I try to put myself in your shoes to know why you want to find the answer to “Do you need cardio for lean abs?”
Well, maybe I’m not right, but I feel you do not really like cardio workouts. With that you want to hear: NO!
I do not blame you, because a lot of people, I’m among them, do not like sweating and boring cardio exercises such as running.
To know if you need cardio or not, we have to talk a little bit about you!
What type are you?
Do you have belly fat? Can you see the lines of our abdominal muscles if you stand in front of the mirror?
Yes, I can see those lines
Then you are a lucky person. Thanks to your genes, body type, daily routine, nutrition or workout plan, it is not necessary to have cardio. Focus on your abs training to develop the size and strength of the abdominal muscles. This way they pop out more leading to a real six pack look.
On the other hand, do not neglect cardio workout entirely since it has many health benefits. It also helps to maintain your low body fat.
I have belly fat 🙂 My abs somewhere under, but I cannot see them.
Do not be sad, most of the people say the same. More or less belly fat a typical sight in our modern society. I believe, it is mainly because of our unhealthy nutrition and lifestyle. We overeat (junk) and do not move enough. On the other hand, some of us have unfortunate genes and body type.
What can you do? Read on!
How to get abs? – Get rid of that belly fat!
1. Step: Proper Nutrition (6 pack abs diet)
Your body burns fat if it is in a calorie deficit. If your body does not get enough calories, it starts to use up the stored calories to get energy. So, it burns fat. This is the basis of weight loss.
So, logically it seems to be the solution to cut calories as much as possible, but the body does not work like that. If you starve, your body switches into a surviving mode and slows the metabolism drastically. So, when you consume something, it stores the calories for worse times. That is why those very low-calorie fad diets work only for a short time. On top of that, your body misses essential nutrients.
That is why a balanced diet is so important. You can consume various types of food and do not have to starve. Foods that are rich in nutrients, but low in calories. Hence, you give your body everything to function correctly. On top of that, with proper nutrition, your metabolism increases as well. So, your body burns fat naturally.
What are these diets? To tell the truth, I do not follow any eating regime at all to lose weight. I just have the right meal:
- a plenty of veggies and fruits for minerals, dietary fiber, and vitamins;
- lean meat and fish for protein (and a bit of protein supplement);
- whole grain foods for good carbs;
- nuts and various oils for healthy fats.
And, I eat 5 times a day. Obviously, I also avoid eating junk food like plague that are high in trans fats, artificial ingredients and sugar. It is more a lifestyle than a diet.
Anyway, you can find the healthiest diets here.
2. Step: Build muscle mass
Strength training not just makes you strong and formed, but also helps with burning fat. The muscle cells continuously require energy to function, even when you do not use them. Therefore, the more muscles mass you have, the faster your metabolism will be.
Hence, Do strength training for muscle development. You can do weight lifting or bodyweight workouts. I’m not talking about serious bodybuilding just about exercises to get stronger.
3. Step: Cardio for Ripped Abs and Body Fat Burning
You landed on this page because you wanted to know if you need cardio for abs, and this is the last step?
Yes, if the previous two steps are fulfilled, then you may not need cardio at all. But, it is very beneficial for many reasons and speeds up getting six pack.
Cardio exercises like running, rowing, swimming or even such moderate activities like walking, burns a lot of calories. Besides, they help to develop a healthy and strong cardiovascular system and boost your endurance. That is why I say cardio must always be in a healthy workout plan.
If you are a gym goer, you can choose from various exercise machines. Learn about the best cardio machines for abs here. But, any outdoor or indoor activity will do that increase your heart rate.
By the way, if you want to have quick yet efficient cardio training for fat loss, do high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This type of fitness exercise program is far more effective than steady-state training.
How much cardio should I do for weight loss?
That depends on the activity you do, your weight, and the length of the session. In my opinion, do the exercise you like the most. For example, I do not like running, but love cycling and walking. They burn fewer calories at a given time, but I enjoy what I do. I prefer medium intensity intervals.
Based on the study of Harward, high-impact aerobics, rowing, elliptical, circuit training, and cycling burns the most calories. For example, a 185-pound person doing intensive rowing for 30 minutes burns about 400 calories.
If you do 30-45 minute cardio 3-4 days a week, you make a huge step forward your weight loss and fitness considering your diet is balanced.
Can you get abs just from cardio?
Yes, if your body fat level decreases so low because of the training that your abdominal muscles get visible. But, you get much better results, if you also have an abs workout routine.
Step 4: Ab Exercises
You need to do abs training only for one purpose. To make your abdominal muscles stronger and more prominent in size. Most of these exercises engage just a few muscles, so they do not help much with burning calories.
The muscles of the abdomen are the same as any other muscles of your body. If you strengthen them, they will grow to adopt. And with size, they pop out more.
Note: Strengthen your entire core, not just your abs that made the six pack. That means your obliques, lower back, glutes, etc. Every part of your midsection. This way doing only crunches will be not enough for core.
If you cannot go to the gym, you can find many ab workouts at home here.
Do you need cardio for ripped abs? I hope you now know the answer. Personally, I do. I do heavy bag intense training and cycling. To sum up, an effective ab program consists the following: a healthy diet and strength training with a bit of cardio.