4 Ab Lies You Need to Stop Believing Now
There’s nothing more annoying than someone who can put away food like a garbage disposal, train maybe once or twice a week, and still sport a killer six-pack. But the simple fact that those people exist — and, thanks to genetics, they do — makes it challenging to offer any universal, ironclad rules for developing abs of steel.
A variety of factors play a role in weight loss (and weight gain), from genetics to gender, from age to occupation. While a guaranteed, step-by-step blueprint to washboard abs might not exist, there’s one thing that certainly WON’T help anyone make progress: giving in to myths and BS.
Truth be told, there are more lies floating around about what it takes to get abs than you can shake a stick at. Even if you’re relatively advanced in your training, distinguishing fact from fiction isn’t always a straightforward endeavor. Here are my top 4 favorite — and by “favorite,” I mean laughably ridiculous — ab-building fallacies.
1. “Carbs Destroy Your Abs.”
Carbs are one of the three macronutrients that your body needs to function and an essential source of fuel. It’s certainly the case that fast-digesting carbs — think white bread, chips, candy, and soda — can produce insulin spikes that hinder fat loss. But carbs in general aren’t going to hurt your efforts to build rock solid abs. In fact, even simple carbs can be helpful post-workout to promote faster recovery.
Ultimately, you shouldn’t be avoiding carbs like the devil. Rather, get your carbs from staples such as veggies, legumes, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oats, beans, and fruits. At the same time, steer clear of items that contain high fructose corn syrup and crazy ingredients whose names you can’t pronounce.
2. “I Can Crunch My Way to a 6-Pack.”
So many people fall into the trap of thinking that more crunches, situps, hanging leg extensions, obliques, etc. will get them the firm, toned midsection they’ve always wanted. In reality, the way you’re going to see your abs popping is not through extensive amounts of ab exercises but rather by shedding excess body fat.
Toward that end, a clean, balanced diet is vital. You need to be expending more calories than you consume — simple math. Ab exercises will of course help strengthen and develop your abdominal muscles, thereby giving you a tight core. All the crunches in the world, however, won’t eliminate the stubborn layer of body fat that covers your abs.
3. “I Need to Train Abs Daily to See Results.”
Can you train abs every day? Well, sure. Do you need to if you want a six-pack? Absolutely not. Abs are a muscle just like any other. You wouldn’t wail on your chest, legs, biceps, etc. day after day with no respite if you wanted them to grow. Treat your abs with the same respect and give them a rest.
4. “I Just Need a Supp / Diet Plan / Workout Routine to Target My Lower Belly Fat.”
Remember how I said having abs means torching that stubborn layer of fat obscuring them? The bad news is there isn’t anything you can do to target fat loss around the midsection. Spot reduction is NOT actually a thing, no matter how many infomercials and bogus online articles tell you otherwise. Instead, you need to slowly but steadily reduce your overall body fat percentage through a clean diet, training, and optimized cardio.
Keep in mind also that stress plays a role when it comes to your weight loss efforts. When the body is under stress, your cortisol levels rise which can cause the body to hang onto and store excess fat. Getting enough sleep is also key, since studies have found that people who stay up into the wee hours tend to gorge on sugary, fatty junk foods. Unless you’re blessed with godlike genetics, that’s a surefire recipe for squishy abs.