One of the most common misconceptions or myths that I have heard is that if you want to lose fat on your stomach, you need to do a bunch of crunches. I am sure at some point in our lives we all have heard that. Want to lose those love handles? Do some oblique work. Want to lose that beer “pouch”, do crunches. I am writing this article to let you know that is not true. You won’t lose those extra inches on your stomach by doing abs every day. That is not how a toned body is achieved, not completely anyway. So in this article, I will explain why this is a myth, and how we can truly achieve a defined and toned body.
Let’s start with the very basics: localized fat loss is not a thing. You cannot choose where you lose your fat from. Your body takes the fat from wherever is more readily available, but you have no control over it. Often times the area that seems to lose fat first in the stomach. However, that is not always the case, and doing tons of abs every day is not going to get you to lose body fat in that area quicker. What really causes fat loss is a calorie deficit. This means that we burn more calories than we consume so that the body is forced to use the fat stored in our bodies to keep up with the energy demands. So the first step into having a six-pack or visibly toned muscles is to get rid of the fat that hides them.
With that being said, let me clarify that I am not saying that ab exercises don’t help at all. They do. Training a muscle often usually leads to hypertrophy. A big and strong muscle will show more easily than a small muscle once the fat is not there anymore. Exercise will also contribute to calorie expenditure as a whole, which should help maintain a caloric deficit. Once we are able to lose fat, the muscles will naturally show. So what is the trick? Do not train a single muscle group if you are looking to “tone” up. What will really help you with muscle definition is using training modalities that have you burning a lot of calories, such as HIIT. The body will start burning fat and eventually, it will use the one from the areas you want to focus on. So, do you want abs? Make sure to lower your body fat percentage before trying any crazy ab routines every day. None of those will work unless you can get rid of the fat that is covering them. Once the fat is gone, then you can certainly focus on getting the muscle bigger and stronger so it shows even more.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.