The reasons behind your unsuccessful attempts at building a decent six-pack might be not what you expect them to be. Since the six pack seems to be quite elusive for many people, they tend to rely on popular myths as means of consolation. The good news – you’re not the only one with seemingly failed efforts. The bad news – you have to stop believing in nonsense if you really want to move forward.
To get enviable abs, you’ll need to sweat long and hard in the gym with the right types of exercises. And before you start with that, you’ll need a healthy mindset that can get you to the finish line.
So first of all, if you’re serious about building a killer six pack, do yourself a favor and shake off these toxic myths that circulate in the fitness community, so you can make some room for real progress:
1. You must eliminate all carbs
Instead of excluding carbs from your diet altogether, replace the biggest part of the simple carbs you consume with more complex ones such as whole grains, legumes, beans, and certain vegetables and fruits, as they can provide your body with a steady flow of energy lasting all through your workouts. And we assume you already know that if you want to lose fat, you shouldn’t eat more than you can burn and that applies to all types of food. Every food comes with a caloric value, so adjust portions according to your needs and goals.
2. Whatever, genetics are everything
It’s the body fat percentage that prevents your abs from showing up, not poor genetics. Of course that genetics determine where your body stores fat, as well the actual shape of your abs, but you can still lose the excess fat and make those muscles visible. Simply put, there is no such thing as a person who’s genetically predestined to lack the ability of building his ab muscles. We all have them and we all have to lose fat and train hard to make them shine through – some more than others, but that’s it. No one was born with a sculpted six pack, okay?
3. Have you heard of spot reduction?
In case you haven’t, spot reduction is the term for attempting to burn excess fat from a specific area of the body simply by performing exercises that target that area, like doing crunches in order to lose belly fat – this is not going to happen, guys. Fat loss is not site-specific (unlike muscle building), which means that when you gain/lose weight, it will be spread/lost all throughout your body, even though some areas will come first and some last, depending on genetics. So performing an endless number of exercises that target a specific region of the body won’t magically lead to an incredible fat loss in that certain region, but it will most certainly influence the growth of the muscles underneath the fat reserves!
4. You can’t get a six pack without a fat burner
Yes, fat burners can help you reduce the amount of body fat, but they’re not specially designed to target abdominal fat so you don’t have to spend a ton of money on fat burners in order to get a flat stomach. Fat burners should serve as an addition to a proper diet and regular training.
5. Training abs every day is the key
Sure thing, training abs every day is the key to muscle loss in the abdominal area, not a solid six pack. Just like every other muscle, abs need to rest and recover from the strenuous workouts, and overtraining them will only lead to the opposite results of those you want to achieve. Remember, real growth doesn’t happen in the gym – it comes within the periods of rest.
6. No, wait, training with machines is the key
Not really and not more than regular abs exercises. We’re not saying you should avoid them, but don’t expect magic to happen just because you’re training with a certain machine. What you really need is to activate a bigger area of muscles which support the abs. Try focusing on your core and lower back for a while instead of constantly hitting upper and lower abs.
7. Cardio, cardio and more cardio
Studies have shown that high intensity interval training enhances fat loss way more than any amount of low intensity & steady state cardio. HIIT exercises are short and simple and can boost the metabolism like nothing else, making your body much more efficient at using fat as a fuel – even after you stop working out, it will continue burning calories.
8. Ok, this is impossible – there must be a shortcut
When you stop to look at the shiny pictures in fitness magazines, it’s easy to think that great abs are the effortless gain of some freaks blessed by nature or some geniuses who’ve discovered a secret shortcut that can immensely speed things up. They look so polished, perfect and untrue – there must be something more to it than countless hours spent in the gym, right?
Wrong. Although shedding fat and building muscle mass do come a bit easier for some men and women with body types that respond to training optimally, they still involve a great amount of hard work and dedication and cannot be replaced with miraculous foods and shortcut exercises. Never. Ever.
Instead of thinking how others are luckier than you, start planning some clean meals. Cut down on processed foods, alcohol and late night meals, and add more quality protein, complex carbs and healthy fats into your diet. Then trim your workout regime to include more intense exercises that can efficiently activate body fat reserves.
Every guy or girl who wants to see their abdominal area developing into an iron plate should first get mentally prepared for a long journey that requires as much willpower as regular trainings and quality food. Stop dreaming about your ideal body and start modeling it instead. And never give up – you’re definitely not the single person on earth born without any abs to work on.
Award-winning abs are a work of art, so be patient and don’t be too hard on yourself. After all, it takes some time to develop the skills required for becoming a real artist, right?
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