You’ve been hitting it hard in the gym. You’ve been religious with your cardio. Yet those abs still aren’t showing through. Sound familiar?
Lean, sculpted abs are the benchmark of a head-turning physique, most likely because they’re so difficult to reveal. Why? As cliché as it sounds, abs really are made in the kitchen. No matter how much work you put in with your training, if your diet isn’t on point, your abs will stay hidden.
Luckily, we’re here to help. Below are five diet-related reasons you can’t see your abs:
- Carbs and Sugar Raise Your Blood Sugar – You might be thinking, “I’m not diabetic. Why do I need to worry about my blood sugar?” In a nut shell, when you eat carbs and/or sugar, your blood sugar goes up, increasing the level of insulin in your blood stream. Insulin is the fat storage hormone, so when your insulin levels rise, your body stops burning fat for energy.
- Insulin – To elaborate on #1, insulin works by removing glucose from the blood stream. However, the more carbs/sugar you eat, the more you desensitize your cells to insulin signals, which means the glucose remains in the bloodstream. High levels of glucose in the blood are so toxic that your body is literally trying to save you by resorting to storing the excess as fat.
- Unused Carbs and Sugar are Stored as Fat – The body metabolizes both carbs and sugar as glucose. If you are not burning this glucose for energy, the extra is stored as glycogen in your liver or your muscles. However, once those storage spaces are full, your body has no other option: it converts the glucose to fat and stores it in your love handles, muffin top and saddlebags.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup is Your Enemy – Only high-level athletes can afford small doses of high fructose corn syrup thanks to their crazy metabolism. The average person’s body, on the other hand, has no use for the sugary substance. It offers no nutritional value and is therefore stored subcutaneously as body fat. Avoid it by reading food labels carefully, particularly those on processed foods, sports drinks, juices and energy bars.
- Protein and Healthy Fats Do Not Impact Blood Sugar – A diet rich in protein and healthy fats but low in carbs is the best way to keep your blood sugar in check. Neither protein nor fats will cause your blood sugar to spike like carbs. Fats have gotten a bad rap for a while, but in fact, your body needs fatty acids to function. Plus, unlike sugar, omega-3s have actually been shown to reduce triglycerides.
The easiest way to keep your nutrition in check is by tracking macronutrients. The numbers are unique to you and your goals and they offer an easy way to hold yourself accountable. Stick to your diet for at least six weeks and watch those abs slowly reveal themselves.
For additional support, try taking Best BCAA Shredded™ before your fasted cardio. Not only will it help preserve the lean muscle you’ve worked so hard for, it can help you burn that stubborn body fat as energy during your workout.