Flat Abs. The Truth

Flat Abs. The Truth

What do you expect from working out? You may say health, but the first thing that pops into most peoples minds is a six pack or flat abs.

What do you do? Crunches and situps makes up most of your “core” work. Trainer cliche here, but diet shapes your midsection. Exercise builds your body and fitness. So choose your exercises wisely. Heres the ugly truth. Burning enough calories to shed one pound of fat = 250,000 crunches, according to researchers at the University of Virginia. That’s 100 crunches a day for seven years. Good use of your time? I think not. Graduate from the superficial ab work and discover some functional core work.

Your core is made up of many muscles but the neglected and underrated are the  muscles that lie beneath the superficial ones: your transverse abdominis, multifidis, and internal obliques. Strengthening them pulls in your middle creating a natural brace, keeping  the area looking flat and toned. Wanna start now? Its easy… Are you sitting down in an office chair? Perfect! Get out of your slouch, shoulders back, crown of your head tall, now pull your belly button into your spine. It may be awkward and maybe even uncomfortable but notice how your back feels supported, your posture improves and if you don’t feel more confident. You sure look like it. Studies have proven that a simple fix in posture not only increases your own confidence but portrays positive traits to others.


Are you still holding it? Chances are you let it go and rolled forward. You must be weak right? Shoulders too tight? You’re just tired? Maybe its your butt? Actually, it most likely is the culprit. I am constantly fascinated at the interconnectivity of our body and mind. The connection here is compromised by the countless hours of you sitting at your office, car, couch, etc.  Your innocent glutes have been jailed and deemed useless due to  your hip flexors—the muscles that connect your hipbones to your legs—to become stiff and immobile. This couch-potato combo tilts your pelvis forward, which increases the arch in your back and puts stress on your spine. From a cosmetic standpoint, it pushes your abdomen out, making even a relatively flat stomach bulge. That means that to lose your gut, you’ve got to open those hips and work that butt.


Allow the exercise to shape your booty, not your food. Eliminating excess sugar is the easiest way to start your journey to health and reduce the belly fat that is covering up that six pack. It may seem counter intuitive but eating fats is key to weight loss. Healthy fats like the ones you find in fish, nuts, avocados, and even saturated fats -in moderation of course- offer a plethora of benefits from brain health to increased satiety.


Depriving yourself of critical macronutrients will only send your mood and diet crashing into the ground. Arguably the most important nutrient for those who are active is protein. Not only does it aid in muscle recovery but stimulates hormones to burn fat while keeping your hunger at bay.


The most elusive cause of poor health is no doubt stress. It can easily be the source or solution to all the issues I have addressed above. The hormonal effect is fat producing, even without the compound issue of emotional eating. Give yourself time to unwind. A 5 minute break at work, a morning walk, after work yoga, 10 minutes of meditation anywhere in between. Stress can’t always be prevented but it can be controlled. Keep the sabotage junk food out of your house and don’t ignore your stress. Identify the cause and let it go. Life is too short to be unhappy.


All of this has a funny synergy to it. Maybe it all starts with embracing compassion and the meandering journey it may lead. Embracing health and living a little longer doesn’t hurt.