Six Pack Secrets

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Washboards abs are so desirable that they may as well be credited as the stars of most Hollister/Abercrombie/Aeropostale advertisements. If you’ve always yearned for the six pack that demands attention but can never seem to get the results; here’s what you may be missing and some other tips to get you there.

The Good News

Everyone has abdominals and likely, and they probably already look pretty good! If you can stand up straight, that’s a product of this muscle group.

The Bad News

You probably read that last statement and laughed at me because you are realistic and know what you see in the mirror. Well there’s a saying in the fitness community, “six packs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.” The fact is, that’s not far from the truth. I know MANY people that can crank out sit-ups all day long but have never seen a bit of definition in their abdomen. We all know that your stomach is the first place that excess fat is stored and as such, if you really want to expose those cuts you have to burn off those fat deposits.

What’s this mean? You have to at minimal create a caloric deficit (consume fewer calories than you burn in a day). There’s no two ways around this, you’ll need to find some good cardio, adjust your diet, and track your calories religiously. Want to know more about adjusting your diet? I wrote about it recently here.

Size Them Up

Alright…so diet is the most important factor to getting that ripped look. You’ve trimmed down and are seeing the muscles at work, but now you’d like them to be bigger and more defined. Beyond the aesthetics, there are several real-world benefits to having a strong core; better posture, reduced fatigue in repetitive tasks, injury prevention (especially back injuries), and the ability to lift heavier.

Here’s the catch, somewhere along the fitness timeline there was apparently a seminar that filled everyone’s mind with the idea that core work should be low-weight high-rep. I don’t know where this philosophy came from but you can look around any gym and see it in the flesh. At some point, it becomes a game of diminishing returns. Look, if you want any other muscle group in your body to get bigger, you would add weight rather than doing 100’s of reps. The midsection is no different! I’m not saying that low-weight high-rep exercises have no value; in fact, it’s generally agreed that those exercises are great for building endurance and stamina. In other words, it has tangible benefits, and should also be incorporated into your routines to supplement the development of the abs.

The other tidbit of information passed around at this theoretical seminar was that your abs recover quickly and can be worked everyday. Okay, they do “recover” quickly, that much is true. The abdomen tears through lactic acid efficiently so the soreness goes away faster compared to most other muscle groups. They do not, however, repair any faster than the rest of your body; you should be taking a day’s rest after a strenuous routine to allow those microscopic tears in your muscles fibers to heal, rebuild, and grow.

One Last Thing

I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night feeling as if I misled you all. It’s important to remember that a ripped body doesn’t necessarily equate to strength. To find the right balance for you always remember:

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