What is the obsession with those 6-pack abs? You cannot read or search anything regarding fitness without being bombarded with advertisements claiming to have the new magical formula for acquiring flat abs. Diets, workouts, you name it. Then all the health sites are littered with photos of super fit models showing off their ab muscles. It all can get a little bit overwhelming and it has gotten to the point now that I am asked about this more than anything else. So, once and for all, we are going to address this issue and kill off the hype about it. Please forward this to all your friends so I no longer have to keep repeating it!
The formula for the six-pack
Despite all the advertising, there formula to have those abs you are dreaming of is quite simple. Starve yourself, eat extremely lean and healthy, exercise cardio, and throw in a little ab work at the end. The key to those abs is being able to see them. In order to see them, you need to get rid of pretty much all of the fat covering them and I do mean all!! It doesn’t take much abdominal exercises to get them toned. Just some daily sit ups and core work will do it. The problem is getting the fat off that is currently hiding them. The models you see in the photos are on some extreme diets and often get down around 5% body fat.
Low Body Fat Men
The good news for men is that it is possible to get down to 5% body fat a lot easier than it is for females. The bad news, is unless you are a large well-built man, you will look like a holocaust victim if you allow yourself to get that thin. Most of those models do a great deal of body building to compensate for their thin size. So, unless you are training primarily for size and bulk, you will actually look pretty sick and gaunt, if you get thin enough to show off your abs.
Low Body Fat Women
Few women are able to get down to this level of body fat to show off the ripped abs. The women that accomplish this are generally pretty extreme athletes, or fitness models who make a career of diet and exercise. Furthermore, super low body fat percentages can be unhealthy or even dangerous. Despite what is commonly thought, women need a little body fat to keep that sexy curved look. Many (not all) women who drop to this extremely low body fat end up looking squared off like a man. Thus whatever “sexy” look they were trying for was undone by going too far. It is IMPORTANT to learn the difference between having a flat tummy and a six pack. A flat tummy is a good goal for health and fitness. It is the pursuit of trying to see all the little ripples in your ab muscles that can get you in trouble.
Exercises for the Abdominals
Throw away any exercise program that is advertised for flat abs. While you are at it, throw away any exercise program that advertises helping only one muscle group or area. If you want that sexy look, you need to be thinking total body. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO SELECT WHERE YOU LOSE BODY FAT!! Your body burns fat where it wants to burn fat regardless what area of your body you are working. You need to be doing a workout series that incorporates cardio, core, and total body strength training. That way your entire body becomes more toned while at the same time you are shedding the body fat around it.
Pursue total health and forget the abs. If you begin a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise you will slowly transform your body and shed excess fat. Overtime, you will look more and more fit and shapely, while gaining more confidence and feeling better about yourself. Or you can waste your time in a futile effort to meet some “ideal” image of single part of your body that will probably end in failure and frustration. The choice is yours!!