Cris LaBossiere

Cris LaBossiere
Strength training and mountain biking. My two favorites

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Eat Less To Get a Six Pack

The elusive six pack.  There is an endless number of super six pack programs at your disposal. Entire books are created with the sole purpose of teaching you the super secrets, known only to the author until you buy the book.

What about incredibly challenging gut burning core workouts with everything from planks to throwing medicine balls at your mid section?  These hardcore workouts are important for athletic performance, but are overkill if the main goal is solid posture, good strength, and a lean six pack.  Besides, hard core training usually causes overtraining injuries when jumped into too quickly, typically with high hopes and promises of fast gains in exchange for a torturous workout.  If you need this level of performance it's best to work up to it over a long period; athletic development takes months and years, not days and weeks.

Then there's the secret foods to eat that make abdominal fat disappear in which failing to eat these foods is proposed to be the true reason for failing to achieve a beach worthy state of being ripped.  Nope, those are phoney claims.

There are only two primary variables that relate to revealing a six pack; how much food you eat, and increasing the size of the rectus abdominis muscles through resistance training.

Actually the second variable, training, isn't as critical as you might think to merely expose the outline of this muscle group.  Certainly larger abdominal muscles stick out more and for sure make a difference in the wow factor, but anyone who is really lean will show abdominal muscles.

The main thing that stands between you and your hidden six pack is extra abdominal fat.  To simplify the complex layers of tissue let's look at the three main layers; muscles on the bottom, subcutaneous adipose tissue (fat) is next, with the outer skin (epidermis) on the outside, forming a kind of fat sandwich if you will.

Those seeking the ultimate ripped showing, usually bodybuilders preparing for contest, will tell you about sodium, water, and carb intake manipulations to get that paper-thin skin over muscle look, but that group will also tell you that particular state is only sustainable for a short period.. don't worry about this approach as it's impractical for achieving or maintaining a healthy sustainable six pack.

Really the main variable is food intake.  Can't get rid of that layer that's covering your six pack?  Eat less.

There is no secret.  Goofy fad diets need not be considered, simply employ a safe caloric deficit (around a 500 calorie deficit per day or most days) and every week you will lose fat.  Of course keep up with healthy exercise and keep eating fresh whole foods and balanced nutrition, but eat less to lose fat.

There's no rush.  Despite our ability to convince ourselves that we must lose fat or get ripped abs by a certain date, there really is no rhyme or logical reason to do so, and such goals are often set so unrealistically that most will give up when they fail to achieve unrealistic goals, or worse, turn to crazy supplements and even more crazy quick fix promises..

To maintain your ripped abs, continue with a healthy diet where you don't overeat.  This is very difficult for most to achieve as most of us typically associate reward with overeating, and we typically make every excuse in the book to overeat whenever possible.

If you can get passed weekend binge eating and the huge environmental and social influences to overeat, you can successfully achieve and maintain the ripped abs look, and you don't need a weird diet to do so.

The real secret to the six pack?  Not much of a secret, eat less to lose fat; maintain a healthy caloric balance to maintain it.

Final notes; your abs will look like your abs, not someone else's.  There are of course genetic variances between us all that make our superficial surface appearance unique to each of us so don't get hung up on trying make your abs look exactly like someone else's.  The width of the tendon material between those six pack blocks varies between people as does the exact shape of each segment of muscle; you can't change this.

Avoid getting too worked up about the exact way you look.  It's too easy for us emotional humans to develop self esteem and self image issues by placing too much emphasis on such things.  Having said that, here is a narcissistic self photo (age 45)..  My ab routine?  Only once per week, and limited sets.  I go harder when I feel good and do less when I feel off.  Simple floor crunches, standing cable crunches, axe choppers, and cable crunches are my staples.  Bridges occasionally, but bridges (also called "plank") only drive your abs to about 45% of peak contractile force which is fair for a base or a beginners program, but bridges, despite all the hype, are not appropriate for advanced core strength and power.

If I didn't love riding my mountain bike so much I would love to be a gym rat and get big, but the trails call me more than the gym does.. Find what makes you feel good, and stick with it. Oh.. and watch the calories!

No comments:

Post a Comment