Here at Well Built Style we have a very no nonsense approach to health and fitness. In an industry that is overflowing with charlatans and snake oil salesmen looking to sell you latest and greatest pill or potion, we feel it is our duty to set the record straight whenever we can and provide men with the highest quality advice on health and fitness. That’s why you will always see us encourage simplicity over complexity, and gut busting hard work above everything else.
Which conveniently brings me to the topic of discussion for this article: Six pack abs.
It is one of the most highly sought after goals by men in gyms around the world. Everybody wants that washboard look and I don’t blame them. It’s no wonder that late night infomercials are always pushing a variety of different pills and gadgets that are designed to help you achieve that six pack look. In fact, it’s a multi-million dollar a year industry!
The problem I have with these overpriced pills and doodads is that they don’t work any better than what you could do for free. Unfortunately, the marketers of these products capitalize on the ignorance and desperation of the masses. The reality is that a set of six pack abs can be achieved by any man and it doesn’t have to cost him a single penny!
By understanding that abs are made in the kitchen!
For those of you who are still confused, allow me to explain.
In order to achieve a set of six pack abs, you will need to make sure that your diet is in order. That means you will need to pay particular attention to your energy balance and make sure that you are eating less calories than you are burning. This will strip off that extra layer (or three) of fat surrounding your belly, leaving behind a ripped midsection. That’s literally all it takes to achieve a set of six pack abs – just eat less.
At this point I’m sure you are wondering, “What about crunches, sit ups and leg raises? “What about working the obliques and the transverse abdominis?”
A complete waste of time!
For those of you who don’t already know, it’s a myth that you can spot reduce by doing crunches or sit ups. Furthermore, none of these exercises are even needed to build up the abdominal wall. If you are training like how you should be (i.e. incorporating heavy compound lifts) then direct abdominal work is superfluous. That’s because compound movements like deadlifts, squats, and overhead presses do a great job of working the abdominals isometrically. In other words, your abdominals are constantly contracting while you try to balance and complete the lift. This builds up your abdominal wall over time and then it’s just a matter of reducing your body fat levels enough so that you can see all of your hard work!
What about cardio?
Considering that the name of the game is to reduce body fat, a lot of people think that you will need to do a lot of cardio in order get a six pack. I can assure you that cardio is not necessary either. In order to reduce body fat you need to create a caloric deficit. This can be done FAR easier by restricting your food intake than by incorporating extra cardiovascular exercise. For those of you who remain doubtful, I ask you the following question:
What seems easier to you, performing some type of cardiovascular exercise at a pace of about 10 calories per minute for 25 minutes (250 calories total) or not eating two tablespoons of olive oil (250 calories total)?
From personal experience, I can assure you that option number 2 is much easier.
That’s not to say that cardiovascular exercise is not valuable. It’s just that I would not rely on it specifically for fat loss purposes. Your best bet will be to pay more attention to what you are putting into your mouth.
Now that summer has arrived many of you will be motivated once again to achieve that ever elusive set of six pack abs. Just remember that the most important factor will be your diet and not some magic pill or exercise. I know that with the beer flowing and the barbeques burning many of you will dread having to restrict calories during the summer season. But look at it this way, all of that money you save from eating less can be used to upgrade your wardrobe! After all, life is always about finding the silver lining.