THE 6 COMMON MISTAKES HIDING YOUR 6 PACK
Time to read 4 min
Time to read 4 min
Before we get into the list though, let's quickly brush up on what is involved in the process of getting a 6-pack. To achieve a defined midsection, you must reduce the amount of fat that covers and hides your abdominal muscles sitting beneath. Yes, it's true, we actually already have a 6-pack to begin with... most of the time, they're just hiding until a little excess fat in the abdominal region!
Therefore, getting the 6-pack you desire means then you need to drop your body’s fat mass, which is largely a product of what you are putting into your body everyday. This brings it back to the good old saying “abs are made in the kitchen” - meaning your diet will play a MASSIVE role in getting that 6-pack you desire.
To start off the list, you are likely not drinking enough water throughout the day. Exercising, working in air conditioning, and/or working outdoors will dehydrate you, which can lead to two negative outcomes. The first downside of dehydration is poor recovery, as water is greatly needed for the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and electrolyte replacement. The next issue with being dehydrated is that the human body cannot tell the difference between hunger and needing water. As a result, dehydration can potentially be mistaken for hunger, and result in overeating.
Want to learn more about snacking and hydration? Click here.
Doing crunches and sit ups are great for strengthening your abdominal muscles, but won’t help much with giving you a more visible 6-pack if your diet isn’t right. A good point to bring up with abdominal training is that you CANNOT exercise a muscle group and cause fat to be lost in that area. This common misconception is called “spot reduction”. How your body loses fat is going to be genetically based, but you can control the rate in which it will lose fat.
However, that's not to say you should avoid training abs. A good abdominal training program is doing sit ups on a swiss ball 3 times a week with sets of 5 and reps of 20, this will help to build core strength.
There is no opportunistic time to perform cardio. So, for all you out there who start work in the early hours of the day, don’t stress! You don’t have to wake up at 3am to achieve your 6-pack goals. If you perform one hour of cardio before breakfast, after a workout, or before bed, you’ll still see the same fat loss results from all three times mentioned above.
The next question in this mini topic is “what type of cardio is best?" This really depends on the individual’s preference. For some, switching between either LISS (low intensity steady state) or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a great way to mix it up and prevent boredom. A great HIIT session is doing sprints on the treadmill. Try doing 30 seconds of sprinting on a speed you are comfortable with, followed by 90 seconds of fast pace walking cycled through 8 times. This will really get that heart rate pumping and get you that one step closer to 6-pack abs.
This sounds a lot easier said than done, but if you aren’t getting sufficient amount of sleep then you’re ruining your chances of getting a 6-pack. When dieting for fat loss, your body can produce a hormone called cortisol, which will slow your fat loss results down, make you lose muscle mass, and even make you moody. In conjunction with dieting for fat loss and lacking quality sleep, your cortisol levels can go through the roof, which essentially renders all that hard work with your dieting and training useless. Not to mention, how many of us are likely to break our diets when we are stressed and mentally tired? That BBQ chicken pizza and 12 donuts with 1 litre of ice cream looks good when we are super tired. Am I right?
How much sleep should you get a night? Try for at least 6 hours a night, optimally 7.5 hours is best for mental and physical recovery, and any more than that isn’t exactly necessary but is certainly nice.
Wondering if your sleep could be damaging your health? Click here.
A lot of people have a misconception that supplementing with creatine monohydrate will make them hold fat, or make them hold water, giving them some sort of puffy look. Creatine will not give you this puffy look or hold onto fat. Simply put, creatine does draw water, but makes you draw water intramuscularly, so if anything will give your muscles a more pronounced look. So why take creatine when trying to get ripped abs for building and maintaining your strength? An individual who is stronger will see faster fat loss results, which has been widely concluded through many scientific studies.
When starting a gym program, getting back into the gym, or swapping your goals of bulking to cutting, so many men and women will drop the weight they are lifting for higher reps. For example, if they can bench press 100kg for 8 reps, they’ll go to 80kgs for 12 reps. Dropping the weight will more than likely lead to muscular atrophy (muscle loss)... ever heard of the term “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it? “ If your muscles have been developing on a certain stress level, then backing off that stress level will cause your body to think this amount of muscle mass isn’t necessary anymore for your environment to survive.
Why does maintaining strength, not lifting too light, and keeping muscle mass matter, you may be wondering? Muscle requires energy to exist, so having more muscle on your frame will contribute greatly to your body burning more energy through your metabolism, meaning faster fat loss results and a more visible 6-pack.
So there we go, take all these points into consideration coming into summer. Some of these topics mentioned may not be applicable to you, and some might be a real eye opener as to why you aren’t seeing your 6-pack.