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Everybody at one point has dreamt of getting a perfect set of abs, and most of us have actually tried. We do sit-ups and crunches every morning when we wake up, and every night before we sleep. But no matter how long we do this, we never manage to get the abs sharp enough to grate cheese on.

The absolute truth

The majority of people who try to get washboard abs fail to do sufficient research beforehand, thinking that just doing basic exercises will produce the desired results over time, and when they realise that it doesn’t work as planned, they give up.
The rest of them are like me. They work out their abs to a strict and diverse exercise regime, but still don’t have those gorgeous abs, but instead have a solid wall of muscle covered by a layer of fat. The not-so-secret secret about abs, is that it has very little to do with exercise, and has a ton to do with body fat.

Cliché?

Diet, diet, diet. That’s what’s been plastered all over the Internet, on TV, on magazines and it’s probably what your friends tell you too. But why does dieting work?
The general idea behind dieting is to use up more energy than you take in. Your body will use up the stored energy (fats) in your body, to make up for lack of energy taken in. But how can you do this? Here’s a simple dieting tip.
You can do this, by watching your calorie intake. A general rule of thumb is to eat 10 grams of food, for every 1 pound you weigh. So if you weigh 200 pounds, you should eat no more than 2000 grams of food a day.

It’s a miracle?

There are countless websites and magazines that claim that they have products such as topical creams, and special powders that can help you burn your belly fat.
Some also say that they have found new exercise techniques that will burn fat straight from your belly before other parts of your body. This couldn’t be farther from the truth!
There is no way that you can ‘target’ weight loss. For example, a big myth is that doing crunches and other abdominal exercises will trim fat from your belly because it works the muscles underneath. This is not the case.
In order to understand this, we have to look at the reason why our body distributes fat the way it does. It all comes down to genes. Our body stores fats in places that doesn’t use up a lot of energy to move around.
That’s why the bulk of our fats are stored in our bellies, hips and thighs. It wouldn’t make sense for it to be stored in places that we would have to lug about every day, like our fingers and toes would it?
Because of this, our body loses fats from the places where it takes the most energy to move around, like the arms, legs, and face, before other areas, like the belly and thighs.

Vary your exercises

Your body naturally adapts to the different stresses of everyday life. For example, if you climb the stairs every day, it will get easier and easier, because your body gets used to climbing the stairs.
This is the same for your exercise. If you do the same exercises every day, your body will adapt to it, and you won’t get any benefits. To make sure this doesn’t happen, you should vary your exercises.
For example, on one day, you can do sit-ups then a plank. Take a day’s break, and then do crunches then leg-raises. The key is to do it on non-consecutive days and to do different exercises. The reason you do this on non-consecutive days, is because your body needs time to recover from workouts.

Weight! There’s more…

To lose that stubborn bit of fat and gain those delicious abs, you need to use a combination of dieting and exercise. Remember these quick pointers:

  • Use more energy than you take in.
  • Ab workouts do NOT burn belly fats.
  • There is no such thing as targeted weight loss.
  • Weight loss varies from person to person.
  • Your body adapts to your exercises, so make sure you vary them!

Gaining those abs has little to do with exercise, and a ton to do with body fat. So the put down that six pack, and go work on your six pacs! LW

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