HIGHETT PILATES and FITNESS CENTRE

So You Want Flat Abs?

Studio Pilates in Highett - Pilates Plus

We’ve all seen those photos. You know the ones. Lean and fit people flashing their flat washboard “six pack” all over social media telling you that if you do what they did, you too could have flat abs.

If you google “how to get flat abs” over 8 million sites pop up! And on YouTube over 1 million videos.

What’s the appeal of flat abs? Why do we want them?

Having a lean, fit and healthy body not only makes us full of vitality and energy, but it makes us feel confident in our appearance and we feel strong within ourselves, and flat abs are a part of that.

As a fitness and pilates professional, I’m more concerned with the implications for a persons health and wellbeing, rather than the end goal of having photo perfect abs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for training the body to look great (we all want to look great), but if it’s not healthy, or of you have chronic or acute pain, or if your body isn’t functional then what’s the point.

There are still a lot of misconceptions around “flat abs”, so let’s get the record straight and get you on track to get awesome abs.

Not everybody’s body is genetically wired for a lean “six pack” torso.

We are all born with our very own unique dispersion of fat cells. Some people genetically have more fat cells in their legs than in their torso, or in their butt. Some people are born with very few fat cells on their torso and are the people who are most able to get that lean “six pack” look.

Does this mean that you can never have a “six pack”? No! But if you are not genetically inclined to one, you will have to work twice as hard to get there.

Let’s equate it to a person who was genetically wired to be a sprinter, attempting to run a marathon competing against a person who is genetically built to run a marathon. They could do it, but it would be a lot more work and their success rate would be less guaranteed.

The second misconception is that doing a lot of ab work will flatten your abs. This is true, but what really leads to flat abs is the type of ab work you do.

Crunches and sit ups are not “ab flattening” exercises, UNLESS you are fully engaging the very deepest abdominal muscle which is a postural stabilising muscle called Transversus Abdominus.

This muscle is the “corset” of the torso and pulls your lower belly and waist in and as a bonus, provides postural strength and stability. Pilates is THE BEST exercise method to work the abdominals this way. That’s why it’s famous for creating strong, flat abs.

If you’re not already, then do yourself and your body a favour and start…you won’t regret it.

The last point I need to talk about is food and lifestyle.

 

Unfortunately, as a society we eat way too much food. Even if you are pro active and eat lean and clean food, if you eat too much of it, it will get stored as body fat, most likely around the belly.

You don’t need scales to see if you are eating too much food, just look down at your belly and see how much excess body fat is being stored there.

If you do have excess body fat and want a flat “six pack”, you have three options.

Do more activity

Eat less food

Do more activity and eat less food

But…

This is the best advice I can give you about losing weight.

You can not out train a bad diet! Period! The mindset of eating excess and then doing extra exercise to “burn it off” is flawed and does not create long term health and well being.

The best approach is to eat lean and clean food in the right quantity to provide your body with all the nutrients and energy it needs to survive and thrive.

If you need to lose excess body weight, then you’ll need to eat a little under your daily requirements and don’t get sucked in to any rapid weight loss programs. Take your time to develop healthy lifestyle habits that can stay with you for life.

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