They’re on Instagram and in magazines: runners with six-pack abs. Professional runners like Meb Keflezighi and Deena Kastor flaunt enviable torsos in photos. Even some recreational runners are sporting great midsections. But can you get six-pack abs from running?
The Benefits of Running
Running is great cardio. If you’re looking to lose weight, running burns a lot of calories. If you already have a strong core, losing weight might reveal a six-pack. But losing weight also might break down the muscle, and you’d lose the six-pack along with the pounds.
Professional (and even serious) runners have six-packs because they do a lot of core work: planks and sit-ups, or strength training sessions. Having a strong core helps stabilize them when they’re running, making them more efficient. They also pay attention to how much sleep they’re getting to control their cortisol levels (stress hormone levels) and nutrition. That saying, “abs are made in the kitchen”? It’s absolutely true.
How to Build a Six-Pack
For the average person looking to build six-pack abs, running alone won’t do it. Getting a six-pack requires taking a complete approach to exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle. You need to build a strong core, lower your body fat percentage, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep and reducing stress so that your cortisol levels don’t spike.
One of the reasons top CrossFit athletes have such strong-looking cores is that it’s required for so many movements. Without a stable midsection, you can’t lift heavy or do toes to bar, for example. In our gym, we do a lot of progressions to help strengthen your midline, everything from knee raises and sit-ups to holds that engage your muscles. Workouts are part of getting a six-pack, but they’re not the only factor.
How to Speed Up the Process
The big secret to getting a six-pack, in addition to weight loss and regular exercise, is nutrition. While calories are important, what you’re eating in terms of protein, fats, and carbs will determine whether or not you’re losing body fat and revealing the strong core you’ve been working for in the gym.
The best way to do this is to work with a nutrition coach. He or she can help you create healthy eating habits and figure out the best way to make them work with your lifestyle and preferences. For example, if you’re a vegetarian, a nutrition coach can help you choose foods that will give you enough protein to build muscle – and that six-pack.
If you’re ready to take the next step to six-pack abs, Click here to chat with a coach about creating your plan.
If you just started running and you don’t exactly love it click here to learn how you can make running suck less.