This is something I hear (or variations of this) on a regular basis. Believe me, I get it, I really do! A lot of people want to lose weight without having to completely sacrifice their social life. It is here where alcohol plays a big part, whether it is to have fun or just to relax.
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If you ask me what the number one muscle that gets talked about is, I would definitely say the ABS!
Due to this, there are a lot of myths out there on the internet. I want this blog to dispel a few of these and deliver in a nutshell what you really need to know!
Endless crunches and sit-ups will give you a six pack
Wrong. You can perform 100s of crunches and sit-ups every day for the next 2 decades and you still won’t carve out a six pack. Ab exercises can help to build strong and thick abs but they won’t strip away the fat that is covering them. Only a proper diet can reveal the abs lying beneath that layer of fat.
As long as you are eating healthy, you will lose fat and tone your abs
False. While eating healthy is a good start, it doesn’t guarantee visible abs. It is possible to eat only “good foods” and still gain weight. To lose fat the right way, you will primarily need to focus on the total amount of calories you are eating each day (calories burnt must be greater than calories in), whilst keeping an eye on protein, carbohydrate and fat consumption.
Resistance training isn’t needed when dieting for six pack abs
While resistance training isn’t STRICTLY needed when on a diet, it will help you to maximize your current muscle mass. If you don’t utilise some form of resistance training, you risk losing fat AND muscle while dieting. The end result might be six pack abs, but without much else to go with it!
Abs must be worked as frequently as possible with high reps
No, not exactly. While the abdominals are a smaller muscle group, and can generally be worked more frequently, you should still train them like any other muscle group. Far too often the abs are not trained with progressive resistance, meaning that the workouts do not become more difficult over time. It is more important to make ab workouts challenging, than it is to perform an endless amount of easy repetitions.
Crunches are the best ab exercise
No. Crunching your way into oblivion is not the best strategy for building thick, six pack abs. Many of us can perform 25+ crunches right now without stopping. The fact that crunches are relatively easy to do, or will become relatively easy to perform after only a week or two, indicates that they are not providing enough resistance. Once the body has adapted and is no longer challenged, it has very little incentive to “grow” a muscle. You need a variety of moves, which keeps the body guessing. Challenging your abs with more resistance will help build that prominent, thicker six pack. The more prominent they are, the higher body fat you will be able to hold whilst still looking lean.
Working your abs will give you a bad back
While overworking your abs, or any muscle group for that matter, could create lower back strain, a moderate and sensible amount of abs work will actually strengthen your lower back. The abs and lower back are opposing muscles and work together during ab training.
It’s just as easy for women to get six pack abs
False. The female body naturally holds higher body fat levels, and will often “fight” to retain fat when it’s at lower levels. This does not imply that it will be impossible for a woman to have great abs, but rather it will be significantly more difficult to have shredded abs.
You must do an insane amount of cardio to have abs
False. Having a properly structured diet is more important. Whilst cardio can certainly help burn fat and stimulate your metabolism, you do not need to spend several hours each day on the treadmill. First and foremost, dial in your diet. Once your eating approach is on point, you can add short, sharp cardio as needed.
Once you have abs, maintaining them is easy
Incorrect. For the average person, maintaining great looking abs takes an incredible amount of discipline. This means eating clean and training hard, several days a week. If you develop a six pack, it could only take a few poor diet days for it to soften and start to disappear. Fitness models or bodybuilders appearing on the cover of magazines are often 5-7% body fat or lower and ‘peak’ for this event. With that said, it is possible to keep 10-12% body fat for extended periods of time. You are a little “smoother” at this body fat percentage, but you can still maintain some ab definition.
I hope these tips help. If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share on social media so more people learn the truth about all these ab myths.
If you want a more personalised approach, WAKE FIT provides personal training in London dedicated to make you, the best you can be.