Shahrukh, Hrithik, Salman have been known for their six packs. But now it seems every TV star also has a six pack. You want one too?
Here's how you can go about getting one. No it's not about a crazy exercise schedule, or barely eating, it's about following a simple plan that covers both the right diet and exercise- and sticking to it religiously.
Here are the 6 rules you need to follow:
Know your body fat: We all have those abdominal muscles that form the six pack. The first step to getting close to those six pack, is knowing how much your current body-fat percentage is. The average urban Indian male has around 25% body fat. To get to a six pack, men need to have around 10% body fat and women around 18% body fat!
Active exercise: Once you know your body fat percentage, the next step is to lower it and improve your muscle definition by getting active exercise. This will help you burn fat and increase muscle mass, leading to a high metabolic rate. If you're not sure what kind of a workout to follow, we'll give you a great workout to help you get closer to that six pack. Click on the link to see the workouts: Get going: How to do the six-pack workout
Control your calorie intake: Along with exercise, controlling your calorie intake is equally important. You need to control how much food you eat, and thus how many calories you consume. If you find this can be hard with Indian food, where you're not sure of what ingredients went in, you can use this calorie counting tool that has a large database of Indian home cooked foods, with data verified by nutritional experts: http://www.fitho.in/nutritions-calorie-counter/. Make sure you don't follow a crash diet, which can have serious health consequences.
Quality and quantity matters: Besides counting calories, you need to make sure that you're consuming quality calories. What that means, is that if you have calorie target of 1700 calories, then you shouldn't just eat 5 bars of candy. You need to ensure that those 1700 calories are coming from foods that are high in fibre, and are good sources of protein, carbohydrates and fat.
Eat lots of vegetables, since they contain micronutrients that help you get fitter. Choose lean sources of protein. Avoid processed foods as they contain high amounts of sodium. And if you're craving for rich food, find a healthy alternative for it. For example, these oat pancakes are delicious & healthy (http://www.fitho.in/guide/healthy-recipes/oat-pancake/). Similarly, healthy chicken curry, pulao or anything you can think of. See the whole database here http://www.fitho.in/guide/healthy-recipes/
Must snack: Your meal pattern should be 3 regular meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with 2 snacks. Find healthy snacks- that could be a combination of fruits, nuts, even granola bars if you have a sweet tooth. Instead of buying granola bars from the market, make them at home. They're really simple, and you can control the quality of ingredients. Here's a great recipe for healthy granola http://www.fitho.in/recipe-healthy-granola-bars/
Sleep and rest enough: Sleep is key to good health and fitness. Sleep is a restorative process, that helps your muscles and systems recover. It helps you burn more calories. And if you don't get enough sleep, then it does two things: makes you crave high calorie food and stores more fat! So, make sure you get enough sleep.
Follow these 6 tips, and you'll be making good progress towards your six pack.
Note: Being responsible members of the fitness community, we must tell you that please keep in mind that six pack is not the ultimate sign of fitness. It is a sign of low body fat, and looks nice. But what is most important is for you to stay fit and healthy!
(Dhruv Gupta is the founder of the online weight loss programme Fitho ( www.fitho.in ) and the author of popular book on weight loss, Losing It- Making Weight Loss Simple).