Ripped Abs: Body Fat Percentage Is Key

Ripped, chiseled, dynamic, flat, rapid, sculpted, , are all adjectives to describe someone else’s abdominal muscles. Whether it be for vanity, or a health reason, and you are looking to “get ripped”, there are steps to consider before buying the newest, or best ab machine on television. The first step to the desired end, must be lowering your body fat percentage. If you do not work on reducing the size of your fat cells first, your hard work will be in vain.

Fat cells have a rather negative connotation, that is partially unfair. Fat is a very important part of our body, and is essential for us to survive. Fat cells are glycerol, acids, and water, and can be solid, or liquid. They are saturated, unsaturated, and mono-unsaturated, and help to control energy for your body. They aid in the absorption and digestion of vitamins, and also regulate your body temperature. Fat cells expand to store energy for your body. They are good for your hair, skin and eyes, and regulate your metabolism. However, as with all things in life, anything in excess, probably is not good for you. In order to achieve ripped abs, you need to concentrate of ridding yourself of the excess fat first.

Essential body fat is necessary to maintain life, and the body’s reproductive functions. Essential fat in women is approximately 8-12%, and 3-5% in men. A person’s body fat percentage is the percentage of total fat tissue in the body, compared to the body’s total weight. Some of this fat is essential in maintaining the body, and the other is storage, which is the excess that we are targeting to get rid of. Several techniques for estimating body fat percentages are body mass index (BMI), near-infrared interactance, duel energy x-ray absorptiometry, expansions, body average density measurement, anthropometric methods, skinfold methods, and height and circumference methods. The old rule of thumb for women is that you should weigh 100 pounds for the first five feet, and five pounds for every inch over five feet. This is not an accurate method, because of many factors involved however.

The cold, hard truth is that you must begin by restricting calories, and exercising. If you have the same caloric intake, but do not get as much exercise, the fat cells in your body expand, storing unnecessary energy for your body. Eating lighter, and more often will help to shrink the fat cells. Your body will always have the same number of fat cells, but you shrink them when you diet and exercise, lowering your body fat percentage. Eat metabolic foods, or foods that will burn off more calories while breaking down. Vegetables and fruits which are low in fat, contain water, and have a high degree of fiber (raw), help to burn fat, and suppress hunger. If you eat less, but more often, you will increase your metabolism, and burn fat more easily, and continually. If you starve your body, you will defeat the purpose, because the fat cells signal to the brain that you are hungry, and the fat cells begin to store again. Drink water on a continuous basis to shrink fat cells. Fat cells also store water, and if you do not supply it, the fat cells will retain water for your body, and expand.

Cardiovascular exercise is most important for obtaining a low body fat percentage. Cardio exercise and interval training, is the most effective way to see results. You can decide which exercises to do, but the key is raising your heart rate, and keeping it elevated for a period of time. Also called aerobics, the name of the exercise does not matter as much as the way in which you exercise. The activity needs to elevate your heart rate sufficiently, and for a prolonged time. However, you should be able to carry on a conversation while doing these exercises. It is so important to consult either a doctor, or a certified physical trainer for advice to shape a routine of exercise that is right for you. Interval training uses both high and low intensity cardiovascular exercises to reduce fat percentages. Ten to twenty minutes per day to begin with, along with cutting your calories, and drinking water, should be a faster way to get rid of the storage, or excess fat.

Just as you cannot climb a mountain by starting at the top, you need to address the body fat percentage excess, before you can begin to see your beautiful abdominal muscles forming. It requires commitment, dedication, effort, persistence, and a lifestyle change including limiting calories, and regular exercise. Exercises are only effective if you do them, so finding something that you feel comfortable with, is one of the first battles. Some people like to do exercises with others, some do not. Some have classes available, others may not be able to afford working out at a gym. The bottom line is that if you want ripped abs, you will have to incorporate some type of cardiovascular exercise into your days, in order to get the desired results.

A well-balanced diet is also crucial to body maintenance, and lowering your body fat percentage. Eat smaller portions of each food group, emphasizing those foods which are rich in nutritional value, and rich in fiber. Fibrous foods expend more energy breaking down, and decrease appetite signals to the brain. Have fewer portions more often during the day, keeping your metabolism and blood sugars balanced. Remember to drink water often, and get plenty of rest. Lack of sleep and stress tend to tell the body that you are hungry, and stress can also trigger unhealthy snacking. You may need the help of your loved ones also, because while you are eating celery and carrot sticks, they may be tempting you with chocolates or cookies. You should not give up anything to eat, but if it is not visible, it is likely that you will not consider it a necessity.

Unfortunately, getting ripped abs is a lot of hard work, first lowering your body fat percentage, and then focusing on the targeted areas of muscle to be shaped. There is no quick, easy way to achieve this goal, and each person will have his or her individual journey, whether it be to look great on the beach, or to improve their overall health. It will take dedication on your part, to cut back and exercise faithfully, and it will not happen overnight. It takes awhile for your fat cells to expand with excess body fat, and it will take as long and longer to rid them of the excess. Examine your lifestyle, and your goals, and evaluate if you can make the commitment. It is a worthwhile endeavor, and can be fun, if you enter with the correct ab attitude.