It’s that time again. The carbs are lowered, the cardio upped, the skinny jeans rotated and the tank tops on prominent display. Summer is here and it’s time to showcase your annual excursions in the gym. Only one problem persists: You have nary an ab to display. Your gut resembles the smoothness of a baby’s bottom. There’s more separation in a newly married couple than in your midriff. You’d need three promotions to appear “soft.” In a word, skin season is here and you’re plumply prepared, again.
What went wrong exactly? January 1, 2010, rolled in your new year’s resolutions, (like every other year), to physique commitment and this time was surely a union you fully intended to keep. You cut back the endless empty calories derived from wine, made that weekly pilgrimage up the canyon despite nightly displays of chaffing, jettisoned those exotic energy drinks, skipped meals altogether; in short, made sacrifice after sacrifice. But just what gives exactly? Where are my abs?
Let’s get to the bottom of this seemingly confusing musculature once and for all and bring prominence to an otherwise cushioned body part. And we can start with a simple word switcheroo: "Once again it’s on" is to be replaced with "Once again it’s off!"
Unique to other muscles of the body, the abdominals, (Rectus Abdominus), are an important postural component and responsible for varying rotations at the trunk. They are in use for virtually any exercise or activity, and in addition to the Erector Spinae, (lower back), comprise what is commonly referred to as, "the core". This is the true center of our physical self.
Unlike other muscle groups, the abs are trained for their compactness, never in hopes of enlarging the tissue, but rather, "refinement". The truth about abs are one could conceivably train them all day until blue in the face and an increase in sharpness would nary occur. For the abs to be visible, the fat must be melted away from the area to showcase truly outstanding development. It is for this reason that I, as your Trainer, shy away from a surplus of abdominal training, (as my collective knows), as this area is hit completely from a wide variety of other exercises, whereby the abs are called into play as ancillary helpers and thusly worked sufficiently. Furthermore, know that when you hear of those who perform ridiculous 1000 repetitions of crunches, this results mostly in neck or erector atrophy rather than ab usage. I assure you to complete even 100 correct reps utilizing the abs alone is very difficult to do.
The one exception to this rule is an athlete, say a baseball player or professional wrestler, for who effective direct ab training should be performed regularly, resulting in greater performance, not sharpness of the muscle. Know too that there exists no such upper or lower abs as commonly cited, but rather one long muscle running vertically down the human torso.
Still not sold? Put down the ab contractor now doubling as a coat hanger for a moment and read on non-believers.
My victory at the "1995 Teen Nationals", whereby I showed the judges ripped abdominals complete with visible obliques and serrated rows of abdominals was derived not from crunches and other such nonsense, but rather a committed and consistent diligent application of cardio, diet and weight training to showcase the very best in ab development. And folks, trophies and magazine coverage do not lie!
And here’s the thing: Each and every one of us already possess the ab development we seek. They lay just beneath whatever layer of flesh one may be holding at the moment. Yes, from the cradle to the grave, our abs are a given.
Want abs that will turn heads? Follow these guidelines:
1. Adhere to a low-glycemic, low-sugar lifestyle. This means curtailing hidden sugars you may or may not be aware of including breads, pastas, fruit, alcohol and a myriad of other hidden ab killers which do more to obscure muscular definition and cover-up an otherwise prominent midsection.
2. Use cardio to melt fat away, (increase your metabolism), not to launch yourself into outer space or done so intensely as to induce hunger and thusly immense sugar cravings.
3. Use weight training to target all the muscles of the midsection as ancillary agents while internally strengthening the abdominals.
4. Save your direct ab work after your weight training when they are warm, worked and can beneVit from a tad direct work rather than overwork yourself.
5. Taper your carbs as the day progresses so as to prevent late-night carb storage around your midsection.
6. Time is on your side. You did not put on fat in one day so give proper time as to melt the adipose away. Steer clear of the scale, which is, but a number and not a true indicator of body fat percentages. If a numbers addict you are, use a more accurate register of body fat composition in either the calipers or the ultimate in accuracy, the costly and time consuming Hydrostatic weighing. I have always used the mirror to tell me what’s really happening.
7. Have the majority of your carbs in the form of long-term, slow breakdown choices such as oatmeal, beans, yams, brown rice or quinoa, to name but a few.
8. Practice abdominal control or, "a vacuum", as otherwise known. Be conscious of your posture and the prominent usage of your ab muscles in your every day life. Hey, even during throwing up the abs play a major role.
9. When in doubt, schtoop. That’s right, I said it! During intercourse, the abdominals are indeed being handedly worked.
10. Avoid quick Vix procedures such a liposuction, for although they will remove stuffed fat cells, continue eating poorly and you may Vind new fat deposits in less Vlattering areas. Good old-fashioned hard work, intelligent nutrition and time will finally chisel your midsection.
Enjoy your (newfound) summer and Happy Memorial Day.
Newbie’s receive a free training session or nutritional consultation for the month of June. Get your shred on – for real this time!
Yours in Fitness,