A six-pack is the goal of many athletes who take up training, but there are many things they never tell you about abs.
You might have this idea that abs are ever-present. Maybe you believe that all you need to do to get a six-pack is more abs exercises. Maybe you’ve been led to believe in fad diets and other abs fitness myths.
Certified Personal Trainer, Alain Gonzalez, asks whether abs are really worth it and uncovers 8 things they never tell you about abs.
- 8 things they never tell you about abs
- 1 – It takes longer than you think
- 2 – Not everybody can have a six pack
- 3 – You’ll lose muscle mass and strength
- 4 – You won’t get great pumps
- 5 – You’ll need to use progressive overload
- 6 – Pursuing abs may kill your sex drive and testosterone levels
- 7 – Getting abs can suck sometimes
- 8 – Abs won’t get you more dates
- Should I aim to get abs?
8 things they never tell you about abs
1 – It takes longer than you think
For most people, getting lean enough to the point where you have a defined six-pack will take time, especially of you carry a lot of body fat.
This is not meant to demoralise you, but help you manage your expectations.
Getting your six-pack will mainly come down to these four things:
- How much fat do you have to lose
- How fast can you lose that fat
- What is your fat distribution
- How developed your abs are
Note, if you’re trying to maintain muscle you shouldn’t try to lose weight too fast.
2 – Not everybody can have a six pack
Your genetics have a big influence on your abs. While all humans have the “six-pack muscles”, the rectus abdominis, the muscles are separated by tendinous inscriptions, the amount, thickness, and size of which can vary between people.
3 – You’ll lose muscle mass and strength
You’ll have to make some sacrifices if you want to get a chiselled six-pack. Most people will lose muscle mass and strength when they enter a caloric deficit to lose fat.
A caloric deficit can lead to reduced energy to recover from training, affect the volume you can handle, and your performance and strength. Additionally, if you lose weight to quickly, you run the risk of losing muscle mass.
4 – You won’t get great pumps
Dieting affects your pumps (the swelling of your muscle cells) and how your physique looks. Because being in a calorie deficit takes a hit on your energy levels and recovery, combined with the fact that your body has got less available nutrients and calories, will mean you can’t really train with adequate intensity for a quality pump.
5 – You’ll need to use progressive overload
Your abs a re just like any other muscle and they’ll respond better to training if you use resistance and progressive overload.
A common abs myth is that you need to do a ton of abs exercises, but achieving a nice six-pack mostly comes down to having a low enough body fat percentage so you can see your abs.
You can’t spot-reduce fat, which means doing a ton of sit-ups won’t result in a learner midsection.
6 – Pursuing abs may kill your sex drive and testosterone levels
Maintaining a six-pack year-round is incredibly hard and even unhealthy. Although being lean is good for your health, maintaining very low body fat levels leads to health problems such as loss of sex drive, lethargy, low energy levels, increased irritability and hunger, and lower testosterone levels.
It’s okay to have periods to lean out, but you shouldn’t pursue shredded abs year-round.
7 – Getting abs can suck sometimes
A caloric deficit comes with side effects such as hunger, mood swings, and low energy levels. It can also make you anxious over social activities like going out for a meal because you might go over you calories.
If you like to drink, stay up late, and go out for meals, a six-pack might not be the best goal for you.
Getting and maintaining a six-pack requires consistency and dedication in diet and training.
8 – Abs won’t get you more dates
It’s easy to believe your whole life will be different once you get abs, that your confidence will grow and you’ll attract more respect. Sadly, this is not the case.
Should I aim to get abs?
These 8 things they never tell you about abs should help you set your expectations right and increase your likelihood of success.
- what-they-dont-tell-you-about-abs: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc.