To this day, ‘having abs’ is one of the most popular reasons as to why people want to start new exercise programs. I see so many quick fixes and diet programs that claim to give you ‘flat abs fast’, and it makes me sad to see that this is still so prevalent in the fitness industry. I have said this before, and I will say it again - there is no secret or quick fix to flat abs. However, I also don’t want people to think they are totally unattainable. I know many girls don’t even want to verbalise they would love to have a defined core, because they feel embarrassed about their bodies and feel like it is beyond their reach.
There are a few ab myths that have been floating around, so I thought it was time to set the record straight.
Ab Exercises Will Target Belly Fat
Just like you can’t only remove fat from your thighs by doing squats, completing only ab exercises will not remove stubborn belly fat. Unfortunately, it is not possible to spot reduce, so you can crunch away, but that doesn’t mean that the fat will melt away. The only way to remove stubborn belly fat is to eat a healthy, balanced diet and have a consistent exercise regime. I recommend a combination of cardio and resistance like in my Bikini Body Training Guide. Once you reduce your overall body fat, your abs can start to show.
All Abs Look The Same
One of the worst things you can do, is to train for someone else’s body. Not only is this an unhealthy mindset to have in general, but it is important to understand that everyone has a different genetic make-up. This means that no matter how hard you try, you might not be able to achieve the same abs as the girl in the picture, because the structure of your abdomen is somewhat determined by your genes. What you should do is take progress pictures. This way the only person you are comparing yourself to is yourself!
Diet Pills or Fat Burners Will Help You Get Abs
Apart from the typical ‘flat abs in 3 days’ diets and similar cleanses, many people think they can speed up the process of obtaining abs by taking fat burners or diet pills. No matter what they say on the bottle, no tablet or supplement will miraculously ‘cut fat’. Most fat burners are made with ingredients like caffeine to stimulate your central nervous system and temporarily speed up your metabolism. Although for some people this can supplement their body’s fat burning capabilities and help them work harder in the gym, they won’t actually melt the fat away.
I personally don’t take fat burning supplements, like I said before, there is no miracle answer and the only way to get rid of fat is to eat a clean diet paired with a good exercise regime. I just want you girls to remember that fat burning is not a quick process, it takes time and dedication.
Say Goodbye To Carbs
Many people are aware that a proper diet is the key to achieving abs, but for some reason the first thing they think they need to do is completely cut out carbs. Cutting out carbs can actually slow down the process of fat burning and achieving abs, because your body needs them to function properly. Eating the right types of carbs can give you energy and help keep you feeling full.
The most important point to remember here is that you should stay away from all white and highly refined carbs because these can cause your blood sugar levels to spike and are digested quickly. The best ones are those that aren’t highly processed such as quinoa, brown rice and wholemeal bread.
Crunches are The Best Ab Exercises
Although crunches are a good abdominal exercise, they are not the be all and end all to strong, lean abs. Crunches only target your most superficial (outer) abdominal muscle, and in my opinion, just working this muscle is not the most effective way to achieve strong abs. I recommend mixing up your ab workouts by including exercises that also target your obliques (sides) and your transverse abdominus (deep abdominal muscle that helps to support your lower back and torso).
It is also important to keep in mind that your abs are still working when you are doing exercises that aren’t specifically “ab exercises”. Just a few examples are push ups, commandos, burpees, even lunges and squats! Incorporating these full body exercises can help you work your abs as well as a number of other muscle groups all at the same time!
It’s Impossible For Your Body Type
It is super easy to think you can’t do something, so many girls look at others and think “I wish I could do that”. Like I said before, not everyone is going to look the same, but being strong, lean and toned IS achievable. Don’t hold yourself back. Believe you can do it and you will. You need to understand it will take a lot of effort and dedication, and a little sacrifice, but it is totally possible for YOU to have the body you desire (so long as your goals are realistic for you and your body)!
Yes, genetics does play a role in the way your body looks, but don't use this as an excuse not to try! You will be surprised at how far you come when you actually put your mind to something.
Remember girls, abs are not an unattainable, scary thing. Simply eat well, train hard and dedicate some time, and the results will come. My number one tip would be to stay motivated and don’t get disheartened if you don’t see results right away.
Love, Kayla xx