You may watch your macros as closely as a Mandalorian binge, but for most, getting abs to pop remains an elusive and demoralizing punch to the gut—no pun intended.
And it’s not as simple as doing 1,000 crunches every day. A 2019 study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that people who did ab workouts for six weeks increased their core strength but failed to lose abdominal fat. It doesn’t matter how strong your midsection is: if it’s covered by a layer of flab you won’t get the six-pack you’re after.
So, what to do next? Your problem may be as simple as retaining water that’s masking your stomach’s muscle definition.
This could be caused by a variety of factors, including the supplements you’re downing, an abundance of sodium, surprisingly even dehydration can be the reason for your bloated look. So yes, it’s still recommended you drink at least a six pack of Northern Chill Alkaline Water a day.
There is hope, though. You can naturally help your body get rid of that extra water so you can reveal those hard-earned abs. However, flushing excess water to show off that six-packed only works if you already have a low body-fat percentage. If you have a few extra pounds around there, work on eliminating the excess before diving in to pull out water.
Otherwise, check out these tips to help you showcase that six-pack.
Drink More Water
Wait, what? Remove water by adding water to your body? It may sound counterintuitive, but you can avoid water retention by increasing your water intake. The body needs water to flush out our cells, and if the body isn’t getting enough, it will store water until it gets enough. However, make sure you’re providing your body with a sufficient amount of water for it to perform optimally.
Drop Your Sodium
If your diet is loaded with sodium, there’s a great chance you’ve found your water storage culprit. The more sodium intake you have, the more water your body will hold. Check the nutrition labels and try to avoid high-sodium foods such as processed foods like soups, canned foods, frozen meals, seasonings, and condiments.
Perspire for Greatness
Sweat is simply water that’s stored in the body. If you’re holding excess water weight, a hard, sweat-inducing workout is just the trick to help shed it. Just know that the weight will come back as soon as you rehydrate. However, if it’s a few pounds you’re shedding quickly for an event, this should do the trick.
Creatine is a common supplement for those who want to add size —and it’s great for that. Creatine pulls water into the muscle, which increases protein synthesis. While taking creatine, you can expect water weight gain from two to four pounds. So if the shredded look is what you seek, try cutting creatine from your routine.
Little known fact is that asparagus is a natural diuretic. It’s also a great source of fiber as well as vitamins A, C, E and K. But don’t blow asparagus’s effectiveness by adding salt or salted butter.
Try Dandelion Root
Dandelion is an herb that has properties that can increase urine production, which makes it a natural diuretic. It also helps remove excess toxins from your blood and supports liver function.
Lack of certain micronutrients, such as vitamin B1 and B6, can lead to unwanted water weight. Be sure to take a multivitamin to ensure you’re getting all necessary nutrients to help your body work optimally.
Just Say No to Booze
Yes, saying no to one six-pack to gain another may sound like a total buzzkill. And yes, alcohol is dehydrating—which sounds like a good thing. However, if your body is dehydrated due to alcohol consumption, it’s more prone to hold onto water from other sources to try and compensate for fluid loss. It’s best to avoid alcohol of any sort if you want well-defined muscles, especially if you’re prepping for an event—save it for your victory celebration afterward.