Having washboard abs is great. The problem is that there’s a lot of bad advice out there – “Eat this food to blast belly fat” or “50 sit-ups a day will make your abs pop.” Not true!
So below are 6 common myths about six-pack abs, along with the right ways to get it.
Myth #1: Exercise Can Compensate for a Bad Diet
LOL, no. Even if you hit the treadmill and do 100 crunches every morning, you’ll never get a toned stomach if you eat junk. Maintaining a healthy weight and toned body is a combination of exercising and eating a healthy diet in order to reduce body mass and body fat overall.
Exercising while eating just anything you see is a waste of time as far as your weight is concerned. For a healthy diet, drop the high-fat, high-calorie processed junk in favour of lots of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Myth #2: Some Foods Can Blast Belly Fat
Again, no. Your food doesn’t discriminate by body part. Eating certain foods can rev up your metabolism and aid digestion but that’s about it.
Some foods can help you lose weight – like fibre-rich dark, leafy vegetables and citrus fruits. However, eating lots of these foods will just help you lose weight in general, not just in the stomach region.
Myth #3: Some Guys Are Just Born with Six-Packs and Others Aren’t
This isn’t entirely true. It’s just that some men were blessed with super-high metabolisms and don’t have to work as hard to stay trim. Still, if you want to stay trim, you can. There’s just some work to do.
All humans have abs, it’s just that most people’s six-packs are hidden beneath a layer of fat and as mentioned earlier, the only way to get the chiselled abs your mama gave you is to lower your overall body fat through a combination of healthy diet and exercise.
Myth #4: Sit-Ups are Better Than Crunches
Nope. Sit-ups – where you lift your torso all the way up to your elbows touch your bent knees – are outdated and crunches are much more effective. All you really need to do is to curl your trunk so you’re raising your shoulder blades off the ground. The rectus abdominis muscle has a short range of motion, so all that extra movement in a sit-up is unnecessary. Crunches focus contraction where it’s most maximized.
Myth #5: You Can Target Just Your Lower Abs
Many guys view their lower stomach as more of a problem zone than higher up and think they can zero in on that part. Wrong!
First of all, your lower region likely isn’t any less toned – it’s just covered by more belly fat. Second, you couldn’t work only the lower abs if you tried. This is why most gym instructors just smile when clients say they just want to work their lower abs.
Get this straight: your rectus abdominis is one unit. Still, people often confuse this single muscle for multiple muscles. Certain core exercises involve the hip flexors and other muscles, which makes you feel like you’re doing more for your lower abs, but you’re really not.
Myth #6: Fast and Intense Is the Best Way to Workout
When doing any kind of core exercise, most fitness experts would advise that it’s always better to go at a slow or moderate tempo – never, ever fast. Intensity isn’t necessarily about speed.
This way, you’ll have more control over your movements and rely less on momentum to get from one position to the next. A lot of people tend to lift upward really fast and then lower back down slowly, but the entire exercise should be done at a continuous pace.
When you hold each position for two or three counts, you’ll actually get your muscles to do the work instead of riding on your body’s momentum. Plus you just might not burn out faster.
Finally, don’t just focus on one routine. If you do only crunches day after day, without a break, you’ll injure your rectus abdominis and not get the gains you’re looking for.
It’s better to pick three core exercises that work the torso through different plains of motion, such as planks, seated twists, and oblique side-ups. Do these every day for a week and then switch it up. It’s fine to include crunches in your routine. Just don’t overdo them.
With this said, we hope you’ll take out time to exercise a little during the weekend even with the elections going on – you can work out at home. Above all, stay safe out there and #LiveYourBestlife
Written by: Dr Kazeem Akano
Dr Kazeem Akano manages Client Quality Assurance and Provider Education & Engagement at Avon HMO. He studied medicine at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho and has been working in health insurance for over 5 years. Dr Akano is also responsible for case management where a key focus area is the management of enrollees with chronic conditions.
Culled from Avon Health Care Blog…