We’ve all seen it at the gym or beach, the guy/girl walking around with the perfectly sculpted washboard abs. “That’s not fair, they have good genetics” as you look on with both disgust and admiration. Well, guess what? You’re probably right, genetics can play a part in the overall appearance of the human figure but here’s another little secret you should know.
Are you ready? Listen closely… Believe it or not, you have abs like that too. No, I haven’t been eating paint chips or sniffing glue, it’s true, your abs are just as chiseled as any of the Hollywood studs or starlets you fantasize about. The role genetics plays in the body make-up comes into effect in regards to whether you are a hard gainer or easy gainer (the rate in which you gain or lose weight/fat-free mass).
Every healthy human being has the same bone and muscle structure. Whether you see your 6-pack or not comes down to the size of the subcutaneous (under the skin) and visceral (surrounding your organs) fat cells that call your midsection home. Now that we’ve cleared that up, your next question may sound a little something like this… “So you’re saying I have a 6-pack but have fat covering it, I’ll just focus on abdominal exercises and that’ll take care of that, right?”
Well, not so fast. Yes, doing abdominal exercises will strengthen your abdominal region and yes, that area will become much better conditioned, you’re on the right path. However, before you decide to fast forward your workout and head straight to the ab machines or gym floor grinding away at those crunches and sit-ups, understand that “spot-reduction” is a made up concept by the infomercial industry trying to sell you on the next great thing.
As explained in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, volume 25, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville decided to study this “spot-reduction” concept to find out if it’s really true.
They conducted a controlled group experiment on twenty-four sedentary (very little exercise) individuals that met their testing qualifications. They divided the participants into two groups; one who completed zero abdominal exercises during the testing period. The second group was required to perform 7 abdominal exercises consisting of 2 sets of 10 reps, 5 days a week for 6 weeks.
At the end of the testing, the group that was required to perform abdominal exercises’ test results showed their abdominals were in stronger and in better condition than their baseline test but showed no extra fat loss in their abdominal region compared to the group that did no abdominal exercises.
[box type="important"]Well, it means that you can do 1000 crunches a day but if proper nutrition and cardio is not part of your workout regimen, you’ll have the strongest, best conditioned gut in town with nothing to show for it.[/box]
In summary, everyone has a 6-pack; some are just too shy to come out. Clean up your eating and rev up your cardio and you’ll be just like your favorite movie star, talent and bank account sold separately.