Let’s be honest: who doesn’t want a six-pack? We are bombarded with magazine photos of fitness women showing off their flat tummies and social media pics of firefighting men with their washboard abs. We want them and we want them bad. So, we head to the gym and start doing countless crunches and daily planks. Six days later we pull our shirt up, look in the mirror and wonder, where the heck the abs are. Sound familiar? Here’s the thing: it is not that simple.
There are so many factors that affect your starting point for your abdominal muscles and your likelihood of seeing a six-pack in your lifetime. Some of these include:
1. Genes. Where does the weight sit for most of the people in your family? All the females in my immediate family have tiny waists and pack the pounds on our butts and thighs.
2. Babies. How many you have had? How have pregnancies have been for you? Did you have a C-section? Did you get pelvic floor treatment post birth? Important questions to ask yourself.
3. Your diet and fitness history. Were you previously overweight? Were you active in your pregnancy? How has your diet been over the past twenty some years? Be honest with where you have been to help you determine where you are going.
The answers to the above questions will have great influence on your core goals. Be honest with yourself as to your body, all that it’s done and all that it’s been through. I also urge you to rethink the six pack and instead focus on having a functional and strong core. Six pack abs may be visibly cool but sometimes that’s all they are good for. Everyone should have the goal of having their pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen work in harmony to create life-long balance, stability and functional safe everyday movements.
So, are you still waiting for me to get to the point? What can you do NOW to focus on in your pursuit for a STRONGER core? In my experience (and pursuit) these are the three areas that have the greatest influence on your six pack outcomes:
1. A DIET rich in real foods, low in processed items and high in vegetables. Tons of clean water. A focus on foods that promote gut health and a diet that matches YOUR BODY needs, not one that mimics the latest fad or Netflix documentary.
2. Full body high intensity workouts. I am a huge fan of diverse, full-body movements vs isolating body parts. In my experience there is way more bang for buck here. The burpee, the push-up, the ring row, the squat…. all these movements use and require a stable mid-section.
3. Deep core stabilization. The Core is composed of as many as 35 different muscle groups connecting into the pelvis from the spine and hip area. Some of those deep muscles of yours may not have been properly worked in years. I highly encourage people to seek out professional help with deep core assessment and strengthen.
Maintaining a strong core is essential to your health. And achieving a tight, toned midsection requires a lot more work than simply doing crunches and planks every day. Be realistic with your past and current body, your goals, and your programming ensuring you cover ALL the components required to get stronger abs.
Wondering what the BEST core movements are to get your most ab bang for buck? Watch my most recent Facebook Live on the Move Eat Play Facebook group to find out! And while your there you may as well join our 7-day core challenge to get in on all the six-pack action!