Here’s a soundbite I would never use: “Let me show you how to build an AWESOME six pack.” Ironically, I sport a nice set of abdominal muscles. Maybe I should use them to market my services? After all, I’m no spring chicken. Not only have I birthed two babies, I’m post-menopausal. If my abs cause envy, shouldn’t a twenty-something get the same results if she does exactly what I do? Unfortunately, as all things fitness and wellness related, it’s not that simple.
Just like many men have a hard time building their calves, many people will struggle to get six pack abs. Obviously body fat needs to be low, so diet and exercise play a huge role, but trying to eat right and exercise in order to look a certain way is a lousy reason to make a lifestyle change and usually leads to failure. For most of us, trying to move more and eat less processed food, will make you feel better and then maybe you’ll be motivated to work hard enough to get that six-pack (any maybe even become a physic competitorJ Unfortunately, a majority of American’s eat crappy food, don’t move and then want a magic pill that will allow them to keep these behaviors, while they sport a six pack.
I would be happy to who you how to get great abs, but the secret is in your mind not your body.
Most people who embark on a journey to eat healthy and exercise fail. As someone who is trying to help people live healthier lives, this makes me sad. Why am I failing to help you??? You tell me you’re motivated and you like any motivation quote I send you, but your mind-set isn’t there. Your head is NOT in the game. Before you worry about getting six pack abs, you need to find out why you keep sabotaging yourself. Most people who are unhappy with their bodies are almost resigned to that fact. This behavior doesn’t just apply to body-image. Others do it with work or relationships. Sometimes you have to accept something. Maybe you don’t like your job, but your partner is sick and unable to work or kids are in school and you’re supporting them, but with fitness you control those choices. You decide to eat the cake in the break room. You opt to come home and sit on the coach watching TV instead of exercising. Why? You need to be aware that you can either accept this behavior, develop the awareness of what needs to change, set accountability standards and then adapt your behavior.
I do have a few tricks to keep you lean. Luckily they also tend to make you healthier:
- Exercise in the morning in a fasted state (coffee or tea is fine). Doesn’t have to be hard-core. Fast walk, easy jog, Flow Yoga or light weight training all work well.
- Don’t be afraid to go hungry. You can easily survive a day without eating. If you find yourself “crashing” at 11 a.m., you might have extreme sugar swings. Check your blood sugar with an inexpensive glucose monitor. Here’s one that costs less than $15 on Amazon and talks to you, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002JLEXFQ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 If you find that your daily breakfast of oatmeal and a banana (which is fine for many folks) is spiking your blood sugar and giving you a crash at 11 a.m., you might be better off with scrambled eggs and spinach.
- Move as much as possible throughout the day. Track your movement: Fitbit, Apple Watch, etc. Aim for 10,000 steps a day. I’m in massage/esthetics school at the moment, which means I don’t get as much activity as I’d like. I make it a point to do squats over the toilet in the bathroom, push-ups against the massage table and volunteer to fold laundry. Anything to keep me active. I always have 10,000+ steps/day.
- Weight train.
- Do abdominal exercises, crunches and planks, to strengthen your muscles, NOT to make those abdominal muscles “pop”.
- Lean out using HIIT or long-steady state cardio, the latter ideally in a fasted state.
Let your six pack, abdominal strength be a by-product of your healthy living.