10 Killer Tips to Get Beach-Ready Abs by Summer
With the first day of summer slowly approaching, you know what that means…
It’s time to get your abs popping for the beach and pool parties.
This is the time of year when everyone really starts to crack down on his or her diet and training.
I’m sure you’d like to turn heads this swimsuit season too.
Fortunately, you still have time to make a change if you start right now.
That’s why I’m excited to share with you 7 killer tips to get shredded by summer.
Let’s dive right in.
Tip #1: You Should Stay Lean Year Round
Obviously I don’t know where you’re starting from or how lean you’ve been in the past.
I do however know this—when you get lean, stay lean.
There really shouldn’t be any “get shredded abs by summer” tips because you should already have shredded abs ready to go at a moments notice.
You don’t start preparing at the last moment like you’re cramming for a test only to forget the information as soon as you finish.
You stay lean year round and live the lifestyle 24/7/365.
You don’t gain fat unnecessarily just because no one’s going to see you during the winter.
You take care of your body and treat it the way it’s supposed to be treated.
Here’s the deal:
You don’t have to go through an endless amount of bulking and cutting cycles to get results.
You just need to get lean one time.
From there, you focus on adding muscle (about .5 pound per week) with minimal fat gain.
This way you can keep your abs and not have to gain fat for the sake of “bulking.”
Tip #2: Don’t be Afraid—Push Yourself
Your days until summer are numbered so there’s no time to waste.
Remember you’re trying to get ripped by summer, not prepare for a bodybuilding competition that’s a year away.
You have to be ok with pushing yourself harder than you normally would.
You have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. You might be a little bit hungry and tired at times and have to push through it.
You don’t have any time to whine or complain.
You have to stay focused and keep your eye on the prize.
Tell yourself that it’ll all be worth it in the end because it certainly will be.
Tip #3: Track Everything
Since your time is limited, you really have to be efficient with everything that you do.
This means you’ll have to track everything, yes everything.
You’ll need to account for every calorie that you’re eating and record all of your gym workouts as well.
I’m not the biggest fan of calorie counting.
Normally after a few weeks on a diet, I tell people they’ll have a good idea of the amount they’re eating just by eyeballing it.
However, this is a special case.
You can’t afford to lose any progress just because you miscalculated something.
Here are the exact steps you need to follow:
1. Determine your resting metabolic rate (RMR).
3. Subtract accordingly from your RMR based on step 2.
Ex: Subtract 500 from your RMR and eat that much to lose 1 pound per week.
4. Download a good calorie counting app like My Fitness Pal.
5. Track everything you eat and drink, but add 10% more calories.
Ex: App says an apple is 100 calories. Take 10% of 100 (10) and add that to the original total. Now the apple is 110 calories. This’ll help account for any errors because it’s never 100% right.
6. Continue to execute until you get beach-ready abs.
Tip #4: Do More Cardio (The Right Way)
Cardio has got to be one of the most confusing topics in fitness…
Some say cardio is bad and boring so don’t do it.
Some say it’s ok as long as you’re in the fat burning zone.
Others live by it.
So who’s right in all of this?
Well I say none of them.
Here’s the deal:
Cardio should be seen as a tool in your kit that can help you get (and stay) lean and nothing more.
You have other tools that are more important (nutrition, strength training, rest and recovery, etc.), but this doesn’t mean you should throw out your cardio tool—especially considering the situation you’re in.
Cardio is your friend.
With the addition of cardio, you’ll be able to:
- Burn more calories overall
- Create more leeway in your nutrition plan
- Get lean faster (that’s the main thing!)
The question is how should you go about it?
Simple—do high intensity interval training (HIIT).
Research has shown this to be the superior form of cardio.
In one study, researchers compared women doing high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) with women who did steady-state exercise.
Both groups performed their exercise 3 times per week for 15 weeks.
At the end of the study, both groups had improved their cardiovascular fitness.
However, only the HIIT group showed a significant reduction in body fat.
Doing HIIT is simple. Pick a cardio machine (or run outside) and alternate between a high intensity and a low intensity.
- Run at 7.5 mph for 1 minute
- Walk at 3.5 mph for 1 minute
- Repeat the cycle for a total of 15 minutes
That’s all there is to it! The cool thing is that you can adjust it based on your fitness level.
Adjust how fast you run or the duration of the run as needed.
You should also do more walking. Wait are you being serious right now?
Yeah, I’m dead serious.
I used to think walking was lame, but now I love it for these reasons:
These benefits make walking a no-brainer, especially considering you’ve got a deadline to meet.
My recommendation would be to walk for at least 30 minutes 3 times per week.
Tip #5: Strength Train With Compound Movements
Will cardio and diet be enough to get you to low body fat levels? Yeah, it’ll get the job done.
The problem though is that something won’t look quite right. When you hit 10% body fat you’ll end up looking flat and weak.
Sure you’re lean but you won’t turn heads at the beach like you envisioned. In order to fix this, you must strength train.
To get your best body, you have to lift weights.
There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about this statement.
Oh and you think it’s ok to spend your time doing a bunch of dumbbell curls and cable crossovers?
You not only need to strength train, but you must do so in a smart way.
This means you’ll need to focus on compound exercises—movements that involve multiple joints and muscles.
Compound movements rock:
- They work multiple muscle groups
- They save you time
- They burn more calories
- They allow you to lift heavier weights
The key here is to pick the right exercises. You really only need to focus on a few exercises per body part.
Here are my favorites:
- Weighted Chin-Ups/Pull-Ups
- Bent Over Rows
- Incline Barbell/Dumbbell Press
- Flat Barbell/Dumbbell Press
- Barbell/Dumbbell Military Press (Seated or Standing)
- Lateral Raises
- Bent Lateral Raises
- Bulgarian Split Squats
- Pistol Squats
- Skull Crushers
- French Press
- Close-Grip Bench Press
- Incline Dumbbell Curls
- Barbell/Dumbbell Curls
Stick with these exercises and you’ll put yourself ahead of just about everyone else.
Tip #6: Lift Heavy Weights
Compound exercises are great and all, but you can still waste your time doing them.
By not focusing your efforts on gaining strength with them.
Doing the same amount of weight with the same sets, reps, and rest periods is a surefire way to spin your wheels—regardless of what exercises your doing.
Your body grows from progressive overload, a.k.a. lifting heavier weights over time.
So even if you are doing incline bench presses, rows, and squats it won’t matter unless you’re adding weight to the bar.
That’s why it’s important to train in the 5-6 rep range.
This’ll allow you to lift a heavy amount of weight and spark myofibrillar hypertrophy, which is that hard and dense muscle that looks awesome.
When you reach your end goal, you’ll look defined and strong.
Compare this to working in the 12+ rep range like a lot of people do.
It’s going to be impossible to consistently gain strength and you’ll just end up going nowhere.
It’s a big myth that you need to do high reps when cutting body fat.
Any workout you do could burn fat because all workouts burn calories.
The difference between high reps and low reps for burning fat is the amount of calories that you burn, which isn’t much.
The truth is high reps produce sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and low reps myofibrillar hypertrophy.
This means you should worry about reps ranges for what type of muscle you want to build, not how much fat you want to burn.
Tip #7: Eat Healthy Foods 95% of the Time
If you’ve been reading my stuff for any length of time, you know I’m not a big fan of restricting your favorite foods.
It’s a bad dieting strategy in the long run.
For that reason, I usually recommend eating healthy, wholesome foods roughly 85% of the time and leave the remaining 15% for eating how you want.
But this is a special case—you don’t have a lot of time to prepare and your calories are going to be cut lower than usual.
Therefore you’re going to need healthy foods to make this transformation possible. Healthy foods are awesome because:
- They are nutrient dense
- They contain loads of vitamins and minerals
- They give you energy and make you feel awesome
- They keep you fuller for longer (main point)
The last bullet point is the main reason why I want you to stick with clean foods about 95% of the time.
Here’s the deal:
You don’t have that many calories to work with.
If you’re eating a bunch of junk, those calories are going to add up very quickly.
Not only that, but you’re going to be hungry for most of the day.
At that point, you can pick your poison of starving or quitting because it’s too hard.
Bear down and get the job done.
Forget about those chocolate chip cookies your grandma just made.
You’re only doing this for a short period of time.
Once it’s over, you can go back to my recommendation of 85% healthy to 15% whatever you want.
Tip #8: No Sugary Beverages—Drink Only Water
Based on the previous, this one should come as no surprise.
The concept here is the same with food—don’t waste your calories with things that won’t keep you full.
This is especially true with soda.
One 12-ounce can of coke contains 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar.
Those 140 calories won’t be doing anything to satisfy your hunger.
Let’s see how much one soda a day adds up to:
- 140 extra calories daily
- 980 extra calories weekly
- 4,200 extra calories monthly
- 51,100 extra calories yearly
This equates to a 14.6 additional pounds per year.
Depending on how much soda you’re drinking right now, eliminating it completely could be enough to get you to start losing weight.
Here’s the deal:
What if you’re used to drinking a lot of soda and you’re addicted?
Well I wouldn’t recommend switching to diet soda.
One study found an association between daily diet soda consumption and type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
And in this study, an association was found between increasing diet soda intake and abdominal obesity.
That’s why I only want you to drink water.
Your best bet to reach that point is to go about it slowly by diluting your beverage with water.
Over time, you’ll increase the amount of water and decrease the amount of soda.
The sooner you can stop drinking these sugary drinks the better.
Tip #9: Do This Ab Workout
Getting abs isn’t just about doing an endless amount of crunches—you have to drop the body fat around the midsection to reveal them.
However, being lean doesn’t mean that your abs will look amazing.
You need both training and diet to get a good six-pack.
The best way I’ve found to train abs is with circuits.
Complete all of the exercises and then rest once you’re done.
Repeat for a total of 3 rounds and do this 3 times per week.
- Cable crunches 10 reps
- Hanging Leg Raises 10 reps
- Bicycles 15 reps
This is something you should be doing even if you don’t currently have a six-pack.
Once you do burn the fat, your midsection will look stellar.
Waiting until you get lean to start training your abs will take too long.
Tip #10: Get a Tan (No Really)
When you imagine someone with beach-ready abs, do you think of them chilling in a swimsuit with a white pasty body?
They’re more than likely going to a nice tan going on.
If you want your abs to stand out, then you need to at least be somewhat tan.
There are some risks to overexposing yourself.
The key is to tan moderately.
Because there are some benefits to soaking up the rays. Including:
- More Vitamin D
- Enhanced mood
- Increased energy
For me personally, I only tan for 10 minutes.
I’ve noticed anything more than that doesn’t do me much good.
For most people somewhere around 10 minutes will work, but test it out and see what length is best for you.
Getting beach-ready abs won’t happen for you overnight.
However, if you follow these tips and work hard you can get there way sooner than you normally would have.
Even if you don’t reach your goal by the start of summer, keep at it.
Then once you do see success, you can maintain it for life.
Because let’s face it—who only wants to look good for the summer?