Angie Asche

Fuel your core goals with Angie's nutrition guide

Angie Asche

Before you set your core goals and start powering through plank variations, I want to point out one important detail: core strength and six-pack abs are very different things.

We’ve looked at why a six-pack can be so hard to achieve, and just because someone looks shredded doesn’t mean they’re stronger, faster, or could out-perform you in a deadlift.

I see the influence of social media on my clients every day and I know it can be tough to switch mindset. Be cautious who you take nutrition and health advice from – ensure they’re a licensed professional, not an influencer who just happens to have great looking abs.

Let’s talk about the reality of eating for your core, and bust a few myths along the way.

Is there a diet for abs?

You’ve probably heard that old saying about abs being made in the kitchen. But if you are searching for an exact diet plan or ‘simple trick’ to get a six-pack, sadly it’s not that simple. There are no specific foods for abs that will guarantee the washboard stomach look.

If your goal is to have more visible abs, you’ll need to prioritize strengthening your core while at the same time reducing body fat.

  • Aim for a small-to-moderate calorie deficit – consuming 200-500 calories less than you’re burning throughout the day.

  • Ensure you’re getting adequate protein.

  • Eat plenty of fiber.

A bowl of Plant-based Pest Pasta, cooked from a recipe by Centr dietician and nutrition expert Angie Asche, sits on a table.

My Plant-based Pesto Pasta is high in fiber and protein for the double win!

Why fiber? High-fiber foods are typically lower in calories, take longer to digest (helping you to feel fuller for longer) and are excellent sources of essential vitamins and minerals.

Fiber also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and promote healthy digestion, both of which can aid in fat loss.

As for protein, it has a greater thermic effect compared to carbohydrates and fat, meaning your body needs to burn more energy to digest it. Protein also helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied after meals, potentially leading to less calories consumed overall.

A 4-image collage showing some of the meals contained in Centr's collection of ultra-fast high-protein dinners.

Give your core muscles and weight-loss goals the protein they need with this collection of ultra-fast dinners.

By consuming adequate protein, you’ll also help prevent the loss of lean muscle when you’re trying to lose weight.

Do I need to cut carbs to get a six-pack?

You do not need to cut all carbs to get visible abs. In fact, many of the most common sources of carbs that people think they should stop eating to ‘get shredded’ are actually high in fiber and therefore important for weight management and metabolism.

Foods primarily made up of carbohydrates that you absolutely should include in your diet are:

  • fruit

  • whole grains

  • vegetables

  • legumes

It is the carbs in ultra-processed foods that you could consider reducing or cutting in order to reach your goals. This includes packaged snack foods that are low in nutrients, but high in saturated fat, sugar and sodium. Think:

  • cookies

  • crackers

  • chips

  • candy

A Blackened Prawn Burrito Bowl, cooked from the Centr recipe library, sits on a table.

The high-fiber carbs in the Blackened Prawn Burrito Bowl won’t jeopardize your goals.

Do I need to cut dairy to get a six-pack?

This is a myth that is not going to do anything for your stomach goals – unless you have a dairy intolerance.

Dairy foods like Greek yogurt are an excellent source of protein, while being low in fat. Just opt for unflavored or ‘plain’ versions over flavored dairy products to reduce the sugar content.

Two servings of Overnight Yoghurt Parfait, from the Centr recipe library, sit on a table.

Our Overnight Yoghurt Parfait is an easy high-protein breakfast that supports your goals.

How can I deflate my bloated stomach? It’s hiding my abs!

Bloating can be caused by so many factors – from food intolerances to digestive disorders – and it’s often challenging to determine the exact trigger.

It’s important that you work with a health professional to determine the root cause. They will help you modify your diet for your individual needs, which will be more efficient than trying what worked for someone on TikTok.

What can I eat to stop my core feeling sore?

Your core muscles are just as likely to feel sore after intense strength training as your glutes or your arms. This DOMS is a positive sign, as it means your training is starting to pay off! There are some nutrients that can help to minimize this muscle soreness.

  • Make sure you’re consuming adequate protein to aid in the repair and building of muscle tissue.
  • Add fruits and vegetables into your post-workout meal, if you’re not already consuming them regularly.

In addition to these staples, research has that polyphenols found in fruits and vegetables like beets, pomegranates and cherries can help minimize post-workout soreness and improve recovery.

A bowl of Centr chef Dan Churchill's Zesty Chicken Salad sits on a table.

The blueberries in Dan’s Zesty Chicken Salad provide around 350mg of polyphenols.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce muscle damage, and can be found in fatty fish, walnuts, chia and flaxseed.

A tray holding four Spicy Walnut Tacos, cooked from a recipe by Centr HIIT HIRT Strength trainer Luke Zocchi, sits on a table.

For a plant-based source of omega-3s, don’t go past Luke’s Spicy Walnut Tacos.

Magnesium has also been shown to play a role in reducing muscle soreness. You’ll find this nutrient in plant foods such as pumpkin seeds, avocado, quinoa, almonds and legumes.

The Tex-Mex Black Bean Fajita Bowl, from the Centr meal plan.

The beans, avocado and quinoa in this simple Tex-Mex Black Bean Fajita Bowl are all great sources of magnesium.

Angie Asche

Sports dietitian Angie Asche will power your plate with no-nonsense food advice. Founder of Eleat Sports Nutrition, Angie works with MLB, NFL and NHL athletes to get the best from their bodies. With a Masters of Science in Nutrition & Physical Performance, and as a certified exercise physiologist and personal trainer, she’s got the expertise you need to achieve your goals.

Angie Asche

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