There’s a common theme in most people looking for a new gym: “I want flat abs.” Upon further questioning (a wholehearted attempt at uncovering other goals), it’s discovered the prospective member has no desire to weight train, sweat during moderate to hard cardio, or examine their own dietary habits. Abs only, please.
Great. What other tricks would you like me to pull out of my hat?
You see, core strength and “having abs” is not the same thing. Blasphemy!
Amateur anatomy course: Abdominal muscle is composed of three flat sheets of muscle: external oblique, internal oblique, and transverse abdominis, separated on each side of the mid-line by the rectus abdominis. Come on, Kel; what does all that mean? It means your “abs” are a muscle like all the others that comprise your body. Unfortunately, it means your muscles are also subject to many other factors than the idea of ‘if you build it, they will come’! Before you get completely discouraged, stay with me.
Ab achievement, like other muscle achievement, involves targeted training, general fitness/regulation of body composition, and genetics out of your control. So sorry! Blame your parents. Genetics’ role influences fat distribution, as well as overall body composition.
Now the good news! Many people are able to overcome their genetic limitations! Yeah, right, how do I do that? It involves a very strict program most people will not adhere to…and even if they do…it may not be suitable for long term. I’m not saying it’s impossible. I’m saying it takes drive, determination, willpower, and a whole lot of character.
So how does this factor into fitness, you ask? Specifically, at Anytime Fitness, we use advanced curriculum from a specialized program geared toward results. In conjunction with the thought ‘abs are built in the kitchen’, you are responsible for building the body you want. I’m no drill sergeant – looking over your shoulder, shoving carrots in your mouth, and demanding you RUN FASTER! Only you can make some of the changes necessary to tighten the midsection area, increase your overall muscle mass, and make thoughtful decisions when it comes to food and nutrients.
Is it wrong to want ripped abs? Absolutely not! Is it attainable! Absolutely yes! I just ask you not neglect your overall health and wellness in place of one very strong body part. Those abs won’t prevent high cholesterol if you are not eating well. Abs won’t entirely lift the grocery bags if you’re not focused on functional fitness. Ab muscles will always be there – perhaps behind the scenes and that’s ok, too.
I ask you –
What do you consider your “problem area”?
What are you doing to change it?
Has genetics instilled a unique trait in you?!