Core exercises aren’t essential for getting rippling abs, athlete Hunter McIntyre told Insider.
The American won the 2022 Hyrox World Championship, displaying prowess in endurance and strength.
He has a six-pack but rarely trains abs, preferring walking, lifting, and strengthening his back.
If you want to develop rippling abs, you don’t necessarily need to spend hours doing crunches, sit-ups, and planks, according to world champion athlete Hunter McIntyre.
Resistance training, walking, and eating well can be enough, McIntyre told Insider.
McIntyre won the 2022 Elite Hyrox World Championship on May 14 and holds the world record for the endurance event, which combines running with functional fitness movements such as weighted lunges, farmer’s carries, and sled pulls.
The American athlete said he believes you don’t need to choose between endurance and strength, and getting in shape should be simple.
McIntyre doesn’t do any ab-specific training
McIntyre has a six-pack, but he rarely does dedicated core exercises — he focuses more on strengthening his back and butt to keep his body safe while competing, he said.
Visible abs comes down to being lean enough, he said, which is mostly created through diet, as dietitians and personal trainers have previously told Insider.
“If you want to see abs, you have to take care of it in the kitchen,” McIntyre said.
To lose weight healthily and sustainably, aim to eat in a small calorie deficit.
Work hard in the gym and walk
To build abs, McIntyre recommends training “very hard” a few times a week.
“I’m not trying to scare you away, but train with intention, move weight that challenges you, and run on the treadmill faster than you feel comfortable with,” McIntyre said.
Having a strong core is important to help prevent injury, and there are various ways to strengthen it: Compound exercises like squats and deadlifts require core engagement, and machines like the rower also work the mid-section, as Insider’s Gabby Landsverk reported.
Outside of the gym, McIntyre recommends walking, which experts say can aid weight loss by burning calories while also providing health benefits like improved immune function and reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
Ultimately, moving in any way will help you get in shape, McIntyre said.
If you don’t have gym access, he recommends putting some weight in a backpack and walking up and down a hill, gardening, or doing push-ups and squats while watching TV.
“As long as you’re moving, you’re going in the right direction,” McIntyre said.
Hanging leg raises and cable crunches can help your abs show
While losing fat on your stomach through diet is crucial for showing abs, building the muscles themselves can help them show, as physique coach Cliff Wilson and bodybuilder Sunny Andrews previously told Insider.
To do this, they recommend exercises such as hanging leg-raises and cable crunches.
Add weights to exercises and apply progressive overload too, Wilson said.
Set yourself goals
McIntyre lost his way as a teenager, getting kicked out of various rehabs and struggling to find purpose, he said.
After six months working as a logger in Montana aged 18, not only did he gain 60 pounds of muscle, but he realized he was capable of doing hard things, he said.
In winter in Montana, the temperatures can drop as low as -50°F.
“I froze to death, and from that day on, I got my shit together, I went from a boy to a man,” McIntyre said. “Everything I do now is one-tenth of how hard that was.”
The experience taught him the importance of pushing yourself and setting goals.
“I think it’s important for people to always have a task or something they want to achieve,” he said.
Fitness-wise that needn’t be extreme, it could simply be getting to a place where you could spontaneously run a 10K with your kids or play a game of rugby with your friends, McIntyre said.
“The other aspect of it is it creates a great-looking body,” he said.
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