The Flatter Abs Myth

Have you ever had a fat moment? It’s that moment when you realize just how much you have let yourself go and that you need to start taking better care of yourself. It’s almost as if someone rips the fat blinders off your eyes and you see yourself in all of your unkempt glory. It’s not pretty.

But it’s OK…

Fat moments are necessary at times and almost everyone who has ever lost a significant amount of weight has had at least one. They are often the jumping off point that will start a fitness journey. So if the pain of a fat moment gets you motivated to make some healthy changes, I’m all for it.

Quitters…

Unfortunately, many people have their fat moment, start their fitness journey and quit shortly thereafter. It’s very common, especially at the beginning of the year. And if I had to guess, I’d say you have been there, done that and you probably have the t-shirt to prove it. Am I right? (You don’t have to answer that.)

Say it ain’t so…

So does it have to be that way? Well, the short answer is NO. But most people really don’t know the best ways to lose fat and end up trying things that are either an inefficient way of reaching their goal or simply impossible to keep up. So it only makes sense to quit. Sooner or later, it’s almost always what happens.

The abs myth…

Now, this isn’t an article about all things diet and exercise. Those are huge topics that can’t be completely covered in a lifetime, let alone one article, book or even a series of books. But I do want to bust a common stomach-flattening myth that is almost universally accepted amongst the general public and is something that you most likely believe too. Want to know what it is?

You ready?

Ab exercises don’t give you a flat stomach! Yeah…that’s right. Sit-ups, crunches and all these ab sculpting gizmos that are sold on late night TV simply don’t work as advertised. But they are still almost always the go-to solution for people that decide they want to do something about their unsightly waistline.

Why is that?

Why? Well, the answer is pretty simple. The part of the fitness industry that sells magazines with the latest sexy ab routine or the companies that sell the next great ab flattening gadget is all telling this lie over and over again. They want anyone who has some extra fat around their waist to believe the fat will just melt away if they do enough crunches, sit-ups or find that perfect piece of ab equipment. That way you will keep buying their magazines along with the latest ab exercising miracle tool.

 

Lies, lies and more lies…

But the reality is that there aren’t enough ab exercises in the world that will make you look like the man or woman on the late night infomercial. They didn’t get their abs with the piece of junk they are selling and neither will you.

Stomach flattening tips…

But don’t worry. I’m not going to leave you hanging. I’m going to give you some simple stomach flattening tips for you to use going forward. So here are a few things you need to know about flattening your stomach and getting the waistline you want.

Food: Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. Unless you have the metabolism of a teenager, you will never make up for your poor diet with exercise. Eating real food and avoiding preservatives is a great foundation for a healthy diet.

Sugar: When it comes to fat loss, sugar is not your friend. As long as you keep feeding your body sugar (like the typical American diet), it will keep burning that sugar instead of your body’s excess fat.  So if you want your body to start burning up some of that unwanted fat, stop giving it so much sugar to burn instead.

Isolating Fat: It’s impossible to isolate fat loss. Because of this, you are going to get the flattest stomach by focusing on lowering your overall body fat percentage, not by trying to isolate the fat that you dislike the most. Just think about it. If the part of your body you exercised isolated fat lose to that specific area, people like cyclists and runners would only have thin legs. It doesn’t work that way.

Exercise: Cardio workouts like running and biking are great for your heart and lungs. But cardio alone is not the best way to burn excess fat and flatten your stomach. Vigorous exercise coupled with resistance (i.e. resistance bands, body weight exercise or free-weights) is the best combination and will get you the most fat-burning bang for your buck.

Journalling: One of the best ways to get real results is to keep a fitness/diet journal. Keeping track of what you eat, sleep patterns, body fat percentage and your exercise routine, will help make you aware of what’s really going on and not just what you think is going on. Journalling helps keep you aware and accountable and will drastically improve your results.

Consistency: Neither fat nor fit happen overnight. But fat can sometimes sneak up on you so it can feel like it happened quickly. It didn’t. And neither does fit. Getting fit takes time and you have to earn it. So consistency is key. Understand that you will make mistakes. It’s the willingness to get back up and keep going that will make the difference in the end.

Encouragement: The last thing I want to say is to offer you a word of encouragement. Regardless of your age or circumstances, you can improve. And if anyone has told you differently or you have convinced yourself of that, don’t believe it. Your body wants to improve. You can do it!