Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Flat, Toned, Defined, Abs!

"I want a flatter stomach and more defined abs. I try and work my abs every single day but I can’t seem to get my abs to show, what gives?"

On the same topic as this week's column in the Orangeville Citizen, I will detail below the contributing factors to having a sculpted, toned, "6-pack" that so many of us strive towards. What many people don't know, is that this will take effort in many different aspects such as diet, resistance training, and cardiovascular training.

There is a saying in the fitness industry, “Abs are made in the kitchen.” The truth is, most of us already have a “six-pack” but it may just be hidden under some unwanted body fat. Diet is a very large contributing factor here. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins can go a long way to helping the cause. 

Most people feel that eating "fat" makes you fat, when in fact, there are many different causes that cause body fat, and health fats are actually healthy for you, and needed for your body to function properly. Speaking with your doctor, a nutritional adviser, a dietitian, etc. can help you structure a diet guide that fits your needs.

Overall though, we can all benefit from some simple diet tips. The more vegetables you consume, the more full your belly will feel from the water content and fiber found in your veggies. A diet high in protein helps balance blood sugars, rebuild body tissues (muscle) as well as keeping you feeling "full" longer. Whole grain carbohydrates supply your body with needed energy. Also, try and cut out "junk" whenever possible such as foods high in salt (your body retains more water), sugary foods and drinks (pop, including diet), and any other "empty calories".

Many people feel as though to get good abs, you must work your abs. Well, that is only partly true. It is impossible to spot-reduce fat so you can do crunches until you are blue in the face, but if you do not also have a balanced exercise program that also includes some cardiovascular activity and resistance training, your abs will never begin to show.

We all see those commercials on tv that promise a "slim, sexy tummy" by just 10 minutes a day rocking in an ab chair. Now I am not saying that those things don't work your core, because they might. But that, and that alone will not make you "slim and sexy".

Your body must burn calories in order to shed excess body fat. In order to burn calories, you must follow a program that combines both cardiovascular training and resistance training. Women should not neglect resistance training, as a properly structured resistance routine can actually burn more calories than a cardio routine, not to mention keep your metabolism firing for up to 24 hours after the workout is completed.

Lastly, and I cannot stress this enough. Your abdominal muscles are physiologically like any other muscle in your body. They need sufficient rest time after you work them so doing abs to exhaustion every day of the week is not benefitting you in any way, 2-3 days a week is sufficient.