Of all the features of a well-toned body, the most admired in our society are strong, flat abdominals. Everybody wants to know how to get "six pack abs" and these elusive muscles are one of the strongest motivators for embarking on a fitness program.
The problem is that what's required for tightening and strengthening your core can be confusing. So before you grab your shoes and head out to the gym, know that the first thing you need to do is evaluate the current condition of your abdominals. You must figure out which of two groups below is descriptive of you:
Either your abdominal muscles are simply flabby and weak
Or, you actually have fat in your abdomen, covered by weak muscles
If you have extra poundage in your abdomen and you begin tightening your muscles, all you will accomplish is muscular fat, making it even more difficult to get the sexy look you crave. Besides, you need the
The Two Kinds Of Fat
Medical researchers have labeled body fat two types. First, deep inside the body is "visceral" fat. Visceral fat is hazardous because it surrounds the organs of the body and forces them to work much harder than necessary. In fact, abdominal visceral fat is the most dangerous fat on the human body. When this unhealthy fat is metabolized by the liver, part of it transforms into so-called "bad" cholesterol, known as an LDL. This cholesterol congregates in arteries to form plaque, a waxy substance that narrows the arteries and leads to heart trouble, strokes and even less obvious diseases like diabetes.
The second type of fat is referred to as "subcutaneous". It isn't as deep inside the body as visceral fat but instead is underneath the layers of the skin. It isn't as dangerous but it is certainly unattractive.
It's easy to see that simply building abdominal muscle without dealing with these two kinds of fat will not give anyone the great-looking abs they are seeking.
Why You Can Weigh The Same – But Look Worse
If you are in your 20s, and in otherwise good shape, you probably don't have large deposits of fat. However, as we age we have to deal with "sarcopenia" a term that refers to progressive muscle loss. You can weigh exactly the same as you did when you were the high school quarterback – but look very different. When we don't pay attention it's easy to lose the muscle that was so plentiful in our earlier years.
However, this doesn't mean that a 40, 50 or even 70-year-old cannot have enviable abdominals. We simply need to take steps to remove the fat while strengthening our abdominal muscles. But how?
Great News: Eat More Often!
For many decades, our predecessors believed in "three squares a day". This regimen worked well when the majority of people were farmers and worked physically hard every day.
Further, their large meal of the day occurred around noon and those meals were definitely huge. But the farmers returned to their fields and worked off the huge number calories they consumed at the meal called 'dinner'. Supper, at the end of the day, was a fairly light meal. Fat people were few in number.
Today we follow the same three meal pattern but it doesn't work nearly as well for us as it did for our grandparents. One reason for that is that most of us lead a much more sedentary lifestyle. Driving our cars to an office and then coming home to throw a meal into the microwave is not an active lifestyle. Few of us are involved in the heavy labor that burned up phenomenal amounts of calories.
Another problem is that we are extremely busy and, for most families, the social time is in the evening around the dinner table. Then we gather round the TV or computer and snacks often make an appearance. This means we go to bed with our stomachs full of food. Ideally, the body uses our sleep time for repair and maintenance. If all our energy is going towards digesting huge meals that repair time is forfeited.
A much wiser way to eat is to consume several small meals rather than three larger ones. Our digestive system will not be overwhelmed and our metabolism will remain revved up at all times. In this way we will burn off the food that we eat.
And, it's obvious that eating meals earlier in the day is wiser than stuffing ourselves late in the evening.
Abdominal Disaster 101
The kind of food we eat will obviously play a powerful role in eliminating the fat on our abdominals. There are certain foods that are not good for anyone like refined pastries, lots of sugar and foods loaded with preservatives.
Beyond that, though, much of diet is individualized. Many authors write about how to become "a fat burning furnace" with a one-size-fits-all menu but biology has a vote in how efficient we are at using stored fat for energy.
The foods most valued for burning fat are proteins. Yet, many people do not feel well when they eat large amounts of the animal products which are the main source of proteins in our culture. They may feel much better when getting their proteins from vegetables. For instance, pound for pound, spinach has more protein than eggs, milk or meat. Yet many athletes swear by meat, milk and eggs and eat copious amounts of these foods.
Another example of a food controversy is grains. There seems to be little doubt that refined grains are not good for anyone but many people thrive with large amounts of whole grains in their diet. Others feel bloated and gassy with grains.
Becoming A Food Sherlock
So what's the answer? The only way to truly know what's best for you is through observation. The place to begin is with a food journal or other way of recording what you eat. After your meal, observe how you feel one hour after eating. Do you feel light and energized? If so, then what you ate worked well for you. If not, make some changes. In other words, become a food detective to find your optimal diet while keeping in mind that there are certain to be changes in your patterns. The citrus smoothie you adored in July may cause gastric distress in January.
ALL Exercise Helps To Flatten Your Abs (Not Just Ab Exercise)
Even though exercise will not directly remove any fat in your abdominal area, there is still value in working out. Weight lifting, for example, builds muscle and muscle burns more calories than fat. Cardiovascular exercise burns many calories, too. And the good news about both of these activities is that the extra calorie burning continues throughout the day – the benefits don't end with your exercise session. And besides, your spine is supported with strong abdominals and being erect keeps your area middle area looking flatter.
Inexpensive And Simple Fat Loss
One extremely potent, inexpensive and simple way to boost your metabolism naturally is to drink plenty of water. The liver is the main organ in the body that converts stored fat to energy but the liver also has to protect the kidneys. Kidneys need water – lots of water – and if they don't get enough, the liver has to do part of the kidney's job. This extra work diverts the liver's energy and attention from its fat burning duties. It's worth mentioning that over time this liquid deprivation will damage both the kidneys and liver but in the short term this means that your body can more easily store fat.
It's worth noting that when you first begin drinking adequate water, you are almost certain to start excreting large amounts of stored water. When the body feels certain it will receive enough water on a regular basis, it will let go of the supplies it has been storing for emergencies. Often, you will feel that you have lost weight and you will indeed look better because puffiness will have decreased or even vanished from your body.
This phenomenon has led many authors to conclude that drinking caffeine is a good idea because caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it removes water from the body. Actually, this is a terrible idea! For one thing, caffeine increases the heart rate which means your heart will have to work harder during your exercise sessions.
And, caffeine will cause the increased water that you're drinking to race right through your body so that less can be used for hydration.
The Best 6 Pack Abs Teacher
Mike Geary, the author of The Truth About 6 Pack Abs isn't just some guy who happens to look great. He's got impressive credentials and he’s a very well-known nutritionist with considerable accolades. He writes regularly for Muscle and Fitness, as well as Oxygen Magazine. He’s an actual columnist, rather than a snake-oil shyster buying ad-space. If you are interested in learning from the best you should first check out his testimonials and then the amazing bonuses he offers with his training.
So, if spectacular abdominals are one of your goals, remember that you cannot directly exercise away that fat beneath your skin. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't be exercising your abdominals. It just means that incorporating some of the suggestions above into your daily habits and life will help that stomach area flatten more rapidly than you might have ever believed. And you will never again have to ask how to get six pack abs.
Check out our Body Building & Fitness