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New Year's Special: The Dos and Don'ts to Getting Toned Abs

This article is brought to you by Melissa Kartini Ariffin Ong

“Lose weight”, “eat healthily”, “exercise more” … Ah, aren’t we familiar with most of these come New Year’s Day? With resolutions rolling out like crazy, it’s only natural to get

caught up in the hype. But if you look closely, you’ll notice more specific healthrelated

resolutions, one of the most prominent being the desire to develop abs. Not that

many manage to achieve this, and it’s not because they didn’t put any effort in their training

(although many fall out of it not long after starting!). So why does this happen?

You’d be surprised to hear that it’s because of their diet. Who knew that food could

play such a major role in abbuilding? Let’s take a look at what it takes to have the perfect diet.


It’s going to be a bit tough to build muscle if you exclude protein from your diet. This is because protein helps you to not only build muscle, but to burn fat as well.

How does it do this, exactly?

It does this by making your body work harder; a ton of calories is burned just to break down this incredible macronutrient! If that doesn’t sound like a winner in your book, I don’t know what does.


The reason behind this is simple: you can’t control what goes into your meals if someone

else prepares it for you. This is especially true if you’re the type of person to eat out.

While this does not necessarily mean you have to avoid eating out forever, it can’t be all of your meals. If you’re not a cook, you can start small. Pack lunch for a couple of days a week- you’d be surprised by the difference this can make.


Forget the bad rep carbs have gotten from the press. Yes, you’d definitely gain weight if you

eat too much of anything, but carbs have been treated unfairly in this particular aspect. Fact of the matter is, natural grain or starchy carbs such as brown rice and oatmeal are actually important in building abs- and this is even more so true when they’re eaten post-workout.

Not convinced? Carbs have the smallest chance of turning into body fat when you eat them after working out.


This might sound crazy, but you should include fats in your diet. And when I say this,

I mean healthy fats. These are mainly from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in

food items such as raw nuts, fish oils and olive oils.

By eating the right amount of lean protein, good carbs and healthy fats, you’ll soon develop

a metabolism that is able to burn fat more effectively.


As tempting as it might be to take the “easy” way out by skipping out on meals to lose weight, this is actually counterproductive. Not only will you have less energy to perform the necessary workouts, your body will also be unable to effectively build the muscles you so desperately crave.

How can it, when it is deprived of the nutrients it needs? So pile on that lean protein- you need it.


If you find that your current diet plan isn’t working out for you, don’t push yourself. It isn’t that easy to determine exactly how much of anything a person should consume, which is precisely why there should be some flexibility in your diet. This doesn’t mean that you should take this as an excuse to replace your brown rice with fast food, it is just that everyone’s body is different.

So if something isn’t working out for you, it might be wiser to lessen, increase or replace the item entirely with another healthy alternative.

There you have it! Six easy tips to bear in mind, and you don’t even have to starve yourself to get results. Just eat healthy and workout, my friends, and your efforts will bear fruit.

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