As the age-old adage (not old at all actually) goes, “Abs are made in the kitchen.” The statement is 100% accurate! Granted, this assumes the individual has been training their abs and doing large compound lifts (squat, deadlift, bench press, pullups) consistently for an extended period of time to build up muscle over their body. Simply doing dumbell presses, shoulder presses, crunches, and balance exercises on a Swiss or Bosu ball isn’t going to do jack squat for your abs if you aren’t dieting for fat loss.
It makes me giggle when all I see are people doing “core” exercises in the weight room. Yes you’re going to improve strength and maybe build a bit of muscle mass in your abdominals, obliques, and lumbar, but if you aren’t eating right those areas will be covered by a layer of adipose and you’ll have a gut.
This is especially true for men as fat tends to be stored around the mid-section due to our hormonal profiles and fat patterning. However, without building some lean body mass first, you will have a flat stomach and no 6-pack. Look at marathon runners. These guys are sub 10% body fat and have flat stomachs but no visible abs because of a lack of muscle beneath their skin.
“I can lose fat in my _____ if I do _______ exercise.” Nope.
Fat loss happens where fat loss wants to happen, according to our individual physiology. We cannot change our genetics and our body types with “spot fat reduction” unless you are willing to have liposuction. Expensive topical creams are a complete waste of money and will not empty out fat cells, no matter where you apply it.
Certain people will want to have small, firm thighs and defined arms but those can be the most stubborn places for fat loss. The only way to reduce fat in these areas is to get lean first. The fat you lose will have to come from somewhere (the stubborn areas).
Typically, men lose fat last in their gut and lumbar, while women lose fat last in their thighs/butt and arms. If your goal is to lose fat in those places, don’t waste your time and kill yourself with high repetition training and high intensity cardio if you don’t keep an eye on your diet. You may just end up overtrained, sick, or losing muscle in the process.
Featured image courtesy of U.S. Pacific Fleet and used under a Creative Commons license.