Summer is coming up and we thought we would go ahead and tackle the top google search term involving fitness, “how do I get abs?”
While we are all about loving yourself and moving at your own pace, we totally get the there are plenty of people who have their hearts set on getting this stalwart goal and dammit, do they want it sooner rather than later! Well let’s go over what it takes to get that natural washboard and see if it even something you actually want to do!
“Abs Are Made In The Kitchen”
As I’m sure you’ve heard this before! In-fact there’s an annoying guy on YouTube’s ad cycle right now that will yell at you about how hard it is to get abs and why you need his workout + nutrition plan. While it’s obnoxious to hear all the time, this phrase true (just not 100% for the reason you may think).
In our blog post, “How Long Does It Take To Get Toned?” we go over the balance that actually occurs with eating to show your muscles. In order for your abs to show, your body fat has to reduce to the point where you muscles can be seen. This is done by reducing the amount of food that you are eating to the point where you are in a caloric deficit (eating less calories than you burn through your daily activities). Over time you should slowly be able to see more and more of your abs until you eventually end up to the point where you want.
But, there is a faster way.
Physical Training: The Fast Track to Abs
While nutrition is 80% of the battle for a movie star physique, doing ab exercises, weight training, and conditioning pieces is the 20% that can shorten that window significantly!
Since our abs are muscles, we can make them adapt to the demands that we place on our bodies. In CrossFit we train the abs through contractual movements (toes to bar, sit-ups, kipping, slam ball slams) and isometric (bracing for lifts, hollow holds, handstands, etc…). Over time by performing movements like these in different rep ranges can cause the muscles to grow. Along with this, performing exercises in a MetCon setting (completing repetitions in a certain amount of time, aka CrossFit Cardio) can burn even more calories, making a caloric deficit even easier to achieve!
Doing these movements in an hour long training session 5-6 times per week can shorten that time drastically compared to just dieting your way to abs. The combination of a training ritual that involves abdominal work and a well balanced diet that keeps you in caloric deficit will get you there as fast as your body will allow.
Patience and Understanding Gets You To 110%
If you really wanna knock it out of the park with getting abs though, take a step back and decide it is what you want and be patient with yourself. Just take a look at movie stars that are always movie ready at a moments notice. While Henry Cavil may have rock solid abs in “Man of Steel” he has more of a natural look in “The Witcher.” In both of these settings he looks like what everyone would call “jacked,” but, you would definite consider him to be more defined in his Superman role.
If take a look at both the characters he plays in these roles, one is an alien that is perfect in every way and the other is a guy that lives in an era where eating meat was considered a full meal and all he does it swing a sword for his training regimen. We can aim to be superman, or we can live with what our bodies naturally give us when we live our perfect day.
Getting into the shape where we have abs is a lifestyle choice and deciding if that is in your perfect day is important. To get to Superman levels of abs, you’re gonna have to train 6 times a week, eat a very regimented diet plan that keeps track of your macros (carbohydrates, fats, and protein intake), and sleep like a champ to reduce stress on your body. It’s not a living nightmare, but you’re gonna have to eat a lot more reheated chicken and broccoli than you would like. If you’re like me and like to have abs but, want to enjoy food a little bit more, you can train hard just 5 times per week and still eat quite healthy but, you can enjoy a wider variety of foods and just roll with some weeks having 10% body fat and others 12% (we all have ranges, and that is where I am happiest. Ladies should add about 2-4% to that range for that range to be similar).
The last thing to note is that getting to this perfect day will take time. Where ever you are at in your fitness journey, you are comfortable in the place you are at and making drastic changes almost always backfires. We as humans have homeostasis (a natural spot our bodies like to be), and changing that status quo by making diet changes and/or fitness routine changes causes stress (beneficial stress but stress none the less). Pushing too far out of our normal tolerances for stress can cause us to binge eat, stop exercising all together, or any number of coping mechanisms that could derail our progress. At the end of your journey to getting abs, or where ever your goals take you, we want it to be our lifestyle. That way, we aren’t making sacrifices for the things we want, we just now live our perfect day!