Nutrition, Nutrition

What to eat to get a six pack

When we expend more than we consume we have to pull on this stored energy to compensate

They say abs are made in the kitchen, here's what to eat to get a washboard stomach that'd make Zac Efron green with envy. We asked Aquanation personal trainer and nutrition nut Byron Manning for the scoop on how to get ace abs with our diet.

Are abs really made in the kitchen?

“Yes,” confirms Manning.  “Everyone has abdominal muscles (it would be an issue if you didn’t), these muscles are usually covered by bodyfat and this area tends to be a favourite place for the body to store energy especially in males,” says Manning.

The personal trainer explains that bodyfat levels fluctuate with energy balance “so when we expend more than we consume we have to pull on this stored energy to compensate and as a result we lose body fat and vice versa.”

Exercise is a great way to influence this, but Manning reckons an even better way is changing how you eat.

“Influence what goes in and change what you consume, if you think about it it’s easier to put down a chocolate bar than run 5km,” Manning says. He adds that a combination of healthy eating and the gym is the best way to get those abs showing.

musli yogurt with blueberries salmon fillets ready for baking

Foods to get your dream six pack

We hate to break it to you, but sadly there is no magical food for washboard abs ☹

“One of the biggest myths is that just eating certain foods or taking fat burner supplements will result in you waking up with a six pack in the morning,” says Manning. Sigh!

The personal trainer adds that although foods like caffeine or spices might boost metabolism they’ll only do this in the short term. He says the same applies for negative calorie food such as celery “where it takes more energy to eat than what energy the food provides.”

As for those as seen on tv supplements or performance enhancers, Manning reckons they’re all fluff. “If it works it’s probably not legal and if it’s legal it probably doesn’t work,” he advises.


But that doesn’t mean you can’t utilise certain food groups to get to your goals.


How to fuel your core


To give your ab-solutely fabulous abs a kick start, Manning recommends including protein in your diet.


“Lean proteins such as low-fat yoghurts and lean beef, chicken or fish are usually the go-to’s for gym goers trying to achieve a six pack because they don’t come with much other energy besides the protein itself,” advises the personal trainer.


Don’t get disheartened if that dream six pack doesn’t appear overnight though. “It’s important to remember that while having a six-pack is a socially desirable thing it isn’t always healthy or good for your body and often the abs you see on social media are just a snapshot of one moment in time and probably edited,” warns Manning.


That means, a holistic approach is the best approach for your healthy long-term goals.


Byron Manning is a personal trainer at Aquanation with a Bachelor of Food and Nutrition Science at Deakin University and is currently undertaking a Masters of Dietetics at Deakin University. Learn more.