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Developed abs improve your stability and core strength.
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Now that you shed the fat, developing muscle tone will help improve the appearance of your abs and core strength. While cardio is effective for weight loss and maintenance, you should focus your efforts on weight training to develop muscles in your midsection. Cardio exercises such as running engage your core muscles for stability, but for your muscles to grow you should perform resistance training for the best results.
Keeping the Pounds Off
After incinerating all that fat, the last thing you would want is to pile the pounds back on. Maintain your weight with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise each week. To achieve this exercise quota, you can brisk walk for 30 minutes, five days a week. If you prefer a quicker but more intense workout, running or swimming laps for 15 minutes, five days a week will suffice.
Sculpting Your Abs
The center of your midsection is the rectus abdominis, which is commonly called a six-pack. The American Council on Exercise commissioned a study on ab workout equipment, which found performing ab crunches on an exercise ball to be the most effective overall. This workout also engages your oblique muscles, which are at the sides of your abdomen. When you tone these muscles, it can give your abdomen a V-shape. Perform the exercise ball crunches with a dumbbell at hand to increase the intensity. Some other effective ab workouts using weight include the standing wood chop with a dumbbell, the kettlebell windmill and standing side bends.
To effectively tone your muscles you have to wear them out with each exercise session. The American Council on Exercise states that when done correctly, abdominal exercises between the ranges of 10 to 25 repetitions in one or three sets should stimulate your muscles. The main goal is to fatigue your muscles; the most prominent sign of muscle fatigue is difficultly performing the last few repetitions. If you can perform more than 25 repetitions, the weight is too light or you're performing the exercise too fast. Work out at least twice a week and give your muscles two days to recover from a resistance-training session.
You Are What You Eat
You need the right nutrients to fuel muscle growth and recovery. Generally your meals should be composed of lean protein such as salmon or chicken breast and complex carbs such as fruits, vegetables and brown rice. Eat about five servings of vegetables and fruits daily and have three meals and two snacks -- one of either every two to three hours. Avoid high-calorie foods such as fast food, sugary drinks and baked goods to prevent increasing your body fat percentage.