Get tight abs INSTANTLY with just ONE move!”
“It’s as easy as 10 minutes a day to get the 6-pack you always wanted”
“With just this one exercise, I melted my belly fat away in just 3 weeks”
“Don’t bore yourself with all those complex exercises! Stick to this one easy move to shred your abdominals”
“Eat whatever you want, however much you want! There is just 1 hidden secret to a sexy looking mid-section”
“No need to sweat! Workout smarter with this machine, 3 times per day to get the 6-pack you always dreamt of.”
Do these headlines sound familiar? Do they drive you insane like they do to me? No wonder so many people – especially people newer to exercise – quit exercising.
Just this past week, I came across these headlines in various media (internet, magazines, bulletin ads, etc). These are just a few of countless headlines and catchphrases that I angrily read weekly. They sound corny and too good to be true. And, in fact, they are quite misleading.
There is no magic pill, exercise equipment or move, ab gimmick, food, or prayer that will suddenly make your abs of steel appear. It requires hard work, unwavering commitment and dedication, a balanced meal plan, a positive attitude, patience, and time (and for a few, good genetics). A 6-pack is not something that can be ordered from a magazine or beer & wine store; it needs to be well-earned through a disciplined lifestyle strongly allocated to exercise, clean eating, and healthy daily habits.
Many people skim through magazines and see their crush with a flawless body and rock hard abdominals. But as you stand in awe of these incredible living creatures, there are a few things to consider:
1. These individuals could be bodybuilders or fitness models posing for a beauty competition or publication. If you were to ask someone who has competed on stage before how he or she obtained those beautifully defined muscles from top to bottom, they – without hesitation – will most likely state that it wasn’t as quick and easy as taking off their shirts. Whether it is their dream profession or a mere hobby, these individuals treat competitions similarly to how an athlete treats the Olympic Games. It is a long grind full of training regimens, mood swings, nutrition cycling and timing, adaptations, and mental barriers, all of which require strict discipline, careful planning, ample focus, and a mountain of knowledge of a competitor’s body with regards to physiological, anatomical, and psychological behaviours. A bodybuilder or fitness model is arguably more in-tune with his or her body than anyone else in other facets of life. They could point to a muscle and know exactly what it takes to make it grow and become stronger. They live and breathe fitness and clean eating (at least when they are preparing for a contest). They make sacrifices to ensure that their body is ready for the show on time. They are the ones who might say ‘no’ to a Saturday night out at the club, for it might derail their progress. Let’s not forget, however, that their job is to show off their physique. As a result, there are other methods, such as waxing and impeccable lighting among others, that are used to thoroughly expose the superficial muscles.
2. High-level athletes such as those in track and field, swimming, hockey, and soccer usually exhibit a chiselled mid-section. Keep in mind, however, that their training is sport-specific as opposed to building a good-looking physique. All these athletes care about is their performance in their sport; a 6-pack usually is not a priority. If you were to take a high-level hockey player in the off-season who is training to become a bigger, stronger, and faster player, he will need to address many of the full-body compound lifts, some explosive and agility drills, numerous rotational and pertinent athletic movements that mimic the real movements in the sport, plus a carefully planned meal strategy that will help him perform optimally. In other words, this athlete is living the lifestyle conducive of the sport: Hard training, proper eating, staying mentally focussed, and ideal sleeping habits which are required day-in and day-out. As a result of this lifestyle, it should be no surprise that these athletes possess a cut-up mid-section more often than not.
It is worthy of noting that after these athletes retire from their sport, their bodies are often lacking that athletic look as they are no longer living the requisite lifestyle in order to maintain it.
The common denominator of the people in the above sections (and the healthy gym rat who has the desire to have a 6-pack just to look and feel good) is that their lifestyle dictates how they look. Whether you train for a competition or train like an athlete, the amount of time you allocate towards your goal will dictate how close you are to achieving the desired results, which could be a 6-pack or a harder slap-shot.
It is far from impossible to obtaining a 6-pack. The above examples are just a few of the many types of individuals who are able to achieve that flawless look. The take home message is that a magic wand will not get you there safely. Please, do not fall for the cheesy headlines you see on the internet or in a beauty magazine. It takes sacrifice, commitment, admirable work ethic, and a strong mentality. Yes, some people are able to achieve this more easily and quickly than others. That is just the power of genetics! But you cannot take genetics for granted.
Ask yourself: Is a 6-pack an absolute must for you, or is it simply a nice-to-have? If it is the former, are you prepared to make some changes in your life that will perpetuate until you no longer want that perfect body?
And for the record, no, I do not possess a 6-pack; far from it. However, I am proud to say that I know how to put my abdominals to good use. They have helped me achieve impressive numbers with my lifts. My focus is to possess a very strong ‘core’ for my weightlifting and everyday use rather than having shredded abdominals for showcasing. Some may ask, “why not have both?” Maybe one day, yes, I’ll have the desire to wax the pretty mid-section. But for now, that is not my goal. What’s yours?