Where do you get your SIX Pack from?
Did you know not everyone has that elusive six pack of abdominals, and if you do, you are GENETICALLY Blessed! It is hard to believe how much anguish is caused by such small muscles on our body. They are a muscle that helps improve so much – reducing back aches, improving posture, improve overall performance during physical activity.
Unfortunately, we cannot simply just do sit ups every day and “get a sixxie”. To see the “sixxie” we need to cut some body fat which is most often stored on our stomach. And we simply cannot control where our fat decides to be stored. With that in mind, I have written my top 3 myths about Abs.
Misinformation about our Abs As a trainer myself, and many others, it is frustrating to hear people still hold on to outdated information about proper ways to work their abs and achieve their desired “six pack”. So here are my top 3 tips I would really love for you to understand, and use this as your first step towards setting some achievable goals for yourself, and your abs.
Myth 1: Anyone Can Get a Flat Stomach
It is improving I must say, but we still are being flooded with images of fabulous bodies with flat bellies and six packs – Instagram, tv, movies, Facebook, magazines and so forth. Many of these people are genetically blessed but for many people, it is not actually physiologically possible to achieve that look.
Factors affect it: Age, genetics, gender, hormones, body type, lifestyle, eating habits, stress management, sleep habit ... it is all of these that decide what your body and looks like. People become movie stars and models because they have the genetic makeup that allows them to have lean gorgeous bodies. If we could all achieve that, we would all be models. Women tend to store fat around the lower belly area causing a lower belly pooch. Men tend to store fat around the middle, causing the spare tire effect. Yes, you can exercise and reduce your body fat, but you can't choose where you lose fat. To get six-pack abs, you may have to drop your body fat to a level that is either a struggle to maintain or downright unhealthy. Many of us have the goal to get six-pack abs but most of us will find it difficult to reach that goal. If this is true for you, trying to attain something that is not achievable right now will make you go crazy. Set achievable goals for yourself and make friends with your “pooch”. Remember, no one is perfect – flaws are not an option … unless you head to your nearest surgeon. I challenge you to start loving your body for how it is designed and start to really embrace it and activate the SHINE within you.
Myth 2: Doing Ab Exercises Gets Rid of Abdominal Fat
Doing countless repetitions of exercise in one area to improve its appearance is another way to say, “spot reduction”. Unfortunately, it does not work. It does not work for any other body part either the fallacy of spot reduction assumes that, if you have fat over your abs, then exercising the ab muscles will make that fat go away. While exercising the muscle may increase endurance or strength, it won't burn off the fat in that area. The reason for this is because the body draws energy from the entire body when exercising, not just from the part you're working.
The only way to reduce overall body fat is by creating a calorie deficit. The healthiest way is to do that with consistent exercise using cardio, weight training, stretching and a healthy balanced diet. Of course, under the premise that this will not guarantee you will lose belly fat – that one is up to your genetics, age and hormones and other factors outside of your direct control. Keep in mind that doing all of that is no guarantee you will lose belly fat. That is up to your genetics, age, and hormones among other factors not always in our control.
Myth 3: You Have to Do a Lot of Reps to Work Your Abs
Way back then we were told to do hundreds of crunches and other abdominal exercises to train abs. Abdominals are just like every other muscle, so just like biceps, you would not do 100 of those to get a bicep. You would focus on consistency, and quality movements. To increase abdominal strength in your abs, the same principle applies to your other muscles in the body. This means you need to overload the muscles. If you feel like you could do 50 more repetitions for your ab muscles, SLOW DOWN and concentrate on technique and form. Really focus on squeezing the muscles, and not just “doing them”.
Also, doing the same exercise over and over is not always the best way to make progress. Your body gets used to exercises and becomes more efficient at them. Our bodies really are smart! If I have ever trained you personally, you will know that I rarely add a crunch to get a good workout.
Do a variety of exercises to target your rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis.
Remember the abdominal superpower is to support your spine and help you maintain good posture!
Final Word from Me
Focus on working your entire body rather than breaking it up into parts. Focus on the reason behind strong muscles and the rest will fall into place. Maintain healthy habits, do not compare your body with someone else. It is just not going to help you SHINE. I want you to walk away with this knowledge today and become more mindful in the way you activate your abdominals during your next ab session. Once you have done that, watch how much your body responds. Let me know how you go!
PS I have an amazing workout that is designed to be included in your current training schedule. As a Pilates Instructor, many of my methods for training abs have this as its primary focus. Feel free to drop me a line for a copy!