How Hard Is It To Get Six Pack Abs? Find Out The Truth!

  shutterstock_404176213 How many times have you seen a poster of an actor and swooned over his abs? Several, right? And how many times have you joined the gym hoping you would be able to sport some washboard abs in the summer and quit, disappointed? Well, the road to getting six pack abs is really not that easy. Yet, it isn’t impossible either. However, a lot of misinformation and unrealistic expectations might be setting you up for disappointment. Read on to find the truth about getting six pack abs: Anatomy of your midsection In order to work on something, it is essential to understand what that ‘something’ is. Your midsection, typically, consists of four major types of muscle groups, namely, external abdominal obliques, internal abdominal obliques, transverse abdominis, and rectus abdominis. External abdominal obliques are the muscles that form the sides of your midsection. They start from the back of your midsection, wrap around your waist and finish in the front. This is the muscle you need to target to lose love handles. shutterstock_180856031 The internal abdominal obliques are similar to external obliques in form and structure and lie underneath the latter. These, however, run in the opposite direction and both the obliques together provide support to your body around the midsection. Transverse abdominis lie deep within. In fact, the transverse abdominis are the deepest layer of muscles in your midsection. They wrap around the spine to provide support and protection. So, though it is not exactly visible, you must work on them for building a super strong core. Coming to rectus abdominis, this is the group of muscles in your midsection that you are most familiar with. They form the front of your midsection and are popularly known as the ‘six-pack’ muscles. Yes, that’s right, everybody has six pack abs by default. All these muscles together make up your midsection, and to build a strong core you must work on all of them. shutterstock_262586411 What causes belly fat? Like we just mentioned, every single person by default has six pack abs. But they lie underneath a layer of subcutaneous fat. With the right guidance and knowledge, and of course determination, you will be able to let those ab muscles come to the fore. The truth is, whether you weight 40 kilos or 100 kilos, there will be some amount of subcutaneous fat lining your abdomen. To get rid of those, it is important you understand what gives you those to begin with. We, as Indians, are conditioned to love our rice. Steamed rice, fried rice, pulao – then we also love our idlis and dosas which are made with rice. And then, of course, there is biryani - the moist fragrant rice with spices, aloo, and our choice of meat. Who does not love biryani? Well these are only a few of the things that give you belly fat. True, it’s almost cruel that the tastiest of dishes are the worst for your health, but that’s the honest picture. Any kind of white starch or white carb, such as white rice, semolina or rava, flour or maida, flour products likes cakes and cookies, and potato will give you belly fat. Coupled with that are the fries and bhujias or bajjis that we are so fond of – which are something coated in a batter of flour or besan and deep fried in lots of oil. Then we love sweets– which are basically kilograms of sugar and dairy products, both rich in calories. shutterstock_272726312 Sometimes, we think we are making the right choice by ditching the regular aerated drink and picking the diet version of it. The truth is, they are equally harmful. Both are loaded with sugar, even if you can’t taste it, and both add empty calories to your body. That means, they don’t provide any kind of nutrition but raise your calorie intake for the day by a few hundred units. Even the packaged fruit juice cartons that you get in the market are loaded with sugar. So then, what do you do? Well, first, if you want to get six pack abs, you have to leave sugar for good. Second, though no one is asking you to stop having biryani, and desserts, and potato altogether, you will need to reduce the intake, have smaller portions even when you have them (so no gorging!). You must be smart about eating them. For example, one potato for breakfast is actually not unhealthy if you are involved in regular exercise. For us in India, most of our celebrations take place at night. So we usually end gorging on our favourite wedding meals and celebratory meals at night when our metabolism has already slowed down. If you want to let those six pack abs show, you have got to stop that.    Some myths about six-packs busted There are also several misconceptions regarding six-pack abs. Here are a few that we have busted for you: 1. 100 crunches a day, keeps the belly fat away: No, absolutely not. Crunches is a set of exercises where you lie on your back with your arms on the sides of your head, and then pull yourself up with your abdominal muscles and squeeze them together. This squeeze and stretch movement actually works well if you are trying to make your abdominal muscles look bigger and more prominent. However, it does not scorch away the layer of belly fat on top. In fact, too many crunches and your stomach will start to look bigger than it was, because your ab muscles have enlarged, but the layer of fat still remains. 2. Exercise can compensate for bad diet: Yes and no. If you have been maintaining a clean diet for several days and working out regularly along with that, a small portion of junk won’t negate all your hard work. Your body at this point can take it. But, if you think that you can eat whatever you want and workout at the same time, honestly that won’t help. Sculpted muscles start in the kitchen. shutterstock_204480592 3. Carbs are devil’s fruit sent to tempt you off your track: Not really. Carbohydrates are one of the major food groups and are important for your body as they are major sources of energy. However, carbohydrates are present in almost everything we consume, so it is necessary that you pick and choose or you will end up consuming more than you need to. Moreover, white refined carbs like flour and white rice, sugar are the substances that give you belly fat. Slow digesting carbs like vegetables and whole grains can actually help you in your road to six pack abs. 4. If you work your abs daily, you will get faster results: Abs are a muscle group. Working them out daily for faster results is not a healthy and sustainable approach. Muscles undergo a lot of wear and tear during workouts and that is what makes them stronger. But working them daily gives them no chance to recover. Therefore, never work the same muscles group on two consecutive days.   5. Moment of truth: How hard is it to get six pack abs? Getting six pack abs is difficult, have no doubt about that. It will take immense dedication, determination and sacrifice. There will be times you will feel like giving up, you will feel like giving in to that pizza or butter chicken, but don’t. Once you reach your goal, it will be worth it. 6. You won’t get abs overnight: If you expect that you will do fifty crunches one day and your abs will start becoming visible from the next day – it won’t happen. You did not put on weight overnight, neither will you lose it all over night. Besides, it takes quite some time for the muscles to get sculpted and results to start showing. But rest assured, every little step you take will help you eventually 7. Your abs may never look like those in the magazines: Also, do not expect to have abs like they show in the magazines. When pictures are shot for magazines, a lot of light effects are provided and honestly, some amount of make-up is also used to make sure the abs look good. That is not always possible in real life, and know that it is okay. shutterstock_519817897 8. If you’re a woman, your journey just got more difficult: Most women in India still root for slim waistlines rather than a sculpted stomach. But, for the women who are really into fitness and want to build six-packs, it will be more difficult for you than it will be for men. The basic reason for that is women, by virtue of being the ones to carry babies in their womb, are biologically designed to have more fat around the midsection. Men on the other hand have lesser levels of body fat in the body. 9. Your work is not done once you get the six packs: If anything, it only starts after you have managed to make your abs visible. Because, now you must maintain it. At this point it is very easy to slack off, but keep your will strong and do not let go of what you have achieved. Baby steps that you can take We have said this several times before - fitness is 80 per cent nutrition and 20 per cent exercise. So eat clean – ditch the white carbs, have the whole grains, replace the cold drinks with protein shakes. And then, workout at least 5 to 6 days a week. Do your cardio because that will help you burn fat, and work the muscles so that they get sculpted. If you stay determined, you will definitely achieve your six-packs, even if it takes time. Download the Grow Fit app on Google Play or App Store today for a free consultation with our specialists.

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