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With this blog article, I’m going to try something a little different. I’d like to delve deeper into the topic of abdominal muscles and their visibility. It’s a topic I’m frequently asked about, so it’ll be a bit longer than normal. Now might be a good time to pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee. It will be well worth it, I assure you.
I don’t believe any part of the human body has come to symbolise peak physical fitness more than the picture of finely formed abdominal muscles, also known as ‘abs.’ That rippling area of the stomach reveals a lot about a person’s devotion to body composition and has come to define what it means to be ‘fit.’ Of course, the reality isn’t quite so simple, but you’d be hard-pressed not to come across a photo of sculpted abs in some form or another while selling any kind of workout equipment or supplement. Marketing departments all over the world are working hard to make abs the must-have item for everyone.
If you’re hoping for a quick response to the question “how long will it take to see my abs,” I’m afraid I can’t provide one, and I hope you didn’t come to my page seeking for one. What I can offer you is a better grasp of the subject, which will serve as a solid basis for your personal fitness journey. Ready? Let’s get started.
Let’s start with a few of questions. Is it possible to have rock-hard abs for everyone? Is achieving them even possible? SPOILER WARNING: It is! So, if that’s the case, how long will it take to see them?
Before we get into the meat of the subject, I thought it would be helpful to review the fundamentals of the abdominal muscles. I’m going to let you in on a little secret if you’re one of the millions of individuals who want killer abs. They’re already yours! Under that shirt, you already have some lovely rippled abs. You really, truly do. The difficulty is that they are often hidden beneath a layer of body fat for many people. There are occasions when there are too many layers and just too much body fat.
‘The core’ is a term I’m sure you’ve heard a lot in regard to the body. Fitness pros, like myself, frequently discuss the importance of having a strong core on which to develop the physique of your dreams. Your ‘core,’ in simple terms, is a strong column that joins your lower and upper bodies and aids in their coordination. It’s crucial since it serves as a solid basis for a variety of other daily tasks. Our torso is responsible for all of our movements, including sitting, standing, picking things up, and, of course, exercising. This means that practically every movement you make will include your abdominal muscles working in tandem with your pelvis and spine to some degree. It’s simple to see why it’s so crucial.
Some people associate abs with the classic ‘washboard’ stomach, but it’s only one of four muscle groups that make up your abdominals. The four of them cover your internal organs in your midsection fully. The rectus abdominis, external oblique muscles, internal oblique muscles, and transverse abdominis are the four groups in technical terms. I’d like to go through each one a bit more in depth so you can see how to get the most out of them.
As I previously stated, most people think about abs and envision the typical, rippled’six pack,’ and the rectus abdominis is responsible for those recognisable ‘bumps.’ This is a long, flat muscle that runs vertically between the ribs (5th, 6th, and 7th, respectively) and the pubis. It’s made up of three strong tendons that run horizontally and a strong tendon that runs along the middle. The washboard effect is caused by this juncture. You already had a six-pack, didn’t I tell you? It helps you stretch your spinal column and narrows the area between your ribs and pelvis, so it’s not just for show. When completing side-bending exercises, it’s also beneficial to keep your body stable during these motions.
The two external oblique muscles are located on either side of the rectus abdominis. You can obtain a sense of their position by simulating putting your hands in your coat pocket. When your body fat is low, this pair of muscles runs diagonally down and in from your lower ribs to your pelvis, making the ‘V’ shape you perceive. They allow you to flex your spine and compress your abdomen, especially when rotating from your hips.
External obliques can’t exist without internal obliques, right? You most likely can, but we don’t. These are a pair of muscles that sit at a right angle below their exterior biological cousins. Both the internal and external obliques are referred to be ‘opposite-side rotators’ because of their spatial relationship to one another. They work in the opposite direction of your movement. In other words, as you move or turn to the right, the left oblique muscles tighten (and vice-versa).
Last but not least, there’s the transversus abdominis. The deepest layer of the abdominal muscles wraps around the torso from front to back, from the ribs to the pelvis, from the ribcage to the pelvis. Consider the muscles as an internal weight-lifting belt that runs horizontally. The transversus, unlike the other abdominal muscle groups, does not help with movement, but it does help maintain abdominal pressure by compressing the internal organs. It does, however, help with breathing and the respiratory system in general. What’s more, it’s crucial.
I hope you learned how the abdominal muscles operate together in this fundamental biology lecture. Now it’s time to look at the biggest roadblock to showing off those abs. As I mentioned at the outset, it’s usually due to abdominal fat, so let’s talk about that. Belly fat, like all fat, is divided into three types:’subcutaneous’ fat that lies beneath the skin, ‘intramuscular’ fat that lies within the skeletal muscle fibres, and ‘visceral’ fat that surrounds your organs.
The looser fat near the surface that you may ‘pinch’ with your fingertips is referred to as subcutaneous fat. The energy store consumed during exercise is intramuscular fat. The visceral fat we’re looking at here is belly fat. It lies around your stomach, and it’s that fat that can generate the dreaded ‘beer belly,’ or at the very least cause it to protrude too far if left unchecked, and surely hides those abs. It can not only be unattractive, but it can also lead to major health issues such as insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, and, in rare circumstances, cancer.
I don’t want you to assume that visceral fat is terrible right away. Of course, it may be, especially in excessive quantities, but your body actually requires fat to protect and cushion your organs. The issue with visceral fat is the toxic compounds it excretes, not the fat itself. The more fat you have, the more of these toxins your body may encounter, perhaps leading to the terrible diseases I’ve just mentioned. What can you do if you have too much stomach fat? I’m grateful you inquired.
Let’s take a look at why it’s there in the first place before we get to that. As I previously stated, everyone has some belly fat, which is what hides your washboard stomach, but what creates it? In general, four basic variables, or any combination of them, can be blamed for extra belly fat. Obviously, everyone is different, so the causes of your specific belly fat will be determined by your personal lifestyle, but some of these may surprise you. I’ve attempted to put them in sequence, but this will vary for each of you; nonetheless, focusing on sugar is a fantastic place to start, so let’s get started…
1. Eat a healthy diet Let’s begin with some positive news. When it comes to reducing overall body fat, the reduction in fat around the belly button is usually the most visible evidence that you’re on the correct track. A poor diet is the most common cause of belly obesity in many people. Too much high-sugar food and drink will result in a slew of sins, all of which will inevitably result in excess belly fat. If you don’t burn those calories off, an over-reliance on a sugar-rich diet will lead to weight gain. It can also cause your metabolism to slow down, reducing your body’s ability to burn fat.
However, studies have found that persons who consume 10 grammes of soluble fibre per day gain less belly fat over time. That could be a couple of apples, a cup of green peas, or half a cup of different beans, such as pinto beans. Switching to a higher-fibre bread can help as well. In terms of carbohydrates, I’m aware that many if you restrict your carb intake, so I’m not suggesting that you eliminate them entirely, but thinking of healthier alternatives can help. Don’t forget about alcohol, which has a high sugar content yet is generally disregarded. If you’re confident that your sugar levels are under control, you might want to consider increasing your protein intake. Protein, as you may know, is beneficial to fat loss because it aids in the development and preservation of lean muscle tissue while also increasing the rate at which calories are burned. It’s a terrific source of energy in terms of nutrition, and it keeps you feeling fuller for longer. You’ll be less tempted to nibble on meals that will sabotage your efforts to lose abdominal fat if you’re satisfied. You should ideally choose lean protein sources because foods that aren’t as lean can include a lot more saturated fats.
Finally, if you’re looking to get that six-pack, there are a plethora of publications and strategies on other websites guaranteeing you a quick fix and ‘immediate’ abs. These websites may claim fast results, but their sole purpose is to make money for the people who created them, not to provide you with a six-pack. You probably don’t need me to tell you that there isn’t a realistic alternative to getting the body you want. It would be fantastic if there was, but there isn’t.
Whatever promises they make and whatever ‘amazing’ results they preach, it will require time and work to achieve. No crash diet will work in the long run, and you’ll probably do more harm than good. You’ll get there if you’re patient, consume the appropriate things, and train properly. Crash diets should be reserved for those who are unwilling to make the necessary long-term changes.
2. Workout When it comes to ‘fast solutions,’ most people believe that the best method to acquire a washboard stomach is to do more sit-ups and crunches than is probably safe. I can see why most people believe that. If you want to shift belly fat, then you need to do exercises that affect the belly. Isn’t that correct? Yes… and no…. but mainly no, at least for most people.
Yes… and no… but, for the most part, no, at least for the majority of individuals.
Doing hundreds of sit-ups isn’t going to help you lose weight if you’re overweight. You can’t lose fat in one region by exercising in that area. That is simply not how the human body works. We all have those rippling abs already, as I indicated at the start. The muscles are naturally shaped in that way. Many of us lack a clear window through which to display them. The belly fat is obstructing the view, and doing hundreds of sit-ups won’t make it go away any faster than completing other exercises.
If you’re already in decent shape, doing regular abdominal exercises with proper form (this is crucial) will make you look more toned, but concentrating on one area will not make it appear chiselled. Keep your training balanced by doing a combination of aerobic and resistance (or weight) training, as well as certain high-intensity sessions, to get a full-body workout and burn fat.
3. Get some rest Sleep may not be at the top of your list of things to focus on if you want to lose belly fat, but bear with me. Sleep is an essential component of any healthy lifestyle. It provides an opportunity for the body to heal itself. People and their lifestyles vary, but getting at least 6 to 7 hours of excellent quality sleep each night can assist. That isn’t just my view; studies have shown that those who sleep for only 5 hours (or less) every night accumulate more visceral fat over time than those who sleep for longer periods of time.
The way your body reacts to a lack of sleep has far-reaching consequences that go beyond feeling a little sleepy at work. Sleep deprivation messes with your hormone balance, which has an impact on our hunger levels. When it comes to appetite, two hormones in particular play a role: ghrelin (which makes us feel hungry) and leptin (which makes us feel full) (which makes us feel full). A lack of sleep throws this balance off, causing ghrelin to surge while leptin lowers. In actuality, this may mean that we eat more but are less satisfied, prompting us to eat even more to feel satisfied.
It’s one thing to sleep, but it’s quite another to sleep well. When it’s time to go to your bed, appropriate sleep hygiene is essential for a restful night’s sleep. Before you go to bed, try not to stare at your smartphone or tablet screen for too long. If at all possible, keep the room cold and airy, and avoid any caffeine-containing beverages right before bedtime. These modest tweaks can help you get better rest and take small steps toward those abs you’ve always wanted.
4. Anxiety Another factor of body fat loss that may go unnoticed is stress. Hormones play a role in how stress affects your abs. Life in the modern world is quite stressful. We must address the difficulties we all experience when it comes to juggling family, work, finances, training, and a plethora of other responsibilities.
I’m confident that everyone reading this is stressed to some extent. Our bodies release a hormone called cortisol when we are stressed. It is commonly referred to as “the stress hormone” by many individuals. When cortisol levels are high, we seek foods that are heavy in calories and sugar. It’s the classic ‘comfort meal’ that we go for even when we know we shouldn’t.
In some situations, cortisol can be beneficial. Cortisol kicks in when we’re in danger or facing an urgent threat, giving us the ‘fight or flight’ response we need to deal with it. When cortisol levels are high for lengthy periods of time (as they are when we are stressed), it can increase the amount of fat our bodies store.
Stress isn’t something we can just remove with a magic wand, but learning to manage it will help you get the stomach you desire. Whether it’s meditation, walking, listening to music, or playing with the kids, there are methods to find some quiet in the midst of the turmoil and go one step closer to losing belly fat. ‘How Long Will It Take To See My Abs?’ is the title of this blog. I hope I’ve demonstrated that this is not a simple question to answer. I also hope you’ve figured out why. Forget about the ‘one-trick’ stories that will be all over the internet.
To get a set of toned abs, you’ll need two things, both of which you already have.
The first step is to establish a starting place. Even if it’s different for everyone of us, we all have one of those in common. Whether you have a lot of fat to shed or just want to lose a few obstinate pounds, we all have to start somewhere, and what better place to start than here. The second thing you’ll need is something you already have, but for many of you, it will require some work. Adherence. It’s one thing to have a strategy to acquire what you want, but it’s nothing more than that if you don’t have the discipline to keep to it.
Decide where you want to go, plan how you’ll get there realistically, and stick to it. Don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of your goals. If you stick to a decided strategy, you can get the abs, arms, legs, and even the mindset you want. Nothing I, or anybody else, can do or say will help you have ripped abs overnight. Don’t waste your time hunting for it because it’s impossible.
You can achieve your goals, whether they are in a month or a year. With just those two elements, it’s entirely possible.
It’s also worth mentioning that having a six-pack isn’t required. It doesn’t make you a better person or transform you as a person, but that’s not to dismiss people who work hard for it. Who is to say it isn’t essential in the grand scheme of things if it helps you feel better, which in turn makes you feel more confident and happier? As I often say, the goal is to live a healthier lifestyle. If getting there means getting a stomach big enough to wash clothes on, that’s a plus.