Ask not what you can do for abs, but what your abs can do for you!
One of the most common questions asked to any personal trainer is “how do I get abs?” What they’re referring to is a 6-pack (and not of the beverage kind). The response is usually received with disappointment and goes a little something like this:
We all have abdominal muscles, without them we would not be able to stand, walk or lift a thing. Your abdominals are made up of four layers of muscle which stabilise your trunk and when needed, transfer forces between the upper and lower body.
Think about skipping the 100 daily crunches and incorporating exercises which require you to push, pull, press and rotate with good form and posture.
The ‘look’ that many are after requires a significantly low percentage of body fat, which if achieved is often unsustainable and not so healthy. Visceral fat which is situated around your abdominal organs, however, is definitely a health risk factor and should be monitored. Avoid processed food and drinks, track your alcohol, sugar and added fat consumption. Focus on regular exercise and a diet rich in whole foods, consisting of protein, vegetables, fruit, some legumes, nuts and seeds.
So, what does this ultimately mean? The shape of your body is unique to you. Just as we have different facial features, height and shoe size, we are shaped differently and the way our body responds to exercise will be reflected in this also. My advice is to consume a balanced diet that fuels you for your activities, incorporate strength, aerobic and mobility exercises into your weekly routine and seek the advice of a fitness trainer or exercise physiologist for a tailored exercise plan that can be progressed as you reach your goals.