Everyone wants flat abs! This has always been one of the first topics people want to discuss when beginning a workout routine. Despite the facts, many people think they can get flat abs if they just keep doing enough abdominal exercises. In other words, we think we can’t reach this goal because we’re doing the wrong exercises or not enough reps. The truth is, getting six-pack abs is hard and, if you are unable to see yours, maybe it’s not what you’re doing that’s the problem, maybe its what you’re eating.
When I ask what is being done to try and reach these goals I generally get the same answers. See if any of this sounds familiar, “I do 100 crunches everyday”, or “I work my abs for 15 minutes 4 days a week doing crunches, twists, bicycles, side bends with dumbbells, and leg lifts and I’m still not getting results”. The truth is that you cannot just do ab exercises and flatten your stomach, it just won’t happen. And remember that weight training can hypertrophy a muscle, so if you are doing too many side bends with heavy weights, you may actually increase your waistline. Yikes!
If you do not incorporate nutrition and cardio components into your program, you can do as many abdominal bicycle reps as you want and you’ll just be spinning your wheels. The abdominal muscles are present on all of us, but are unable to be seen because they are covered by insulation, or fat. Shed the fat, and see the muscles. Keep in mind, we all have our own genetic makeup, so keep realistic expectations and don’t be discouraged because you don’t look like the models in the magazine.
So let’s talk about what it takes. The three components to creating the type of flat, six pack abs that you are looking for, and I’m sure many of you have heard this before, are consistent cardiovascular exercise, integrated, full body strength training, and a healthy diet. You must have all three of these (especially the nutrition part) right consistently in order to get close to the results you are looking for. Cardio can help to reduce the amount of fat on your entire body, weight training can hypertrophy your muscles giving you definition and a stronger capability to burn more calories at rest, and a healthy diet will ensure you have the correct caloric balance for you so you’ll stop storing more fat and start burning it off. Think about where you are in your program and the goals you want to achieve. Ask yourself if you need more consistency, or more cardio, or are you really honest with yourself about what you eat.
Accept that your body works as a whole unit and not in pieces is the first step towards achieving the results you want. Then, be honest with yourself and your support system, be it a Personal Trainer or Registered Dietician, about where you are and what you want to achieve, and you will soon be on the road to success, and flatter abs.