It’s summer, the beach is the place for you, and of course, you’re looking forward to getting your six-pack. You’re working out at the gym, making what seem to be the right food choices, and yet, your abs still refuse to show.
While you can head online to discover the best ball reels (Opens in a new tab) Or a pencil in 1,000 lunchtime crunches, so why not take a moment to review the key steps toward achieving true tummy satisfaction?
We asked Claire Bailey, a registered dietitian with a background in biological sciences, for some advice.
Claire is a highly qualified and award-winning Registered Dietitian with a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford, an MSc in Medical Sciences in Human Nutrition from the University of Sheffield, and 20 years of experience in the food industry and civil service.
What is a six pack?
Six-pack is the common term given to the rectus abdominis muscles. While we all have this muscle, seeing it requires us to have a low enough percentage of body fat for it to become visible. This is an important point to keep in mind because although we know that physical exercise contributes to overall health, lower body fat does not necessarily mean optimal health.
As Basile says, “It is important to highlight that the six packs are visible Not A sign of health.” While well-defined abs is often considered the holy grail of peak physical conditioning, Basile, who has experience in sports nutrition, warns that “particularly in women, a visible six-pack could mean the opposite.” . Body fat levels may be so low that it affects the female menstrual cycle and some women may miss their period in their quest for a six-pack. This is a clear sign that health is negatively affected for the sake of aesthetics.”
How do you get six packs?
If you’re committed to the path forward, the process is essentially two-pronged: Your abdominal muscles will need to be trained to make them bigger and stronger, which increases their visibility. Body fat should also be reduced to lower levels.
There are a number of ways to deal with low body fat, but it boils down to achieving a calorie deficit (Opens in a new tab) (You consume fewer calories than your body needs.) “People in the sports world typically consume fewer calories than they need to maintain their weight,” says Basile, “combined with a high-protein diet, potentially up to 2g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.” Combined with increased physical activity, this causes the body to lose fat while maintaining lean tissue.
It is a difficult balancing act and should be approached with caution. “Health should be considered at all times,” Basile says. “A varied and balanced diet should be followed to ensure that no nutritional deficiencies occur as a result of this approach,” she says.
Given the extreme measures required to obtain a six-pack, it is first worth taking the time to consider whether this is the right approach for you. “A diet that lowers body fat can be very strict, especially one that aims to drastically reduce body fat,” says Basile. “Not only is this dangerous to physical health, but it is also socially isolated and uninspiring and can also affect people’s health and well-being. Mental health and negative body image.”
Abdominal muscle training
Some of the best exercises for developing core strength and six-pack abs aren’t necessarily what come to mind. “Doing a set of abs and squats will definitely strain only the rectus abdominis,” says Ryan MacLean, a personal trainer and fitness coach who specializes in strength and conditioning. “To develop the muscles to their fullest potential, I recommend working on large compound lifts, such as deadlifts, back squats, overhead presses, sled push-ups, pull-ups, cleans, and snatches.
“All of these compound exercises are full-body movements that require your heart to be involved to perform them correctly. Most of my clients are shocked to say they don’t need to do 5-10 minutes of abs at the end because they have already lifted enough and engaged their core muscles with lifts The big vehicle.
How often should you train for optimal effects? Four times a week, according to MacLean, is the perfect balance between effort and recovery.
What are the best exercises to not pack?
The best exercises for six packs are also beneficial for all of us in improving our core strength, an essential component of any fitness journey. For more tips, read our article on “How to get a stronger core (Opens in a new tab)“.
Your core muscles (Opens in a new tab) It serves as the foundation for your body, providing movement, strength, and balance while also supporting good posture. Planks, mountain climbers, crunches, reverse crunches, Russian twists, deadlifts, and leg raises are all powerful ways to develop your core, although they’re not as effective as larger compound exercises that work a lot of muscles and offer similar benefits to the muscles. essence.
Consider other options: “Pilates classes are ideal because they target not only the rectus abdominis muscles, but the surrounding abdominal and gluteal muscles, which all form part of the core. It’s not as simple as just doing some abdominal exercises,” Basile says.
As with any part of the body, over-focusing on those “mirror muscles” will create weaknesses elsewhere, which means a balanced approach is key. “Speak with a qualified expert for advice on a balanced abdominal program,” says Basile.
How long will it take to get six packs?
When it comes to getting rid of body fat, it is recommended that you go slowly. Not only is losing weight at a slow pace safer, it’s also a more sustainable approach and studies – like this one published in the International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism (Opens in a new tab) – Suggested that it is the most effective way to retain lean tissue that will build your abdominal muscles.
As for when you can expect to see your abs for the first time on the show, the answer depends on a number of factors, including your body composition, training regimen, and nutrition. “Getting a six-pack will take as much as is needed to lose body fat healthily around the abdominal area, and that will depend on how much body fat you start with,” says Basile.
Basile says the path to getting abs is far more important than the destination, noting that you should never “aim to lose more than one kilogram per week.” She also stresses the importance of thinking carefully about the broader implications other than earning a six-pack: “Ask yourself if the six-pack is what you really want,” she says.
Given that regular food and weight monitoring is important to successful weight loss, it’s easy to see how a six-pack can become an annoying goal for other parts of your life.
“Is it worth sacrificing your physical and mental health for an aesthetic that most people will never see?” Basile asks. The answer is probably the best starting point when you’re considering embarking on a search for a six-pack.