Every now and then, I’m asked by people what sort of ab work should they be doing. Should they be focusing on their abs and what’s the best they could a flat stomach and all that.
And I completely get it because I love the fact that I have a flat stomach and abs all year round and I’m proud of it.
But, one thing that I think people need to understand a little bit more about it is having abs doesn’t really mean a lot.
In fact, every person actually has a set of abs.
The difference is some people have body fat on top of it.
I know it’s not much to say but if you’ve got body fat it’s always going to sit on top of muscle, no matter what way we look at it, muscle will sit underneath fat and it won’t look attractive.
Which is why we say to people you really just need to lower your body fat. Having low body fat will help you get your abs to come through.
Everybody’s body responds differently. Some people can have abs with 20% body fat, some people need to get down for 10% body fat, because we’re all slightly different. Our body will distribute whole body fat in different areas and that’s how it is.
I tend to keep my abs quite high body fat compared to others
and it’s more like my hips or love handles that holds fat for longer.
So what are the best exercises. The first exercise which I’d be practicing every single day is not putting so much food in your mouth.
Yes, it might even get a laugh or it will get people on the defensive, but that’s the truth. You need to make sure that you’re in a calorie deficit if you want to lose weight so that you can start to see your abs. There’s no point in you sitting there in a gym doing hundreds and hundreds of crunches.
Then the next thing is doing loads of resistance work.
I give you the free weights and focus on engaging your core.
Because I have to say, up until a couple of years ago, and even now, I’m not the best at it. I used to have abs but I’d walk around with a bloated out tummy purely because I wasn’t engaging my core and using my core muscles in the right way.
So we focus on doing core activation work. In fact, we often encourage our clients to be doing this every couple of hours throughout the day. Set a reminder, 10-15 seconds, focus on really contracting your core, focus on posture.
Then if you really want to be working on doing high intensity cardio. And the reason why I say do it in high intensity is because you’re going to burn more calories in less time. Because let’s face it, if you were somebody who could commit to doing hours and hours a day training, you probably wouldn’t be struggling to lose that body fat in your stomach.
So that’s my message today. I’m trying to keep it nice and simple.
Remember, every single person is different and we’re all unique, but doing loads and loads of ab work isn’t necessarily going to give you a six-pack unless you are low in body fat. So focus on the things that are going to get the body fat lower first. And then of course if you want to integrate ab work because you enjoy it that’s totally cool. I don’t do any specific ab work and my abs look pretty good.
And also, bear in mind if you are going to do ab work, make sure you do some lower back work as well to balance it out. Because the last thing you want to do is overwork your abs. And as soon as you start feeling your hip flexes, remember you’re probably not working your abs anymore.
Ryan ‘abs’ Hodgson
P.S. Nothing to see but thanks for checking.