The question "Why can't I see my abs?" has been asked a million times in the history of fitness. It is certainly one of the most misunderstood aspects of exercise - mainly because there is so much misleading information out there containing false promises of magic pills, secret inventions, and miracle diets.
Unfortunately let me try to cut out the noise and share a few basic truths that I have learned over the last 30 years of daily training.
1. Don't focus on building your abs and put them on top to reveal your abs. I often see people working really hard at building abs with weighted exercises, abs, or thousands of crunches. However, these people are frustrated by taking off their shirts and still not seeing the results they want - that elusive "six pack".
Here's the truth: if you have a layer of fat over your midsection, no amount of stomach work is ever going to change the way you look. Let me put this more practically: I often see people with "love grips" trying to fix this situation with weighted side flexes because they think the oblique muscles are the problem.
t true! It's actually the opposite. By building their oblique muscles through weighted resistance and by eliminating the layer of fat on these oblique muscles, gymnasts make their appearance even less satisfying.
How do we fix this?
2. You may have heard the saying, "Abs are made in the kitchen." While this is not the whole truth, we are getting warmer. I've said many times, "Abs are revealed in the kitchen," but even that only gets us part of the way there.
The basic, non-negotiable truth here is this: We cannot overdo a bad reception. Good exercise is two steps forward, but poor nutrition is two steps back. This becomes even more evident as we age - the quality of our recording is actually more important to our appearance than to our training. That's right, we are what we eat, or more precisely how we look, feel and perform, is a direct reflection of what we eat and drink.
Exactly what should that shot be for you to burn fat and reveal those abs? Well this is specific to you; Every body is unique and we have many factors to consider. In general, I believe the vast majority of us already know which foods and drinks to avoid. If you'd like my recommendations for inclusion, tune in next week!
3. After all, it is impossible to lose body fat locally. It's just not how our bodies work - no matter how hard we try. We cannot target the fat in a specific area of our body and make it go away. Rather, when we burn fat, we notice the difference in our body everywhere, not just in one place. And I've learned that the first place we find that fat is stored on our bodies is the last place it is burned.
Here, too, each body is unique. While some people first notice that their bodies store fat primarily in their lower abdomen, others may see it in their love handles. Many men see their weight gain in their midsection while many women see it in their lower bodies. To get rid of this layer of fat that hides our abdominal muscles, we need to boost our metabolism with (a) intelligent, steady exercise, (b) clean, combustible intake, (c) plenty of hydration, and (d) sleep. Do you remember our chalk talk about these four elements in the first “Ask Andy”? This fitness lifestyle turns your body into a fat burning machine. And we have to remember to be patient; Don't expect this to happen overnight. Finally, think about how long it took you to add this fat to your body.
While there are no quick shortcuts or magic pills, the good news is that by creating the good habits that will become your fitness lifestyle, you are naturally making a FINAL change in your body.
Get ready to reveal those abs!
Andy McDermott is an advocate of fundamental health and wellness truths based on lessons he personally learned about a life in fitness. He received his first personal training certificate in 1999 while working at Bally's Chicago gym. He completed the 40-hour EXOS Sports Performance Mentorship, TRX Instructor Certification, and earned his third degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. While serving as a constable in the Tactical Response Unit of the Phoenix Police Department, Andy served as the subject / lead instructor in physical training for all law enforcement agencies in Arizona. He won the National Championship at the US Police and Fire Games as part of the "Toughest Competitor Alive" event. After graduating from rthwestern University, he played professional football for seven seasons. He also holds the US Soccer National Coaching A License. Andy has published more than 100 articles and videos for national media publications. Andy posts fitness challenges on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.