Archive for the tag - flat stomach

8 Popular Six Pack Ab Myths.

True story: No two six packs are alike.

If you ask anyone about their fitness goals, six pack abs or a flat stomach are likely to be somewhere on the list. But despite the popularity of this goal, there’s a huge amount of misinformation and a number of popular fallacies.

Today, I’m going to shoot down a number of popular six pack myths to help keep your training program effective and on track.

  1. Myth: You can crunch away the fat on your abs. For most people, the biggest obstacle standing between themselves and a six pack is a layer of fat. Even a thin layer of fat will hide the most developed of abdominal muscles – and doing crunches will do nothing to spot-reduce stomach fat. In fact, the whole notion of spot-reducing fat is a complete fallacy; fat comes off according to its own agenda. Crunches can build your abdominal muscles, but they won’t reduce stomach fat.
  2. Myth: Feeling the burn is all that matters. For individuals looking to build up their ab muscles, it’s important to remember that soreness isn’t required for muscle growth. In fact, soreness is usually simply the result of a new workout routine. Subsequent workouts won’t result in as much (or any) soreness, but that doesn’t mean your muscles aren’t growing. An effective ab workout isn’t measured by how sore you are the next day.
  3. Myth: You need strong abs to have a six pack. Ever see a guy or gal who doesn’t workout, but who sports a fantastic set of six pack abs? For many of these individuals, their chiseled midsection is the result of low body fat percentages. More than developed abdominal muscles, visible six packs have a lot more to do with low body fat – and these individuals were blessed with good genes.
  4. Myth: Fat or diet pills will help you get a sick pack. It’s not worth spending any time on this myth. If you could buy a six pack in a bottle, there would be a lot more people walking around without their shirts on.
  5. Myth: There are shortcuts. Sorry, there aren’t. Depending on your current state of athleticism, your journey to a flat stomach may be longer or shorter – but there really are no shortcuts. Chiseled abs are the result of a workout program designed to target a low body fat percentage (usually the 6% – 13% range) and larger abdominal muscles. There’s no potion, pill or magic spell.
  6. Myth: You can get your six pack to look like that of Christopher Fawcett. Or Ryan Reynolds. Or Colton Haynes. While the models and actors we see in magazines can be great motivators, just like snowflakes, no two six packs are alike. The structure of your abdomen is determined by your genes. And while you can change the size of your muscles through exercise, you can’t change the fundamental layout or structure of your midsection. Your six pack will be uniquely yours.
  7. Myth: You can’t eat carbs if you want a six pack. Carbs are one of the most under-appreciated aspects of a balanced and healthy diet. Indeed, we need carbohydrates for our bodies to function properly, but many people mistakenly believe that carbs load our bodies up with excess body fat. The real emphasis should be placed on eating good, whole, natural and unprocessed carbs – like those found in whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, etc – rather than the bad carbs found in sugary drinks, white bread, cookies and cakes.
  8. Myth: You need to do hours of cardio to get a six pack. You don’t need to take up marathon running to lean down and showcase your six pack. In fact, as I’ve said before, high intensity interval training – which can last for as little as 10 or 15 minutes – is the best way to boost your metabolism and drop body fat. It takes minutes – not hours.

In life, knowledge is power – and the same can be said for fitness. Just because you’ve heard something, it doesn’t mean that it’s true. It’s important to question everything and to do your research based on real science – rather than what you overheard at the gym.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear some of the true or untrue things that you’ve heard about six packs. Perhaps I’ll do a part II.

Newsflash: Ab Workouts Won’t Give You a Flat Stomach.

Yesterday, I was hitting the gym and chatting it up with a new member. He was asking me about a few of the machines, including one that works the obliques (aka side abs). He was totally excited to try the machine out, and explained to me that he’s trying to get rid of his “love handles” and extra fat around his waist.

But alas, the belief that ab exercises will reduce love handles or create a flat stomach is one of the most pervasive exercise misconceptions out there.

Ab exercises build and strengthen abdominal muscles. They do not convert fat tissue into muscle. And they don’t shrink your midsection. In fact, it’s impossible to target parts of the body from which to lose weight.

If you have a belly, and embark on a comprehensive and ass-kicking ab workout, then you’ll likely develop much stronger and bigger ab muscles over time. But those ab muscles will still be hidden under a layer of fat – and even the smallest layer of fat will hide a six pack.

If you want a flat stomach, then you need to do three things:

  1. Cardiovascular exercise. Cardio burns calories during and after exercise. It will help reduce body fat.
  2. Comprehensive strength training. Muscle does wonders to boost the body’s metabolism, so put into practice a total body strength training program. Adding muscle will increase the number of calories your body burns each day.
  3. Proper nutrition. A clean, healthy diet will complement your exercise program and keep body fat to a minimum.

So, if you aspire to showcase a washboard stomach – or just flatten things out a bit – then know that you can crunch your way until kingdom come, and it won’t make a whole lot of difference. Instead, do cardio, strength training and eat right. Simple and easy? No. But it works.

How to Kick-Up Your Ab Workout.

A lot of people do “more of the same” when performing exercises – and yet are unhappy with the results. Watch this video to change the status quo:

Six Pack Secret: Drinking Water?

The world's most famous six pack!

Since elementary school, our phys ed teachers have reminded us to drink our 8 cups of water a day. But why? It turns out they were on to something. Staying hydrated is associated with a number of benefits – including better definition in your abs.

Decreased risk of cancer, clearer skin and increased productivity are a few of the reasons to stay hydrated. But water also has another important benefit: Fat loss. Water curbs hunger (the body often sends a hunger signal when it’s actually thirsty), replaces sugary drinks and actually boosts your metabolism.

The findings of a water/metabolism study were reported in the The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. The researchers tracked energy expenditures among seven men and seven women who were healthy and not overweight. The subjects, after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water, increased the rate of burning calories by 30% within the time frame of 30-40 minutes. Drinking water helps create the create the calorie deficit required for weight and fat loss. And less fat = more defined six pack.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. In the December/January issue of Men’s Fitness, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino (famous for his abs) touts water as one of his top 8 six-pack rules.

Remember: Even a small layer of belly fat will obscure abs. So… exercise, maintain a clean diet – and drink tons of water. Cheers!

P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about crazy abs, check out my “how to get a six pack” guide.