Most of my friends know of my immense interest in physical fitness and nutrition, and many of them ask me for tips and tricks to getting the body they want. I can tell you that the #1 request I get from men especially is for me to let them know how they can get ripped “six-pack abs.” I think this blogpost will help to dispel some extremely popular misconceptions about body composition and exercise.
First, when I refer to body composition, I’m referring to the make-up of your body mass as it applies to how much fat you have versus muscle. A favorable body composition is one in which you have good amounts of muscle tone and less bodyfat. Notice I didn’t refer to a particular ratio…as long as a person is healthy the actual ratio of muscle to fat is essentially subjective. For some, the picture to the upper right is way too lean, and for some the pic represents the ideal body. Without further ado, allow me to illuminate the quest for so-called “six pack abs.”
Sit-Ups Will Not Give You A Six Pack
This is the main misconception people have. Regardless of what abdominal exercise you do (and you should do a wide variety of core exercises) all you will succeed in doing is to develop the abdominal/core muscles. Even with an impressively muscled core, you will not have six pack abs unless you first rid yourself of the layer of fat covering them!
Six Pack Abs are Made In The Kitchen, Not The Gym
So you know you do need to work your abs through exercise, but you also know you also need to uncover them by losing the fat in your midsection. Many people will decide they need to spend more time on the treadmill, but while cardiovascular exercise is definitely a worthy pursuit, your first move should be to look at your diet. Your diet is 80% to blame for how you appear, whether you love how you look or hate it.
If you’ve read my blog before, you know the diet I advocate. Keep the blood sugar steady and eat like our Paleolithic ancestors once did: Organic meats, vegetables, nuts/seeds, and some fruit. Even if one doesn’t subscribe to the Primal/Paleo diet, any diet that does not take blood sugar/insulin into consideration is doomed to failure. Here is an excellent T-Muscle article dealing with the perils of carbohydrates and the typical diet made up primarily of carbs.
No You Cannot Target The Fat In Your Midsection
Many people buy belts that velcro around their midsection in an attempt to spot-reduce fat in their midsection. The truth is its impossible to spot reduce fat anywhere on your body. Your body/genetics dictates where the fat comes off of, and in many cases your midsection is the last place the fat will come off of. There are no shortcuts, it takes patience and dedication. Speaking of which…
This thing doesn’t work. Little electric shocks may have some merit keeping bed-ridden hospital patients from suffering from complete muscle atrophy, but there are leagues between complete muscle atrophy and the powerful ab muscles required for your six pack.
Why Should I Listen To You?
I’m certainly not the most ripped dude on Earth, but I consider myself a work in progress, haha. Despite all that, I’ve been able to lose quite a bit of fat and I’m fairly happy with my body composition. If anyone has any specific questions, please drop me a line.