So you want flat abs?
I still laugh out loud when I see this quip of advice, “5 sets of stop eating so much crap!” Exclamation point added for personal emphasis of how intensely I’ve wanted to scream this to the top of my lungs! With a banner, a jig, and a few cartwheels. B-r-a-n-distas, like so many personal trainers, some of the most common and persistent questions I receive is “What do I do to just firm my abs?” “What do I do to just flatten my tummy?” “What do I do to just get rid of this flab in my midsection?”
Although my answer is frequently frowned upon because it blasts completely past senseless shortcuts, made-up secrets, and risky magic pills—I stick to it with a passion that cares enough to share the truth that our personal nutrition choices is more than 80% responsible for how we will or won’t maintain our abs. Full Translation: Abs are made in the kitchen.
Yes, firm abs and a lean midsection are made in the kitchen. And they are solidified in the gym. Everyday insight to some us. The most awfully depressing news since the ending of The Cosby Show to others. Especially as we live in a society where the lifestyle of so many is often centered around living to eat everything our heart and taste buds desire—no matter the lack of nutritional value or risk to our overall health. It’s increasingly tough to share the simple truth of “Stop eating so much crap”, as many hold fast to the idea that we can essentially eat whatever we please as long as we do specific and consistent exercises to “fix it”.
Chomp it down today. Chisel it out tomorrow.
If it were only that easy. If we ever received declaration that it is that easy, I’m convinced that upon public report Oreos cookies would probably have a nationwide shortage in a matter of hours, and every pizza delivery guy would most definitely reconsider their day job. Effective immediately. Truth is ,our bodies are not constructed to spot reduce or burn fat in specific and isolated areas only, namely our midsection. While some of us can often build muscle tone and definition more rapidly in one muscle group than another, burning fat efficiently in our body is an overall effort of our body’s metabolism and a huge percentage of that effort is through consistently clean and nutritious eating.
And while there are certainly specifically designed exercises we can utilize to firm, flatten, and ultimately chisel our abs, we simply can’t consistently load our tummies with fatty, processed, nutritionally deficient foods and expect to remain lean and fit —especially in our midsection.
Q: So how do we “eat less crap”, when the crap often tastes so much better than the goodies that’s actually good for our body’s systems and a great set of abs?
A: We’ve got to decide to train our brains to make the choices that our tummy and heart and other organs and even joints and bones already knows is good for us.
It’s as simple and as difficult as that.
But when we really begin to embrace the truth that nothing tastes as good as healthy feels, the difficult becomes simpler in every initially difficult decision.
One of the most incredible pieces of insight I’ve ever received on nutrition is from a friend who shared with me the mantra of his personal nutritionist which is “Food is simply fuel for our body.” In its taste or distaste, it is simply fuel. And just as many of us wouldn’t fathom placing inadequate gasoline, diesel, oil, or other necessary fluids in our motor vehicles, we must see the vital importance of fueling our body with proper and adequate nutrition to live strong, lean and fit.
Junk food is titled “junk food” for good reason. Void of vital nutrients to support and enhance our body’s functioning and energy systems, these foods are often processed with elaborate makeups of chemical garbage and harmful ingredients to our body’s systems. There’s no doubt that junk food is one of the hugest culprits to taking the chisel completely out of our chiseled abs dreams. Let’s exercise our choice to EAT LESS CRAP.