So is running good for abs? The answer is yes it is. Running may not give your that rippling 8 pack, but it certainly will help to flatten your midsection. Your entire abdominal muscle (aka the core) is responsible for holding your body in an upright position while you run.
Being fit and healthy does not require you to have a sophisticated or complex exercise program. More often than not, simple exercises such as walking, swimming, biking or running will do great things for your health and fitness. You will be burning calories, stretching off your muscles and releasing ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain. As long as you have the proper mindset, perseverance, and discipline, then you are good to go.
Nowadays a lot of people are looking for ways to keep themselves healthy, yet many of us struggle to find the time in our hectic day to day lives. With the prominence of fast foods, processed foods, and other genetically altered ingredients available in the market, one can’t help but wonder how to keep fit and healthy in today’s modern world.
It goes without saying that you will need to do some form of exercise if you want flat abs. One of the easiest exercises that you can perform is running. Running has been a go-to exercise for a long time. Not only can you do it anytime, but you can do it anywhere. However, here lies a question – is running good for abs?
How Is Running Good For Abs?
But is running good for abs specifically; and if so, how so?
Now listen, there are two kinds of runners: those who already possess great abs and those who, well, don’t have them but wish they did. Admit it! Who doesn’t want to have great abs, right? Having good looking abs – or some would call “6-pack or washboard abs”, is something every man and woman wants. Not only do great abs look good, but they are also healthy.
According to research, having abs means that there is less amount of belly fat. Furthermore, if you have less amount of belly fat, it means that there is a lower risk of having diabetes and heart disease, which is, by the way, one of the most dangerous diseases worldwide.
Every time you engage in running, you are training your abs. As mentioned in an article on this subject by livestrong.com; running alone will not produce 6-pack abs the way dedicated ab exercise do. However, by combining long steady state runs, with fast, shorter ones, you will help tone and strengthening your core. At the same time you will be increasing your metabolism and burning fat in the process. Remember, you can have the best abs in the world, but if they are covered in a layer of fat, no one will see them!
According to experts, “abdominal muscles play a vital role in body stabilisation and force generation while you are running.” Hence, when you are running, your abs are slowly toned and gradually develop.
There are actually different of types of running that will help you develop your abs and your core. These are:
- Steady endurance runs: These are longer yet slower runs which will help with the stability of your core. However, they are brutal when it comes to burning calories. These will help in burning fat while making your abs evident in the process.
- Sprint intervals or speed intervals: They are also great in strengthening the abs and help build up your core. Mixing your running or walking to sprint or walking fast followed immediately with slow recovery runs or walking will help elevate the heart rate which helps burn fats.
- Hill repeats or hill workout: They are great to strengthen abs. Running uphill will give you the workout of your life. It will leave you all red and very sweaty to the point where your legs will give up. But this definitely will give your workout a “run” for the money! You will either love it or leave it.
Generally, mixing these different methods and varying your pace, intensity and distance will give you the maximum results and benefits you are aiming for in order to tone your abs.
Running and Your Diet
If you really want to achieve a healthy and toned body, it is not enough that you rely on exercise alone. No matter how much exercise or running you do, if you still keep on eating heaps of carbs, sweets, and oily foods – it will definitely not produce your desired result.
Your diet also plays an important role in order to achieve toned abs and build muscles. Hence proper diet and attitude should be observed so as not to lose muscle and keep those abs toned.
Simple Diet Tips to Follow
Eat lots of protein
Include meat in your diet, especially those that are lean. Meat is a good source of protein and this is an essential factor in order for you to build your muscles. Proteins are rich in amino acids and you can’t build ab muscles without adequate amounts of protein.
Eat enough protein and consume between 1-2 grams per pound of your body weight. So if you weigh around 200 pounds, you would need around 200 grams of protein a day. Healthy sources of protein are chicken, eggs, fish and whey. So you can try to break down your supply of protein to small amounts for the whole day so that your body can absorb them well.
Eat plenty of carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are essential in order to fuel your body, especially when you are running. Glycogen is the storage form of carbs and the saturation of glycogen enables the body to get energy from them instead of turning to protein for energy right away. The higher the level of carbohydrates in your body, the more the body will remain in anabolic surroundings that will help in turning them to energy.
Eat a lot of meals
Try to eat 6 meals per day in order to achieve more calories in your body that you can burn. Make sure that you don’t overeat and try to keep the meals small and at a minimum. Eating small meals will help in the production of insulin in your body which is important to promote an anabolic environment.
Eat before working out
The best foods to consume before you work out are meals consisting of slow-burning carbohydrates such as rice and pasta. Slow-burning carbohydrates take longer to become glucose, thus making sure that blood sugar levels are consistent. They also keep your body from crashing, making sure that you will have a longer time to train harder and more energy. Make sure that you compliment your food with proteins to maximize the gains.
Drink more water
Like in any other workout or exercise, water is an essential element in order to replenish the liquid that comes out of your body. You have to avoid getting dehydrated in order to keep those muscles growing. Water helps in the distribution of nutrients all over your body, making sure that your muscles are adequately quenched.
As a final note: be sure to avoid foods that have too much oil, salt, and sugar. Do not eat processed foods such as fries, sodas, or chips because this is not only unhealthy, but they will make you crave more which may ruin your goal in becoming healthy and building those muscled abs.
Do you want to complement your running regime with some ab specific exercises? If so you can check out our in depth review of some of the best ab machines on the market today.