bicycles and side reaches will help work the oblique areas of the abdominal area. Adding free weights to side reaches will help create definition in the abs as well. Traditional sit-ups and crunches performed with the legs in the air will help work the rectus — upper abs — and transverse abdominal muscles — muscles along the side and front of the torso. Sit-ups atop a large exercise ball, as well as crunches with the legs raised perpendicular to the floor — also known as vertical leg crunches — are great ab toning exercises.
For those that have access exercise machines, like those in gyms, many more exercises are available. The captain's chair allows for leg lifts that builds the rectus abdominis and obliques, much like side reaches and bicycles. The ab crunch machine is an alternative to the traditional machine, allowing the addition of weights to help build muscle. Ab rollers, which are essentially a wheel with two handles, are inexpensive tools which help build abs quickly.