One of the most frequent questions personal fitness trainers hear is “how can I get ripped abs?” The simple answer is through hard work and willpower. Getting a six-pack is within reach but it might take a massive lifestyle change and serious motivation. The first thing you need to do is banish defeatist thinking. You control what goes into your body and you control your exercise regimen. Whether you stick to the proper diet for solid abs and put in the necessary physical exercise is up to you. Most people never achieve this much-sought-after physical state because they cave at the first sight of cheese fries or consider inconvenient weather a proper excuse for not running. Well-toned abs are a testament to your determination. If you stick to these health tips, you will be on your way to that six pack:

Ab-friendly diet
Believe it or not, you might already have good tone to your abdominal muscles. If you are in decent shape or walk often, you have already started to develop your abs; you just can’t see them yet. Stomach fat hides the ab muscles that are already there. So you need to trim this excess fat with proper dieting. The stomach is one of the first places a body stores fat. To reduce this, you should eat natural foods in small meals throughout the day  to keep your metabolism perpetually working for you. The magazine AskMen recommends the following muscle-building foods for abs: low-sodium cottage cheese, apples, coconut oil, unsweetened oatmeal, spinach, peanut butter and eggs. The women’s health magazine Fitness recommends the following for an overall flatter stomach: almonds, soy, apples, berries, leafy greens, yogurt, veggie soup, salmon, quinoa and eggs. Eggs made both lists because they are high in protein and help maintain a feeling of satiety. On the other hand, experts advise against eating French fries, high fructose corn syrup, fast food, processed meats, frozen diet meals and white bread.

Cardiovascular and core training
To further trim your belly fat and tone your abs, you need to take up cardiovascular exercises. Try to fit running, cycling, swimming or kickboxing into your routine. Now that you are trimming away the fat, it’s time to start sculpting and strengthening your abs with core training. Experts suggest that you should do abdominal exercises two to three times per week. The crunch is king of ab exercises—front, side and reverse crunches. For a proper crunch, lie on your back, bend your knees, fold your arms across your chest and lift your shoulders toward the ceiling with your abs—make sure you feel your abs contract. For a reverse crunch, lie on your back with your arms by your sides and lift your hips to your ribcage by contracting your abs. The bent-elbow plank is another great ab exercise. First, you lie on your stomach. Next, slowly lift yourself up onto your toes and forearms. Hold this position while contracting your abs, for five to 90 seconds depending upon your strength and experience. Other great exercises are abdominal twists and hanging leg raises. Once your get the hang of these exercises, you should consider adding weights to spur more substantial muscle growth. Weighted core training will expedite your abdominal muscle development the way weight training does for a bicep muscle.