Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym!

Posted: February 11, 2012 in Exercise, Fitness, Nutrition
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Client:   “Jason, what’s the best exercise to get a six pack for summer?”

Jason:   “Do lunges into the kitchen, snatch the box of Coco-Puffs out of the cupboard and then tricep-press it into the trash can.”

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that question, I would be writing this blog from the cabin of my G5.  The cover of every single fitness magazine purports to have the “Answer to your tight, toned midsection” on page 73.  Crunches, side bends, the infamous Ab-Lounger, along with all of the rest of the ridiculous exercises that are claimed to magically squeeze the fat off of your core, are outstanding examples of the brilliant psychology of popular media at work.  Those brilliant advertisers know exactly what the common consumer is looking for and with the help of a contest ready model and few key words, they lure you into buying the newest issue of “Muscular Mythology Monthly.”

The very nature of being human is to subconsciously seek the path of least resistance. Everyone wants the quick fix, the easy way out and it isn’t because they are consciously choosing to be lazy; it is because their own bodies are seeking homeostasis.  Although I often joke about the fact that in America we have remote controls for our car stereos, (I don’t want to have to reach that extra 13 inches to change the station) it is just a sign of the times, that we as humans are always seeking to find a way to get the job done with less effort.  With that being said, despite the common consensus, if you want to change your body in either form or function, you have to EARN it by forcing the body to change.  This begins with understanding how our amazing bodies actually work.

I am not going to bore you to death with a physiology or biochemistry lesson, but I will give you a simple analogy to help with this whole “6-pack” debacle.  The average American is ignorantly of the belief that if one works the muscles of the midsection, the overlying fat (read: muffin top or spare tire) will magically disappear.  The truth is there is no such thing as spot reduction of fat.  Well, unless you have a really sharp pair of scissors, but that is another blog altogether.  The ridiculous belief that working a muscle in a given area will reduce the fat on top of it, is just as ridiculous as the notion that pressing the gas pedal in your car will engage the brakes.  Just because the gas pedal and brake pedal are REALLY close to each other, doesn’t mean they have any interaction what so ever.   If this thought process held true, auctioneers would have the most chiseled faces in the world.   The most entertaining part of this whole scenario is that, while there is no such thing as spot reduction, there IS such thing as spot increase.  So all the crunches and side bends in the world won’t decrease the flab on your belly, but it WILL increase the muscle in that part of your body, thereby pushing your fat out further and making you look 8 months pregnant.  Unless that is your goal, I would say stop trying to squeeze the fat off and maybe eat a little less food so you lose fat all over your entire body.

But what do I know, I don’t even have my own personal jet…

  1. Spot reducing is the biggest farce that never goes away in the fitness industry. It drove me mad. Uhhh.. inner and outer thigh machines ladies?!?
    Bottom line: If you could spot reduce, people that chewed a lot of gum would have skinny faces.

  2. Matt says:

    Reblogged this on Running from Death and commented:
    Some advice on abs from somebody who does this kind of stuff for a living…

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