THE BLOG
09/17/2014 09:11 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2014

Top 6 Components to Achieving 'Ripped Abs' in the Real World

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Top 6 Components to Achieving 'Ripped' Abs in the Real World"
By Robert Reames, ('RR') Head Trainer for the The Dr. Phil Show

Folks, somewhere along the line, like many concepts in the fitness and wellness industry, what it actually takes to achieve what we call "ripped abs" has been somewhat distorted. What we're really talking about here is getting your body to a state of leanness where then you actually see the definition of your abdominal musculature.

Fat burning is what I call a "systemic phenomenon." For the body to be optimally burning fat there are many factors/systems at work here which you'll see below. A great deal more than some simple myth of spot reduction or the isolated conditioning of a muscle group for a goal of fat reduction in that particular area. (In other words, there's a lot more to achieving abdominal development than just performing multiple reps of crunches.)

For example, to amp up the fat reduction in your abdominal area, ramp up your lower body resistance training workouts. The largest and most dense musculature is in your lower body. And the more muscle you build, develop and maintain, the more fat you burn as a result. Your system simply needs to put out more energy (i.e, calories) to maintain and support muscle. You could say in many ways: muscle dictates rate and efficiency of metabolism. Very rarely, if ever, will you see someone with incredible abs that doesn't have other awesome development of the body (great arms, legs, glutes, chest, back, shoulders, etc.) as well.

That said, here are the RR Top 6 Components to Achieving Those 'Ripped Abs':

1. Your Nutrition Plan: Optimum nutrition is a continuous balance and manipulation of key hormones to burn fat and keep your body ultimately lean using real food with optimum meal balance. This is especially true for keeping belly fat to a minimum.

2. Ongoing Consistent Strength Training: Consistent total body strength training working all major muscle groups is vital to optimize fat burning. As I said above, the more muscle you have, the more fat burned. Simple as that.

3. Proper Rest: Sleep deprivation can make you fat. In general shoot for seven to nines hours of restful sleep per night. Get to bed by 10 p.m.

4. Consistent Cardio: Cardio acutely burns fat. HIIT Training (high-intensity interval training) is awesome not only during the workout, but works for you to burn more fat throughout the day. Like a good stock or a mutual fund, it just keeps making you money.

5. Optimum Stress Management: High chronic stress can mean chronically high cortisol levels (stress hormones). High stress also correlates with lack of quality and quantity of sleep and is associated with the accumulation of excess belly fat.

6. Work Your Specific Abdominal Exercises: After all the above is said and done, work your abdominal muscles specifically. Hanging knee lifts and ball crunches are awesome! Comprehensive core work and optimum posture also play a key role here in abdominal development.

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