Nearly everywhere you look, from social media guru’s, to traditional magazines in the aisle, to the far recesses of the internet you’ll find website after website promising to reveal the next secret or long lost quick-fix to getting six pack abs.Most of the time, these ruses are just an attempt to maintain your attention, or seduce your money.
I won’t do that here. Instead, I’ll simply offer three suggestions, and remind you that having a six pack basically comes down to genetics, low body-fat percentage, eating and movement programs, and even though fit people tend to have six-packs, that correlation is bogus. You can have a six pack and be wildly unfit, weak, and unhealthy.
Focus on What Your Body Can Do More Than How It Looks
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with setting aesthetically based fitness goals, training for a strong core and developed six-pack goes beyond appearances.
In CrossFit gyms you’ll notice there’s a lack of traditional exercise equipment or machines, and there are zero mirrors. That’s intentional. The primary mover and focus of our fitness regimen is our unique and personal body and how it moves through time and space-not how it looks. CrossFit as a methodology of fitness is less concerned with how you look and more concerned on what you can do. Many people may have a slim midline that doesn't improve their quality of life, or capacity to engage with what life demands.
It may be surprising to learn that the “six-pack” is actually not all that beneficial to the body’s main goal of regulating healthy systems (think cardiovascular, nervous, digestive) as well as protecting the incredibly important spine. Yes, six-pack abs might be deemed as “sexy” but having a spine that is safely supported and a body that is operating well might actually be sexier, or at least, more important you to living a higher quality of life.
Focus On Foods
The single most important tool that you need in order to develop your abs is what you eat. The biggest influence on how your midline looks is the types of food you eat, and how much you eat, especially in relation to your physical exertion. The bottom of the theoretical development of an athlete is nutrition, meaning, what we eat is more important than the fitness program we engage in. For most of us, working out isn’t sufficient enough to counteract a bad diet. To quote Fitness in 100 Words, “eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat”. Focus on protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates (yep, I said it-eat carbs).
Focus On Consistency
The simplest, most well thought out, easiest to follow diet and workout program in the world is absolutely useless…unless actually followed. Focus on the tenet of adherence and consistency. Adhere to your nutrition plan and workout program, and do it consistently. Reading about getting a six pack will not get you the desired results. Instead, engaging in the long-process of continuous and consistent well-directed effort is what will help you reap rewards.
One last thought: don’t couple body measurements with our worth as humans. It is important to take a moment to think about just how you define your success in the realm of health and wellness. Is it a body weight? Is it a particular body image? Is it a dress or shirt size? You are not the number of abs you have. You are not your body weight. You are also not your Body Mass Index (BMI) score, your body fat percentage (BF%), or your Lean Body Mass (LBM). In the same vein, you’re not even your cholesterol levels, your blood pressure, or your resting heart rate. Each of these measurements is a static, immobile snapshot of an aspect of your health at any given moment. While they are important to know and focus on, they don't tell us where you want to be or where you’re going, only where you are at the moment the measurement was taken. Additionally, one biomarker in-and-of itself is unlikely to tell a complete story, just as one letter doesn’t comprise a full sentence.
If you don’t like one or multiple of your individual biometrics listed in this article, do you wanna hear the really good news?
You have the opportunity to change it.
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