A great set of abs is something many of us aspire to but what you eat is just as important as how many sit-ups you do
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eyna - female personal training specialist in Abu Dhabi, UAE 5
Core exercises can help tone and firm your core including your abs but without proper nutrition you might not see the results you want.

Personal Trainer Q & A Category: Diet & Nutrition

Personal Trainer Q & A Contributor: Eyna

Walk into any gym in the UAE and you will find many people working their core muscles to get a defined six-pack

Many people work so hard on their abs and many people just don’t see results. Is there a secret to getting that six-pack look? If you work on your abs and core in general regularly that’s a start but really great abs start in the kitchen.

  • In Abu Dhabi a flat, well defined stomach seems easy to achieve for some while others can spend months or even years trying without getting results. Do you think the secret to getting a great set of abs really does start in the kitchen?

    Food definitely does play a huge roll in our results but with careful consideration to the rest of your daily fitness routine. It goes hand in hand. It’s not 70% diet and 30% gym or 50/50, it’s 100/100. Full dedication and awareness to what goes in your grocery basket, the way you prepare your food, what else is on your plate and finally what you actually put into your stomach every meal as well your workout regimes to know if the work we do is conducive to what and how much we are eating. More muscle growth requires more carbs, more fat loss means more good fats and proteins. More calories burned means eating enough for basic function and to sustain exercise so you don’t under eat and unknowingly slow down or sabotage your goals by storing extra fat. Less calories burned requires less caloric consideration for exercise to prevent fat gain from overeating and under training. Our bodies can hold fat from eating too little, eating too much, bad bacteria in our gut from what we are eating and even if we do eat well our body may not utilise the food we eat in a way that promotes fat loss or muscle gain. In my opinion, yes and no because abs are built in the gym and revealed in the kitchen. 

     

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  • Do you think age is a factor when it comes to abdominal muscle development and if so does it become harder as we age?

    After 40 is when you have to reconsider the way you eat and train more than when you’re younger because of the changes in hormone level production and your general lifestyle at that age, but in terms of actual development of the muscle once you’ve taken age and lifestyle into consideration the achievement itself isn’t any less possible with the right strategy, just like at any age, strategy matters- a 20-year-old can do it wrong and a 55 year could get it right. In my opinion, I think that building your dream body at any age is about strategy and working out what works with your lifestyle and body and what doesn’t. I don’t think it gets harder as you get older, I think it becomes more of a necessity and a must as you grow older to look after yourself better and to use exercise to extend your life so you can enjoy it for as long as possible. 

  • Do you think it is important to lose weight in the stomach area ‘before’ intense ab workout routines start or is a combination of diet and exercise the best way to start?

    In my opinion as a personal trainer in Abu Dhabi yes, I do think it’s important to do this and this is the approach I take with my overweight personal training or clients who carry extra weight on their midsection. It’s important because when you start doing abdominal exercises- as I mentioned before; abs are built in the gym which means that by doing abdominal exercises before you’ve reduced abdominal fat means you’ll just build muscle under the fat and you won’t see your abs regardless of how many sit ups, crunches or planks you do daily. By eating to lose fat and reducing your stomach fat first when you start to incorporate direct and isolation abdominal training you’ll see your abs a lot quicker and know how thick you want to build your 6 pack muscles to have flatter abs or 6 packs that stick out through the skin like chocolate blocks- that’s a matter of training more than diet (for people who are already lean)

  • If great abs really are made in the kitchen what foods are a good choice for fat loss and muscle gain?

    It’s important to eat food from all food groups but in my opinion, paying close attention to vegetables especially and fruits would be good food choices for fat loss in particular, the 5/5 rule is especially helpful to make sure you’re getting enough micronutrients for all your systems and organs to function optimally. If you’re a breakfast eater starting the day with a 5 fruit system is an easy approach. Eat 5 fruits for breakfast and you’ve hit your daily recommended amount for optimal health and also fat loss promotion. If you’re not a breakfast eater and prefer snacks, snack on fruits. The other 5 is for vegetables which you can spread over lunch and dinner. There are rankings for fruits and vegetables with regards to glycemic index and superfood qualities- not all fruits and vegetables are equal but for people who don’t eat them at all or have limited fruits and vegetable intake- any fruits and vegetables are better than none, but definitely substituting processed, sugary,  salty, fatty, non- foods with fruits, vegetables and fresh food is moving towards the right direction for fat loss and adding in more complex, low glycemic carbs is great for muscle gain. 

  • What advice would you give to your clients when they lack motivation because they are not seeing results after dieting and exercising for abdominal definition?

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    Results don’t come overnight. It takes a lot of consistency for multiple months to get desired results. It’s not easy to have this type of dedication but it’s also not easy to look in mirror and not like what you see every day so have to choose what’s more important to you. I think it’s most important to just decide to do this for however long it’s going to take because once you achieve your goal you’ll be so proud of yourself that you didn’t give up and you’ll know exactly just what you are capable of achieving- that’s the best part and seeing how much you’ve changed through the process which is what matters most; the person you had to become to make this happen. 

  • Everyone is different but for the ‘average’ man or women in Abu Dhabi who really wants to work on their abs can you provide some example exercises which when combined with a good diet should provide results?

    Isometric holds like planks are great for burning more overall abdominal fat. Crunches are good for developing the upper abs and leg raises for the lower and middle abs. Any weighted ab exercise are going to thicken the muscles and make your abs “pop” and non-weighted exercise will build without thickening so the abs will appear flatter under the surface of the skin. These are just classic basic exercises and have many newer variations that target the muscles differently for better results. Coupled with some cardio to burn excess fat and correct diet to reveal your hard work in the gym and in 3, 6 or 12 months you’ll have completely transformed your body. 

Eyna - Personal Trainer and Swimming Coach in Abu Dhabi

Eyna is a 23-year-old female Personal Trainer & Swim Coach. As an enthusiastic person she loves interactive environments where she teaches but also learns from and enjoys every session with her clients. Eyna was a competitive swimmer and then switched her swim suit for trainers and barbells to become a Personal Trainer.

You can view Eyna’s full Abu Dhabi female personal trainer profile by clicking the link below.

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