I want one of these....GET ME ONE OF THESE NOW!!
That's a genuine and regular request I get from prospective clients, and I'm sure most Personal Trainers get it as well!
With Summer more or less upon us, there will be more and more people trying to achieve that dream summer body, which always invariably includes...you guessed it wanting washboard abs!
So let's have a closer look at the reality behind the process.
The most important part of the whole 6-pack getting process is nutrition. There's an expression that goes ''Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym", this is so true!!
You can do sit-ups until the cows come home, but if you're not eating right you're wasting your time! You need to get your body fat percentage down, and keep it down. I'm not talking about eating less and starving yourself (your body will still end up storing fat if you don't eat enough!! ) I mean you need to eat the right quantities of the right kind of foods to ensure you end up with toned muscle in your abdominal areas and not fat!
So make sure your nutrition is on point (check out my previous Food Glorious Food blogs for more info) and remember it's a long-term process, and not an overnight transformation, despite what certain adverts might claim (more on this later!)
Sit-ups Or Crunches
I see a lot of people doing dozens and dozens of sit ups every time they come into the gym , most tend to do these at the end of their workouts.
The main issue I notice with people doing this is the form/technique they adopt while trying to perform the exercise. As you perform a sit-up, and fatigue sets in, the one thing you'll do over and over again is start using muscles and joints you shouldn't be using JUST so you can complete a set. So what tends to happen is people end up with sore necks from crunching their necks more than their abs, and also a sore lower back as the abdominal muscles have stopped working (or in most cases a re weak to start with), and as a result the back starts taking a pounding!
As an alternative, try one of the most underused exercises around....The plank.
There are so many variations to this that even if you have problems doing a high plank, you can start low (on your forearms) or on your knees, and progress it with time to the high plank, and even add a side plank later on for good measure!
There's a vast array of exercises you could be doing as an alternative to sit-ups, for more options, check out my Instagram Page. https://www.instagram.com/gravis_fitness/
Time Scales & Results
Each person's body is different and unique in the way it will respond to exercise and nutritional changes. So the first thing to do is ignore the 'one size fits all' approach of campaigns such as ''6 minutes abs in 6 weeks!''
So many buy into the ads you see on TV claiming using a particular machine or routine will sculpt your abs in no time!!
If 5 different people picked up the same kit and did the same routines, it's more than likely that they'd all get different results!
Your genetics plays a huge part in the process, and as such plays a big part in what results you'll get from any exercise.
You also need to allow yourself a realistic amount of time to get the desired results, so, don't get despondent if you don't get them, not everyone gets a 6-pack, no matter how had they try! You'll end up with strong abdominal muscles, but not necessarily the definition to end up with a 6-pack.
It's also worth remembering that as with any other muscle group you work on (Legs, arms, chest) growth occurs eventually, as long as you persist!
I'll use my experience as an example here, I started with a 42 inch waist, and got to 28 inches, the process included a complete overhaul of my nutrition, a revamp of my fitness regimes, so in essence a change of lifestyle! How long did this all take? The best part of 2 years!
So if you don't get your 6 pack in the same time as your mate, or in the same time the infomercial claims you should get it, don't give up, keep going, keep eating right and keep hitting the gym. Just remember, the 6-pack shouldn't be the objective.....getting and staying fit IS THE OBJECTIVE!
Hi, Lou here, I'll be sharing my thoughts and insights via my blog regularly, so please stay tuned!