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Summer abs: starting out early by doing 3 simple things

It´s February and I’m using a headline like “summer abs”?

Yes, indeed. Because this is one of the most important factors to take into account for anyone aiming for chiselled summer abs next year: if you are going to do it properly (meaning, if you want to maintain strength and muscle mass to go with the visible abs), then you have to start thinking about it earlier than what is most often assumed.

Don’t let promises of “6 weeks to great abs” fool you. Sure, you can force your body, using extreme methods, to visible results in those 6 weeks (or 4 or 8 or whatever the latest headline promises you), but it is better, in so many ways, to take it peu á peu.

Choose 3-5 of these and stick with them. These suggestions are all doable, none of them could be considered extreme, but if you implement just 3 of them (on a daily basis, of course) they will make a difference. One could of course aim to do them all – but that would only be necessary if we didn’t allow ourselves more than a few weeks to get into top condition; remember that the point here is to get a head start, not to do it all at once.

  • Stop eating all kinds of junk food.

  • Stop eating all kinds of snacks and candy.

  • Increase your water intake by 0,5-1 litre per day.

  • Replace 50% of your “carb-food” (bread, rice, potatoes, pasta) with more vegetables.

  • Increase your amount of sleep with half an hour per night.

  • Try out intermittent fasting (at least) two days per week.

  • Do 15 minutes of cardio after each weight lifting session.

  • Increase your warm up at the gym, so that it involves 15 minutes of cardio.

  • Take the time to be outside walking 1 hour per day. It doesn´t have to be a planned walking session – just make sure that your total time of walking outside sums up to at least 60 minutes each day.

  • Add 3 extra “bonus workouts” à 15 minutes, per week. Compose these workouts so that they consist only of body weight movements (such as pushups, planks, Sisyphus squats, lyin leg raises, etcetera) and can be performed easily at home. Do them whenever you have a quarter of an hour to spend – and do it 3 times a week.

  • Increase your training volume by adding 1 extra set to each exercise during one of your weekly workout sessions. Make it a light weights set, aiming for 15-20 reps. If, for example, your workout session consists of 8 different exercises, this will mean 8 additional sets of 15-20 reps each.

Daniel Schou, PT Itrim Uppsala

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