Being an animal in the gym can be a good thing, but acting like one anywhere else can actually keep you from your goal of a lean, ripped physique. Hard partying, lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and other bad choices just don’t mix with the fitness lifestyle that produces impressive abs, no matter how hard you train. You need to be able to take your foot off the gas—and that means putting an intentional emphasis on your recovery post-workout.
“Recovery is equally important to the work when it comes to seeing results and sustaining them for the long haul,” says David Otey, CSCS, PPSC, a Men’s Health Advisory Board member and creator of the Men’s Health 90-Day Transformation Challenge: Abs. “Making physical changes to your body means you have to work harder than you normally do to force your body to upgrade its existing structure. That extra work requires proper recovery.”
Here are five ways you’re self-sabotaging, and why correcting them can lead you to the eye-popping abs you seek. You can find information like this and a whole lot more in the new Men’s Health training guide 90-Day Transformation Challenge: Abs. In one volume, you’ll get all the tools you need—information, a nutrition guide, and workouts—to build your abs in just 3 months.
You’re Not Eating Right for Abs
You’ll never see your abs if you’re still eating like a little kid. Not only do foods like burgers, pizza, and beer contain too many calories to keep you from the deficit you need to lose fat, they offer little nutrition relative to the amount of calories they provide. Hard work in the gym requires more nutrients to support recovery, and the trick is to