Why You Shouldn't Train Abs While Trying To Lose Weight
Often times when setting out on a weight loss journey, people make the goal of 'having 6 pack abs'. This is certainly a great goal to have but unfortunately individuals who haven't done their research, or have been given poor information, go about achieving this goal incorrectly. Ultimately, these people end up sabotaging their results by doing too much direct abdominal work in hopes of burning off belly fat and building a 6 pack. What if I told you that the LEAST important aspect of building 6 pack abs is the actual abdominal work, and the most important factor is diet? What if I told you that doing hundreds of crunches or leg raises while you are trying to lose weight is only going to hurt your results and progress? Do I have your attention? Good!
I could give you countless reasons and get extremely in depth, but for the purposes of this article, I want to just give you a few points to consider while you pursue your weight loss goals and revealing your 6 pack abs.
Everyone has abs
-Yes. You have abs. But if you are overweight and carrying too much body fat, you simply cannot see them.
Revealing the 6 pack
-The only way to see your abs is to lose the belly fat covering them. No amount of sit-ups, leg raises or fancy ab machines will help you burn fat. The only way to burn fat is through a combination of a reduced calorie diet, and proper utilization of different cardiovascular work (LISS and/or HIIT which is another article topic in and of itself).
What you SHOULD do
-I am not advocating for you to completely ignore training your mid section. In fact, having a strong core is one of the most important aspects of general health and wellness, including your posture. When you are losing weight and trying to improve your health, you will absolutely want to focus on core strength and stability exercises. Typically, these include movements like planks and hyper extensions. Your core includes your abdominal muscles as well as the muscles in your lower back and posterior chain. When you have a strong core, your posture improves, and it gives the appearance of a flatter belly.
The take home message
-Doing hundreds of crunches and leg raises is only going to build muscle underneath layers of fat you may currently have. This will only make your stomach look BIGGER! Which is obviously not what you want! If you want to see your abs, you must simply focus on burning the fat covering them through proper diet and cardio work. Not only will you save time in the gym by skipping the countless crunches, you will also save yourself a great deal of aggravation and frustration.
Increase core strength and stability, burn fat, see your abs! Once you reach about 10%-11% body fat you should begin focusing on building up your abdominal size which then help them become more visible and pronounced. However, if dieting to that body fat level is not a part of your goals, that's perfectly fine, just be sure to limit the pointless ab work and focus on core strength and stability to achieve a flatter looking stomach!