Having a chiseled six pack is the fitness equivalent of “having arrived.”
You may be strong…you may be big…but all the cool kids have killer abs. And it’s okay if you want some too. 🙂
There’s a problem though. And it has everything to do with why we don’t see many people with lean, defined cores.
You see, when millions of people want something bad enough to keep them up late at night Googling, wallet in hand, you can take a wild guess what comes next.
Yup…the siren calls of savvy marketers lurking in the shadows. Or, maybe more fittingly, soaring overhead, looking for confused or weakened prey to feast on.
Alright, alright, that’s a bit dramatic, but here’s my point:
The problem is the sheer amount of awful, misleading, and downright detrimental “six pack” advice out there.
- Some people say you just have to do special types of ab workouts every day…and they’re wrong.
- Some people say you should just squat and deadlift and you’ll have great abs…and they’re wrong.
- Some people say you have to eat certain types of foods and not eat others…and they’re wrong.
- Some people say you just have to have a low body fat percentage…and they’re wrong.
- And some people say it’s all in the supplements…and they’re just lying.
1. Lose the belly fat.
I figured I’d start with the obvious.
The primary reason why you don’t have a six pack is you have too much fat covering your abdominal muscles.
Get rid of the fat and you’re close to your goal, if not there already. This begs the question, however, of how you actually go about doing this.
First, you can’t directly “target” belly fat for elimination.
Targeted fat loss, or “spot reduction,” has long been–and still is–a hot button pushed to sell fitness books, magazines, DVDs, supplements, and more.
One workout is for “slimming” your thighs and another is for “sculpting” your midsection. This food is supposed to reduce belly fat and that food can somehow make your hips leaner.
I wish it were that simple.
Research has shown that training a muscle does result in increased levels of blood flow and lipolysis (the breakdown of fat cells into usable energy) in the area, but the effect is too small to matter.
Training your muscles burns calories and can cause them the grow, which aids in fat loss, but it doesn’t directly reduce the fat covering them.
You see, fat loss is a whole-body process.
You maintain a calorie deficit, which forces your body to reduce its total fat stores. Reductions occur everywhere, however, with certain regions leaning out quicker than others (more on that in a minute).
That range is 15% body fat and below for men and 25% and below for women.