Six-pack abs: the Truths and Facts
“How do I get a six-pack?” This is a question I get asked all the time, and is it possible to get them in 6 weeks?
Pick up any health and fitness magazine from your local shop and you’re guaranteed to see an article about getting a six-pack abs or a washboard stomach in less than 6 weeks.
Most of these articles show you a few fancy photos of some awesome looking six-packs and exercises to go with them and forget to mention anything about eating, that’s the other reason why you can’t see them. Follow their six week program and you still wont see them if you don’t eat right.
Let me first point out that you actually already have a six-pack but you probably can’t see it because there is a layer of fat hiding what you would like to see, or they are under-developed and need a bit of work, and yes it is possible to get your abs showing in less than six weeks.
People always forget the number one reason why you can’t see your six-pack, and that’s because their eating the wrong foods or eating to much food, over time this causes the body to store fat. You can spend everyday of your life working your stomach muscles and you will never see them if you don’t focus on your diet. Lets not forget the main reason why you can’t see them is because of that layer of fat.
Do a pinch test to see the amount of fat you are carrying around your stomach; if you are pinching skin only (one centimeter thick) then you need to start building muscle if you can’t see your six-pack, you’re already very lean. If you are pinching skin that is a few centimeters or more in thickness, you probably need to focus on what you’re eating and the amount you eat too.
Overall body fat will reduce if you eat the right foods and the right amount of food. Finding that balance for the amount of calories consumed to the amount we expend can be a bit tricky. Eating not enough and you are going to lose the precious muscle you have worked so hard for, eat too much and we won’t lose that layer of fat either.
I tell all my clients that all they need to do is reduce the amount on their plates for every meal, that’s only if they are eating correctly in the first place. Two many people think that by cutting out a meal here and there is going to reduce their overall calorie consumption and therefor reduce the amount of fat the body stores, WRONG!
All this is doing is slowing your metabolism down and fat loss. Ask any professional bodybuilder about their diet and they will tell you that they are eating 5-6 meals a day, certainly not cutting out meals. If you’re not into bodybuilding then it’s all about eating like one with a little less on the plate, (well a lot less on the plate considering the average bodybuilder consumes around 5000-6000 calories a week), this will help promote fat loss and keep your metabolism running efficiently.
Before I continue, why don’t you ask yourself why you would like a six-pack, bearing in mind that having a very low body fat percentage is actually not that healthy. If it’s to look good, how often do you really spend time with your shirt off? Maybe you just enjoy the way they look in the mirror. It’s certainly not for strength, because we can still have strong abs without the six-pack! Whatever the reason you need to follow a proper diet and exercise the abdominal muscles.
Sit ups are fine to do even though a lot of people will argue against this, as long as you don’t spend everyday of the week doing them. You would become very efficient in doing them but your abdominal muscles would stop growing. We use our stomach muscle every time we move, twisting, turning and bending, we are using them right now to stabilize the body, and this is known as core strength.
Building your abdominal muscles and your core strength requires you to add load to these daily body positions and functional movements.
Lets use bending over as an example. When we bend over we put incredible strain on our muscle, if done incorrectly our back muscles take this strain. An easy way to find out if you are using your abdominal muscles while bending over is to tie a piece of sting or put a belt around your waist so that it sits loosely.
If you bend over to touch your toes and the string gets tighter then your probably not using your abdominals muscles correctly and risk straining you back. So next time you do a deadlift in the gym, think about your abdominal muscle, it’s not just your back muscle you are working!