5 Reasons you’ve STILL not got a Six Pack
By Coach Fahad Maniar
Okay, you’ve probably seen those infomercials on the TV, you know the ones right? the latest gizmo that is going to get you those sexy, rock solid, washboard abs for you with the minimum amount of effort – and you may even have purchased one or two in the past. (Interesting to know though that the disclaimers on the advert all talk about how important diet is)
Well, if like me, you’ve done 100-200 situps every night (oh my days of being a rookie to fitness, I wish I knew about personal trainers back then!)
in the vain hope that you’d soon see six pack abs, read on because I am going to break down the 5 biggest reasons you’re not seeing the abs despite the effort you may be putting in.
- You’re training your abs wrong! – Okay so you’re doing 2000 sit-ups a day and your tummy feels sore after but you just can’t see the results? Let’s get one thing straight, working muscles till they are sore doesn’t mean they will grow! Abs are like any other muscles. You couldn’t do 100’s of curls every day for your arms and expect your biceps to grow and as such, your abs need to be trained just like any other muscle. 1-2 times a week with the right set/rep range and tempo.
- Your diet is letting you down – There’s an old saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen and not in the gym” and this is so true. The fact of the matter is everyone has abs. The visible six pack muscles you see are just your rectus abdominis muscle (the lines are connective tissue) The trouble isn’t the fact that you don’t have abs, it’s more likely to do with having a layer of subcutaneous fat between the muscle and the skin. The right kind of diet focussing on good fats, proteins and plenty of veggies will help as will calorie control.
- You’re not training intensely enough – The stomach is notorious for being a location where stubborn fat resides. Stubborn fat is that way because of receptors within the fat cells that make it harder to burn. High-intensity training, especially high-intensity interval training has been proven at being more effective at shifting the fat with high levels of stubborn fat receptors.
- You’re stressed out – Chronic stress causes the body to release a hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol is used to deal with stress by providing the body with quick energy. It is needed but has a few side effects including attacking muscle tissue but according to research conducted by Epel, E.S., B. McEwen, T. Seeman, et al, Cortisol has an effect whereby it stimulates the growth of fat cells, particularly in the stomach and intestinal areas. And it’s not just stress caused by day to day activity but eating foods that don’t agree with your immune system can cause just as much stress, eating poor quality foods, foods that you’re intolerant to or those that cause insulin spikes such as processed and sugary foods can all increase stress at a gut level.
- Your gut health is poor – Following on from point 4. If you’ve got poor gut health because you’re not eating enough nutrient rich foods (in particular, green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables and foods high in probiotic qualities such as Kefir, Kimchee etc) then your good gut bacteria diminishes. This can cause a multitude of problems all the way to depression and skin rashes but it can also have a detrimental effect on fat loss especially around the tummy as poor gut health is often indicated by excess bloating in the stomach area. By making sure you’re eating the right kind of foods and staying away from foods that can potentially cause gut irritation (processed foods, sugars including fruit sugars in excess, gluten, dairy etc), you can help reduce bloating, increase gut health and increase overall well being.