Muscle & Fitness

All right. If you’re just crazy enough to believe this, then you’re not going to want to read this article, so please stop now.

The other day I was on the Internet and stumbled on this very thing. There’s a video on YouTube with an Hispanic kid that makes this promise. It’s had all of 825 views, and for good reason. It’s patently nonsense.

Let’s be clear. In a society which wants everything yesterday, this is a terrific sales pitch. I saw the same bullsh*t story on a Facebook meme called The Daily OM. A woman’s gorgeous six pack belly was featured, all perfectly airbrushed. There were hundreds of female comments. Just like those who see a cute pony or a Husky puppy or (name your foolish fad) they want one.

Really? Yah, really?

Let’s discuss this folks. First of all we all have those muscles. Those are the abdominal muscles that come with the package. You human (at least for the most part and for some this is questionable)? You have a six pack. The problem is its visibility.

Unfortunately what comes with your package (made ya look, gentlemen) may be genetic predisposition, a donut habit, bad posture, Mars in retrograde, any number of a thousand thousand conditions, some of which we can control, some of which we can’t. Some, we can negotiate, if we’re willing to work hard enough. Even Oprah got a massive amount of weight off, but her natural set point isn’t barely over a hundred pounds. Some negotiations don’t stick because the body is not made that way.

Which brings me to this ad. First of all, if you are female, you’re likely to carry belly fat low. A few kids? We may have seen photos of women who have given birth who got their six pack back. Kindly, they had it to begin with. These folks are fitness models. That six pack may need maintenance, but due to their fat content it’s who they are. How they were made. Besides, please, if they’re fitness models, body maintenance is what they do for a living. Most of us don’t possess the kind of time it takes to put hours every day in, especially when we have jobs/kids/parents, and perhaps, at times, would like to also have a life.

Men tend to get a spare tire, which could be the result of poor posture, a worse donut habit than my BF’s, family genetics (which sometimes can be dealt with, but not always) and well, a romance with a remote.

To get a good solid read on very common myths and misunderstandings about belly fat, I recommend

My boyfriend, who is stocky and powerful, was a champion all-natural (meaning no steroids) bodybuilder in his twenties. At best, he had a four pack. At best. That had everything to do with his build, his genetics and his squared- off body. To get that, the dieting regime was brutal, and completely unsustainable as a lifestyle. That’s why so many bodybuilders die young.

I see people slam their abs every day in the hopes of getting that magical six pack. It ain’t gonna happen. Why? Because targeted, so-called “spot training” doesn’t work. The body pulls calories from the entire body. Fat from the entire body. So if you want a lean set of abs, you have to get a lean body. That means changing what you eat every single day. Here’s another great article which, if you are really, deadly serious, you might read with a good laugh. However it’s highly instructive about what your abs are, how they work and how to get better versions of them:

But people, here’s the piece. My ex-husband, who with his identical twin was a national champion gymnast, got his fat content down to 2%. That’s simply extraordinary. For a reference point, see Under normal circumstances, you’d think he’d be ripped. He was as smooth as a peach. Why? He’s part Guamanian. Those Pacific Islander genes have a lot to do with where and how fat is stored. His coach harangued him all the time- yet there was nothing he could do. You look at the All-Blacks rugby team from New Zealand which is largely made up of Pacific Islanders and they all have that massive, big-boned, smooth look. If you didn’t know better, you’d call them fat. Until one of them steamrolled you over and you found out just how much power was in those immensely strong bodies. There’s a very good reason many of them land in the NFL.

The author at 64

After 45 years in the gym and a body so lean that my veins pop out all over me (a look that we bodybuilders are right proud of by the way), I can at times see the faint outlines of that six pack. It’s there, it’s strong. But I cannot, will not, go to extremes any more, and honestly could care less about trying to achieve what my body doesn’t easily give me. The cost is too high. I have small skin rolls here and there because I used to be 205 lbs. That’s called life. It took me four long decades to get this body, and unbelievable hard work. Most people couldn’t possibly- and wouldn’t want to- sustain the kinds of workouts I do which are targeted towards my adventure travel, not bragging rights. I have the time, and it’s part of what I do professionally. A deeply cut six pack is unattainable — at least at a price I’m willing to pay. ‘Taint worth it.

Besides, bodybuilders who have them are likely within a day or so of competition. Go see them a few days later and see what water intake and a few thick sandwiches will do to that crisp outline. The BF, who is staring down the big five-oh, is still in supremely good shape, is not likely to ever see his four pack again. Especially if I keep bringing home a six pack of glazed, raspberry filled Krispy Kremes. It’s all he can do just to keep his belly from expanding with that kind of caloric whammy.

So you want a six pack, do you? Think again. It’s fine to want a great many things. It also makes sense to understand what is actually available given your body type, what you are willing to give up simply to be able to jerk up your shirt in public for bragging rights. Sure it would be great. But not at such high cost, when simply being fit for your body type, your age, and your natural weight set point is a vastly more reachable and reasonable goal.