Running is the most popular form of cardio workout and there are many benefits to practicing it, but can it also help you get those longed-for abs?
So, can running help? Put simply, yes it can! Running is a good cardiovascular exercise which can help burn fat, however, diet and muscle building also come into the six-pack equation. One thing to note though here: developing a six pack takes time. It requires patience, consistency and dedication, so don’t give up if your abs aren’t popping after a fortnight. You will get there in the end.
Make your run work harder
It’s not just about endlessly long, boring runs to help you get a six pack. There’s some little tips and tricks you can enforce to make your runs even more efficient, helping to ensure you achieve the abs you really want. Turning your run into a high intensity interval session is a great way to not only burn body fat in a shorter space of time, but it also engages your abs that little bit more.
Try heading out for 20 minutes, and instead of just running at a steady pace for the duration of that 20 minutes, mix up sprints with brisk walks. Sprint as hard as you can for 30 seconds, then walk at a good pace for 30 seconds. Repeat this for 20 minutes. If you’re a beginner, tone this down a little; sprint for 20 seconds instead, and walk slowly for 40 seconds to catch your breath.
Another great way to make your run work harder, is to add an incline. If you’re on a treadmill this is easily done, and over the course of 30 minutes, you can increase your incline steadily. Technogym MyRun, the compact and silent home treadmill suitable for users of all levels, has a variable incline up to 12% and speed max of 20 km/h that allow you to find the optimal training intensity to reach your goals.
If you have a hill nearby, throw in some hill sprints to break up a run. Start with five sprints; run up as fast as you can, using your arms to really propel you forward up the hill. Then walk back down and go again. If you’re feeling particularly powerful, add some resistance to your run as this not only increases your calorie burn, it also forces your muscles to work that bit harder, and this includes your core muscles. A weighted vest is a good option, or you could run with a heavy backpack or even ankle and wrist weights.
So, the fat is being burnt by running, but to make your core muscles pop, it’s important to train them. There’s a number of moves that can work your abs to hit all the muscles. Be sure to also include big compound moves into your workout regime; think squats, lunges, bench press and deadlifts. Whilst these aren’t directly working your abs muscles, your core is having to remain engaged throughout the move. A weak core makes these moves a lot harder.
Get your diet right
There’s a lot of truth in the popular saying ‘abs are made in the kitchen’. You can do all the running in the world, but if you’re eating too many calories, especially unhealthy, non nutritious calories, you’ll struggle to shift the fat that lies over your abs.
Choosing the right foods and balancing them correctly between meals is a great way to lose fat. It is still important not to deprive your body of food: remember that we need it to have the right energy to exercise and build muscle.
Protein is an essential macronutrient and it’s important you’re getting enough as it not only helps build your ab muscles, but also, helps burn the fat that sits on top. Plus, protein promotes a feeling of fullness, and could prevent you from snacking.