Why Your Ab Routine Is Failing (and How to Fix it)

Why Your Ab Routine Is Failing and How to Fix it Highland Park Athletic Training Gym

Most of the country has just finished 2 years of being shut-in.  The quarantine-15 isn’t just a convenient rhyme; it’s packed with a simple truth… It was hard to stay fit with everything shut down.

Gyms and fitness centers closing or having limited access certainly played a role, but also simple things we overlook like a pickup game of basketball, playing indoor soccer on Thursday nights, or coaching your kids’ teams stopped giving everyone an outlet to get out and move.  So, according to Harvard Health, over 38% of people put on extra weight.

Why Your Ab Routine Is Failing and How to Fix it Highland Park Athletic Training GymSo here we are, with warm weather just around the corner.  It’s time to get serious about looking good in that swimsuit.  And the first place everyone seems to look is their abs.

Conventional wisdom and your high school coach probably told you to do crunches to get a flat stomach.  How’s that working out for you?

The Truth About Crunches

The truth is, crunches don’t get you a flat stomach.  In fact, your abs routine, in isolation, isn’t likely to give you great abs either.  The exercises that you’re doing can make your stomach muscles and core stronger and more muscular.  What they can not do is specifically target the undesired visceral fat.  That’s not how the body works.

When you’re operating at a caloric deficiency, that is, you’re burning more calories than you are taking in, then you will begin to lose weight.  Some of that weight will be fat, and that fat will come from locations all around your body, not just your abs.

In other words, if you want to make those abs look great, you’re going to have to burn fat from all over your body, not just your belly.  We have two dials to turn up the heat on fat.

Dial one: Diet

Managing the calories you intake is mission-critical.  You don’t have to be perfect, and yet, you also cannot pretend what you eat is separate from your weight; they are closely linked.  If you’re struggling with finding a diet that is right for you, we recommend talking to a personal trainer or a professional nutritionist.  The training staff at Extreme Studio Performance can help point you in the right direction.

Dial two: Activity

The second part of getting the beach body you want is burning those calories.  The first step is just getting active again.  If staying active has always been natural for you because you’ve been on rec sports teams or playing pickup ball, then getting back in the swing of things can be surprisingly tough.  It’s even tougher when the things you think should help (i.e. crunches, situps, etc) aren’t helping…

Use Large Muscle Groups

The energy you expend and the calories you burn are strongly related to the amount of weight you’re moving, the size of the muscle you’re using, and overloading the muscle you’re using.  Ironically, it turns out that focusing on areas outside of your abs can actually speed up how quickly you reach your body goals.

When you push your legs, chest, and back, you’ll burn more calories and build muscle faster.  And those bigger muscles will bump your resting metabolism and use even more calories.   Don’t think you’re neglecting your abs though; many of the exercises you do for other muscle groups will also touch on your abs as well.  And of course, you can also hit your abs with some real burner exercises too.

Feel the Cardio Burn

Cardio is another big calorie burner.  There are countless classes (and boot camps) and machines that offer you a variety of activities to keep cardio interesting and exciting.  Failure to continue a cardio routine is often accompanied by boredom, lack of variety, and lack of accountability.  You’ll get farther faster in the right environment with the right people around you.

If you’re ready to get those pre-COVID abs (or better), then stop by Extreme Studio Performance.  We offer a complimentary consult with a personal trainer.  The ESP community is supportive of all the gym members and will jump in to help guide you in your fitness journey, with our without a personal trainer at your side.  This place will change you if you let it.