- Sunny Andrews is a bodybuilder, fitness influencer, and full-time doctor.
- She spoke to Insider about how she built her abs.
- Andrews favors hanging leg raises, but keeping your diet in check is key too.
Bodybuilder, fitness influencer, and full-time surgeon Sunny Andrews, whose real name is Dr. Sonia Andreou, knows a thing or two about getting defined abs.
The world champion physique competitor told Insider she swears by a few key exercises and diet rules to build her sculpted mid-section with a rippling six-pack.
Andrews’ favorite exercise is the hanging leg-raise, but all the exercises in the world won’t get you popping abs if your diet isn’t in check, she said.
Hanging leg raises are Andrews’ favorite ab exercise
Andrews’ favorite ab exercise is hanging leg raises: This means hanging from a bar above your head and lifting your legs up to 90 degrees and back down, while engaging the core to stabilize the body.
“It really engages your lower abs, and with some twists you can engage your obliques,” Andrews said.
To build and create volume in each abdominal muscle, Andrews favors rope crunches (using a cable machine) and bench crunches, both incline (lifting the body to meet your feet at the higher end of the bench) and decline (lifting the legs with the head at the higher end of the bench).
“I never wanted to increase my waist, I wanted to have more definition,” Andrews said.
To achieve her sculpted core, she trains her abs five times a week, often in supersets (multiple exercises back to back before resting and repeating), at the end of each workout.
Getting lean through diet is key
As hard as you train your abs, you won’t see the muscles if your mid-section isn’t lean enough, Andrews said, based on her experience as a bodybuilder.
“It’s 70% diet.”
She usually eats oats for breakfast, then for her other meals she likes sweet potato or rice with chicken breast or fish.
Andrews, who works as a surgeon, uses the analogy of a sheet over a rock.
“If you have a thin sheet, that means you don’t have a lot of fat, and you have a little pebble because you don’t work out, you’re going to see a little bit of abs,” she said. “If you have a thin sheet, but you have a big rock, because you work out your abs all the time, obviously they’re going to pop through more.”
But if you have a thick duvet, it’s doesn’t matter whether you have a pebble or a big rock, because it’ll be hidden, Andrews said.
Her advice is to focus on eating in a calorie deficit with ample protein to maintain your muscle.