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Spring into Shape: Secret to hardcore abs starts in the kitchen

Rebuild, restore, recover.

These three Rs are essential for your body after a workout. Cardio is a great first step to getting in shape, but the journey is bigger than that — and even more challenging for some.

I’m talking about battling and controlling your diet.

They say that abs are built in the kitchen. Fitness writers and health gurus insist that it’s not unbearable crunches and side planks, but your diet choices that will make your washboard abs rise to the surface.

For some time now, I’ve been too stubborn to believe this. Hypothetically, if this were true (which I don’t want it to be), anyone could achieve the 6-pack level of abs that resides on Ryan Gosling’s stomach if they just have some willpower in the kitchen and suppress the gym.

No. It just can’t be.

Fitness bloggers have been buzzing about this idea, too. One concludes that abs are built in the gym and unveiled in the kitchen.

I’m siding with her.

If you’re like me, you don’t have a problem with working out. You do cardio and abdominal exercises regularly.

The real struggle, for me, is the greasy, yet undeniably mouth-watering, chicken fingers that lie in front of you at Nelson Dining Hall. It’s that gorgeous slice of lemon cake with sparkling vanilla icing that has your name written all over it. Resistance can be the real battle.

Your diet choices are clearly important when you’re trying to get in shape, and that basket full of tempting Easter candy could be what’s standing in your way of progress (let’s be honest… it is for me).

Here are five applicable tips that will muster up your courage to alter your habits and will refuel your body after cardio — especially because I know you’re going to nibble on that milk chocolate anyway.

1.“I’ll have a protein shake, please.”

It is essential that you eat protein at every meal. Not only does it keep you feeling fuller for longer, but it also is key for muscle growth and repair. Protein will replenish your body all day after a workout.

If you’re a vegetarian and you struggle to consume enough, try a protein shake — I’ve found that the chocolate ones taste the best.

2. Slow down.

Face it — we always eat fast. We’re either in a hurry, or we’re starving, so we scarf it down. If you want your fitness plan to work, take your time. It can actually take up to 20 minutes before your stomach communicates to your brain that you’re full. Slow down, chew and savor every bite.

3. Carbs are your friends.

People seem to think that carbohydrates are the enemy, but that’s not always the case. We need them for energy, especially after a cardio workout where you’ve burned 400 to 500 calories. Once again, your body must restore. Try to include vegetables and whole grains in every meal to fix this assumption.

4. Got H20?

While staying hydrated before and during your workout is important, drinking enough water after you’ve finished is the most vital thing you can do. It helps the body metabolize stored fat, since water contains no calories. You should also note that people often mistake thirst for hunger. If you think you’re hungry, try chugging some water first. You can never get enough.

5. Sleep more, eat less.

An increasing trend among dieters and even celebrities involves cutting off food after a certain hour. Apparently, eating before bed disrupts the process that our body is undergoing when it’s winding down. Our energy decreases, so our bodies struggle to break down excess calories eaten closer to bedtime. I say save the food for when you’re actually awake.

Don’t just eat to eat!

Kaitlyn Richert is a sophomore studying journalism and information graphics and is a columnist for The Post. Email her at

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