There are a lot of common misconceptions about how to get “6 pack abs”. I’m here to tell you the truth about 3 of the biggest ones. You may not like what you read here, but if you remember these six pack secrets, you will be able to get the rock hard stomach you’ve always wanted.
So here are the 3 biggest misconceptions about getting a 6 pack and a way to overcome each obstacle.
Misconception 1: “I just don’t have abs and I never will”
Some people just genuinely don’t believe they have abs. Many people also have the terminology wrong. There is this weird phenomenon that as you start to put on weight and begin to have fat on your stomach, the disappearing of your abdominals is almost taken too literally. “Abs” are your abdominal muscles. “6 pack” refers to the look you get when you have low belly fat on your stomach and well developed and defined abdominal muscles. I am here to tell you that they are in fact there somewhere, you just need to work to make them visible.
There are two deep tissue muscles that help make up the abdomen core. Those are the psoas major and minor. These muscles sit below the conventional “6 pack muscles” and are attached to the lumbar spine, and then create the hip flexor by attaching near the head of the femur. The superficial muscles (those closest to the skin that are largely responsible for creating muscular definition) that make up the 6 pack are the rectus abdominis, the actual “6 pack” muscles, and also the external and internal obliques.
So don’t worry – you don’t lose your abdominal muscles when you gain weight. They’re there. They may be weaker, or they may actually be very strong, You just need to work on burning off some fat and develop those muscles to expose that shredded stomach everyone has but just may not be able to see.
Misconception 2: “Okay, then I’ll do lots of crunches to burn belly fat”
This next misconception we will cover is that crunches can specifically target belly fat, getting you that 6 pack you’ve always wanted. While you may be able to strengthen the abdominal muscles and have them grow by doing lots of crunches, you won’t actually burn fat specifically off your stomach and get you the 6 pack look. Crunches, like any muscle strengthening exercise in general, don’t burn fat in specific locations. Like we said before, you have the muscles, so crunches can make them stand out more if you already have low belly fat, but if you have excess fat, it’s all about getting that number down before even thinking about working on definition. And to do that, you need to lose it holistically, which brings us to number 3.
Misconception 3: “So I’ve got to burn fat everywhere, I’ll just run it off”
Cardio can be a great way to burn fat, but there are a lot of reasons why cardio isn’t always the best way to shave off your total body fat percentage. Exercise, and cardio specifically, is a great way to improve your heart health and increase your strength. But when you move more, your body needs to replenish energy in the form of sleep and food. When you finish a workout, we often get really hungry. Most of us give into that hunger and refuel immediately after a workout. And it’s obvious, we just exercised, so we are starving, but what happens is that we tend to actually eat more than we would have normally if we didn’t exercise, bringing us back into a caloric surplus. So if your goal is to lose weight or burn fat to show off your 6 pack, cardio may actually make it harder. This is a perfect transition into the solution to all of your 6 pack troubles and tribulations.
Solution: Dieting gets you a 6 pack!
As stated at the beginning of this post, everyone has abs. The 6 pack looks comes from a low body fat percentage allowing those abs to become visible, and the best way to do that, is through dieting. Dieting is the single most important thing when losing fat because of what you are forcing yourself to eat, and also not eat. Your body needs a baseline of calories a day. Combining that with regular exercise, both cardiovascular and strength training, which are a must, your body needs even more calories a day. So the only way to truly lose fat and show off that stomach is to ensure that you are in a caloric deficit – consuming fewer calories than your body requires on a daily basis. So continue running, continue lifting, but start counting calories, start eating foods that are low in fat, and limit your carbohydrate intake, and that will get you well on your way to a shredded stomach.
But before you take this secret to get you that 6 pack look you’ve always wanted, it is important to keep something in mind. As with any aspect of fitness, we need to recognize why it is we are exercising in the first place. The most important reason for us should be to live a healthier and stronger life. If we set out goals to exercise to solely look better and have 6 pack abs, it makes it harder for us to stick to our goals because of improper motivation. Working out is a great way to be healthier, happier, and live a longer life. Yes, it has the added benefit of making ourselves look better, but remember, there is a big difference between exercising to be more confident with yourself, and exercising to look better in the eyes of others.
So good luck my friends, and as always, keep living a strong, healthy, and happy life.
About the Author:
Ben is a personal trainer and recent graduate of Fordham University. He loves everything health and fitness. You can check out Ben’s fitness and lifestyle blog, Mind Matter Fitness, where he offers advice, motivation, and workout plans for free.