Emily Skye, with defined abs, stands on a Gold Coast beach wearing a bikini.
Emily Skye

Hot to the core: How to define those abs

Emily Skye

One of the most common questions I hear is "How do I get abs???" You may have tried every crunch in the book to build your abdominal muscles without seeing results. But while you may not see results in the mirror, your abs may be growing in strength underneath the surface...

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for achieving the six-pack abs of your dreams. But I'm going to share the tactics that have helped me uncover my abs – it’s not easy, but with hard work and dedication, it is possible!

1. Appropriate diet

The first factor in defining your abs is your diet. There's a saying that results are 20% exercise and 80% food – this is never more true than when it comes to your abdominal muscles. Definition of these muscles is only clear when the layer of fat that covers them is gone. This means that as well as getting busy on the workout mat, you need to put in some effort in the kitchen.

Emily Skye eats a healthy muffin on the beach.

2. Avoid refined carbs

If you continue to eat refined carbs, it can prevent you from seeing results. These are carbs like white bread, white rice, crackers, sugar, potatoes and sugary sports drinks. When you consume these foods, your insulin levels spike which stops fat burning and instead stores the fat in your body.

Try to replace these refined carbs with good carbs from vegetables like sweet potatoes, whole grains like quinoa and brown rice.

3. Appropriate exercise

Exercise is the second (and just as important) factor in defining your abs. Not just any exercise, but smart and effective exercises directed at fat burn and building core strength. Most people think that by doing 100 crunches everyday they should start seeing their abs appear – this can be an unrealistic approach as you can plateau and become trapped, not knowing why you aren't seeing the results you expected.

I have found the best way to get results is by combining strength sessions targeting specific areas (abs and core) along with circuit training to work your whole body. If you train smarter, you won't need to be working out like crazy every single day. You will need to give your body time to recover and rest for the next time you hit the workout mat.

Emily Skye performs a v-sit exercise.

4. Lift weights

You won't bulk up by lifting weights – that is a myth we need to crush! Weights will help you to grow lean muscle, which in turn creates a constant fat-burning system and lifts your metabolism. As you continue to train and lift heavier, you can sculpt the definition you're chasing.


High-intensity interval training (HIIT) offers a fast, effective, fat-burning workout. It's an essential part of my workout routine on FIT and when combined with targeted strength training – as in my 6-week Abs to the Core Challenge – will help you achieve results quicker and uncover those incredible abs.

HIIT circuits combine core work, cardio and resistance exercises, all performed at a high intensity with little rest in between. You will be pushing yourself hard, building strength, boosting your endurance and burning fat by keeping your heart rate at a peak throughout.

Don't keep doing the same old crunches and expecting a different result! If you have big goals for your abs but don't know where to start, join me on FIT and I'll take care of your meal plan and workout routine, so you can get focused on building lean, defined and strong abs. What are you waiting for? Let's make it happen!

Emily Skye
Personal trainer • Founder

Emily Skye is a strength training expert and the face of FIT, the digital fitness app that helps women worldwide build strength and confidence, stay active through pregnancy and rebuild post-pregnancy. Emily holds a Certificate IV in Fitness and Master Trainer qualification from the Australian Institute of Fitness. She is also co-founder of James Cosmetics and a mother of two.

Emily Skye
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