One of the most discussed goals in fitness is always “a flat stomach” or “abs”. Look at any fitness magazine cover and you’re bound to find an article about the “secrets” to a six-pack. A quick peruse of social media fitness models will show more of the same.
Here’s the deal. Visible abs and/or a flat stomach are typically the result of low body fat, which is the result of ALL THE THINGS that revolve around your fitness/nutrition/sleep/stress regimen.
Let me share some educational information to help you understand the situation better.
Often when people start a new exercise program, we can see weight gain in the short term. Resistance training can cause temporary water retention in the muscles, resulting in more bodyweight overall. If positive diet changes are occurring at the same time, this can sometimes be avoided, but unfortunately many people are not willing to accept that diet has to change in order for visible results to occur.
So...resistance training will continue to build lean muscle mass, which is awesome, but if you do not create a caloric deficit, your new found muscle will just keep growing under your fat tissue.
Which is why all the situps and leg raises and ab wheels in the world won’t give you six-pack abs or a flat stomach.
What they will do is make your abs stronger, just like squats make your legs stronger or curls make your biceps stronger. They serve their purpose, and it’s never a waste of time. However, if the visible physical representation is what you’re looking for, it will always be much more than “Do these 5 simple moves for a toned midsection.”
Unless those 5 simple moves are lift heavier, create a caloric deficit, get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, manage your stress appropriately, and do all those things over an extended period of time. Simple, right?? :-)
Oops, I just gave you the secret!!
Here are a few more things to consider. Your body type may not be conducive to having a flat stomach. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but YOU may have a harder time than most. My short Mexi-Russian self is a great example. The very last place I lose body fat is my midsection. At my leanest, I can have good definition everywhere else on my body, and still not have the magazine abs. Self admittedly, I’m also not willing to take my nutrition to that level of discipline to attain that because it’s just not that important to me.
Which brings me to my final point. If having great abs is a goal of yours, I applaud you. At the same time, I would encourage you to really ask yourself WHY it’s important. Is it to be more attractive to potential mates? Is it to have more confidence taking off your shirt on the beach or wearing a two-piece bikini? Is it something you want to achieve just to know what you’re capable of?
There’s no right or wrong with this, but just like any other goal, please make sure it’s meaningful and has purpose behind it. And know you could do everything “right” and still not get there, which is ok, too.
In fitness, and life, all we can truly control is the process and daily actions we take to achieve our goals. The outcome may or may not be what we desire, but if our actions are consistently in alignment with our goals, then we stand a much better chance of reaching them.
If there’s anything I can do to help you with your fitness, nutrition, and/or mindset, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I would love to help YOU live a happier, healthier life.
In addition to coaching people to better fitness and nutrition, Marc enjoys writing and helping expand people's minds to live their best life.
Want to learn how to stay in shape on a busy schedule? Download our free guide!