For the next few months we will be focusing on your body and it's various muscle groups to help you get your body ready for the upcoming summer! We will showing you video's, sharing tips and giving you all the motivation you will need to get your there!
Your waistline is often the body area that you give the most of your thought and exercise to; and a good majority of us are looking to have the flat, toned abs we see all over the media. Lets dive a little deeper into this muscle group and dispel some of the myths associated with getting ‘six pack abs’ and the frustrations with not always being able to achieve them.
Your abdominal area consists of 3 main muscle groups’ rectus abdominis, oblique’s, and transverse abdominis. These groups of muscles main function is to support the spine and keep your posture in top form. Most of the time we are just working our Rectus abdominis when we exercise in the form of crunches and sit ups, but as you can see below these muscle groups are a bit more complex.
(Image courtesy of banhus.co.uk)
Something to keep in mind about your abdominal area is if your body fat is above 12 percent, your abs will be hidden no matter how developed the rectus abdominis muscle is. You have to diet away body fat in order to see your developed abs; this means making sure what you are consuming is a healthy balance of food and exercise, not starving yourself to see results. How long it will take for you to get visible abs all depends on your current starting position, your motivation, your workout and nutritional strategy you choose to follow.
"Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym"
Let's look at a few myths around abs!
Myth #1: You have to train your abs everyday
If you do this you will be overworking them - If you train your abs intensely through a full range of motion, they need rest to recover and regenerate. Never train abs more than three nonconsecutive days a week. Treat them like any other muscle group you work.
Myth #2: Spot reduction and abdominal only exercises are the best way to get abs
You don't burn the fat on your stomach by doing lots of reps on ab exercises, period! Your body draws energy from the entire body when exercising, not just from the part you're working. So if your crunching away expecting to see results and not changing your caloric intake as well you’re crunching in vain. According to Ironman magazine “A recent EMG study showed that even the bicycle exercise, pedaling your legs in the air while you're on your back, provides more electrical response, or fiber activation, in the rectus abdominis than the flat crunch. Why? Muscles are designed to function best in tandem with other muscles, and with the abs that means bringing in the hip flexors.”
Vary your exercises and reps, as well as add resistance and weights to create a stronger midsection and more defined abs
Myth #3: Supplements will help
While supplements like caffeine and green tea do have fat burning properties to them, any supplement you take, again it will not spot burn meaning it wont only burn fat in the abdomen. The only thing that is required to start melting unwanted fat is a constant energy deficit. You can achieve that by consuming less or burning more calories.
Myth #4: You have to avoid Carbs
Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, and the muscles, including your heart to function properly. Fast-digesting carbs like white bread, and potatoes can initiate an insulin spike that can hinder fat loss. Instead, get your carbs from sources like fruits, veggies, legumes, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, beans, and oatmeal.
The biggest truth as you can see, is that there is no shortcut for a ‘six-pack’ it takes a lot of work and discipline but it can happen for you if you’re willing to put in the effort.
Stay tuned for next week blog where we get into stretches and why they are essential to your abs!!