“I just want abs!” – something that we hear much too often from majority of men all around the world. Movies, magazines, album covers, social media .. these mediums portray the ab muscles as a desirable body part that could help you get the girl of your dreams, or land a role in a new blockbuster film. Unfortunately, not many young men are being told how the 6 pack abs are actually sculpted. There are countless myths behind building a set of abs which need to be addressed. Let me highlight 3 of the most common ones in this blog post.
Myth# 1: ‘You have to train abs during every workout in order to see them’
Yes, ab training is vital to sculpting visible abs, however that is not the determining factor. A low body fat is required in order to start seeing abs, infact everyone is born with a set of abs, therefore you can have never trained your abs before and yet still see them, as long you are at a low body fat level. This body fat level could vary from person to person based on genetics, for example some people can see their abs at 14-15% body fat, whilst majority will only be able to start seeing them at 12-10%. Ab training will however bring out the abs and make them thicker, just as training any muscle would; the point is without being at a low body fat level, no matter how much you train them, your abs will only be visible to a certain extent.
Myth #2: ‘Crunches! Crunches! Crunches!’
This is easily one of the biggest myths in the fitness industry, and one that can be easily explained: Situps/Crunches do NOT shed or burn many calories. Yes they do target the ab muscles and strengthen them to be thicker, yet as mentioned above, this is not the key to visible abs – a lower body fat level is. You could do 100s of situps per day and feel exhausted thinking that you’re sculpting visible, washboard abs by the second, yet you are only making them thicker, but not clearer.
Myth #3: ‘I have to starve myself in order to get skinny to see my abs’
This is a direction which many young adults may take, not knowing that it could be detrimental to your health and emotional state. Getting to a lower body fat level in order to see your abs does NOT mean you have to starve yourself. In order to get to that certain level of leanness, one has to be in a caloric deficit. To get into that caloric deficit, cardiovascular activity is a great tool to do so, helping you burn calories (skip rope, running, any type of activity that raises your heart rate!). In other words, on top of eating clean healthy foods such as salads, fruits, lean meats, whole grain foods, cardio is necessary to help you diet down into that deficit; overtime fat will be burnt and the results of ab training will be seen!
Keep these myths in mind while training and going for the washboard abs look; be smart with your training and set realistic goals, and over time the results will come!