Those chiselled abs you are lusting after? They may not be so sexy after all.
First off, let me (Karen) start by clearing up a very common misconception about how we lose body fat through spot reduction.
Spot reduction refers to the (false) belief that body fat can be targeted for reduction from a specific area of the body.
For example, we are led to believe:
If you have stubborn belly fat then you need to do more sit-ups.
If you have stubborn upper arm fat then you need to do more tricep extensions.
If you have stubborn leg fat then you need to do more step ups.
However, this is simply not true.
Sure, muscle building is site specific. You can indeed build muscle in specific areas by targeting specific muscles using the right weights and rep scheme.
If you want to build shapely glutes, then you incorporate more squats and glute bridges into your workout.
If you want a wider back, then you incorporate more pull ups and rowing exercises into your workout.
But if you want to reveal a set of six-pack abs?
Then the last thing you need is to incorporate more crunches and bicycles into your workout.
Yes, any exercise or physical activity will help accelerate the fat loss process, but the energy deficit it creates, which is the utmost necessary ingredient, is usually less than expected.
In other words, endless reps of a certain exercise in a certain area will not help to target your stubborn fat.
Where on your body you will lose fat from first depends on your sex and your genetic profile. Neither of which we can change.
THE DRAW BACK OF THE SIX-PACK
We all inherently have six-pack abs. They are just hidden underneath a layer of subcutaneous fat.
Just be aware of the high price you may have to pay to reveal them.
A healthy level of body fat is somewhere between 11-22% for men and between 22-33% for women.
To reveal “six-pack” abs, body fat usually needs to be sub 10% for men and sub 20% for women.
In other words, having “six-pack” abs is not synonymous with health, and it certainly does not define it.
In some cases, it takes very drastic and extreme measures to reach low enough levels of body fat before abs are visible, let alone chiselled.
Even at super low levels, some people will never reveal a set of abs, simply due to their body being built differently.
Consistently adhering to an extremely strict diet and exercise routine is not normal and requires intense focus, dedication, and plenty of sacrifices.
It means skipping nights out to spend more time at the gym.
It means foregoing the weekend takeaway to plan and prep all your meals for the week ahead.
It means possibly not having a sex life as libido diminishes due to malnourishment.
You have to ask yourself, is the trade-off worth it?
Are you willing to risk feeling like crap on the inside just so you can look super lean on the outside?
If the answer is yes, then grand, that's your choice after all to make. Just be aware of the enduring and exhausting process that lies ahead.
See you in the gym,