Everyone would like a fit lean body, a body that is so defined that one can actually see the definition around our mid-section, which the six pack is the ultimate! The common belief of many individuals, which is supported by the media, is that through endless versions of stomach exercises a six pack will be yours! If your goal is to get a six pack, one needs to separate fact from fiction. Only by correct exercise, sensible nutrition and the right mind set can we ever hope to achieve this goal.
My own journey began with myself at the age of 7 being 10 stone (140 lbs) and gazing at my Marvel Comic book heroes and wishing that I too could look like Spider man or Captain America. The reason for me wanting to be like these fictional heroes was firstly, pure vanity (it’s not a nice world being fat) and secondly, I wanted to beat up the kid next door, who being 5 years older than me, was constantly bullying me.
After coming home from school one day and being totally humiliated by my gym teacher (age 10) when asked to climb the ropes (no chance), I glanced whilst crying at my Spider man magazine and saw an article on how to look like the body builders of that era. I remember quite vividly asking my mom for 50 cents to send away to Joe Eider for his progressive strength training programmer.
The tears were hitting the paper as I was telling Joe I was a complete loser and that I needed to sort out my life since I was a fat slob going nowhere fast. Lo and behold within seven days I had a gallery of motivational photographs of body builders; however, the catch was I needed another $40 to buy the weights! Happily, for me, my Dad bought me a set of the weights and the next chapter in my life started….
In many ways 2010 in no different to 1966.
In today’s world we are bombarded with constant reminders of the perfect toned body. Everywhere you look, be it magazines, posters or TV, the standards of how we should look are set. What is important to realist is that many of the images we see have been digitally altered (on the fashion/star front), many of the info commercials about weight loss and toning are totally fake and the real athletes we see are at the peak of their fitness IE they do not look like that way more than 3 days a month. I learned myself that while searching for a test group to try out my DVD routine a few years back, that the results were fixed and actually the before photos were really the after photos IE they took fit people and paid them to then get out of shape (remember Bridget Jones?).
So how do we get there?
First and foremost, it’s about training smart. Resistance training done briefly (45 mins to 1 hour), 2 – 3 times a week on alternative days with a couple of cardio only workouts, preferably first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is our exercise prescription. Secondly, we are what we eat, so eating every 3 hours, a palm sized portion of protein and 1 of complex carbohydrates, six days a week will fuel our muscles and help burn off the excess fat by raising our metabolic rate.
Emotional fitness, especially for women, is of ultimate importance. Individuals that are under a high amount of anxiety will overload the adrenal system, making muscles shrink, lower your immune system and make it much harder to lose fat. So, understand that you will never see a six pack unless you eat correctly. Not eating or skipping meals will not work, it will produce the same effect as stress IE losing muscle (which controls how many calories you burn) and retaining fat.
Sounds weird I know, but eating more, as in ‘little and often’ will really get you the results you want and, you will feel better. Stop using the scales! As you gain muscle you may well get heavier as muscle weighs more than fat so you could be getting leaner and more toned but be heavier on the scales!
Both guys and gals, do yourself a favor, get a pair of jeans you need to be comfortable in and let them be your guide!
Your best stomach exercises are actually ones that use your abdominal as a major support IE press ups, chin ups and squats. Whilst holding your tummy button in throughout your whole workout, your abdominal are put through their paces. Also, as we get older, keep in mind that our healthy age is actually determined by our physiology. Which means that the more conditioned muscle we have and therefore the less fat we carry, the healthier we are going to be and the better we are going to look. As I say to many of my clients, a healthy lifestyle reduces our Chase whilst increasing our motor!