My Secret Recipe For Six Pack Abs: Part 1
I have always been active, but I haven't always been in good shape.
Truth be told, I never would have described myself as "muscular" or "toned" or "in shape" until the last few years. I was "skinny," "tall," and "lanky."
I have always been "the tall girl." I started high school at 5'11 and 7/8" (also known as six foot, but us tall ladies tend to round down) and I was all legs. At the end of seventh grade, I hit a growth spurt where I grew nine inches in a little less than a year. Needless to say, my resemblance to a baby gazelle was remarkable (see below).
Despite being super lean, I was not toned. I ran all the miles, and did every type of sit up under the sun, but I didn't have "abs." Instead, I had many protruding ribs and a little snack pack of belly fat hanging out around my belly button. My abs, or lack thereof, made me incredibly self conscious. I remember always trying to hide them with a loose shirt or holding my hand over my stomach whenever I sat.
"WHY IS THIS SO HARD?!"
I asked myself that question often, especially after doing 400 crunches and only eating three graham crackers that day.
Why was it that when I looked in the mirror, I couldn't see my abdominal muscles? I was doing everything right, right?
L.O.L. Wrong. 120% wrong.
Y'all, I'm going to give it to you straight. Your abdominals' appearance (or lack thereof) are linked to your genetics, at least to some point. In the same way that I will never be a natural blonde because it isn't in my genes, I will never have abs without effort. No one in my nuclear or extended family has defined abs. It's not in our genes.
But if you've ever taken a science class, you know that our bodies, minds, and emotions do not result exclusively from genetics. Environment plays a major role in how we look, act, and think!
Through a lot of trial and error, I have overcome my genetics and built a strong core (read: different from "abs") that is more or less "defined." And here's the secret...you can, too.
Today, I am giving you the first ingredient of four in my secret recipe for building a defined "six pack." If you're ready to finally get the abs you've always wanted, stay tuned over the next four weeks! This is good stuff, y'all.
"Abs Are Made In The Kitchen"
I hate this phrase, but it is so true, y'all. The fact of the matter is that you are a human, and as a human, you have a transverse abdominis, a rectus abdominus, and internal and external obliques (aka what we commonly refer to as your core or abs). Whether or not you can see them is dependent upon how much belly fat is "keeping them warm."
Belly fat is highly linked to your nutrition. When I hit puberty, I started to gain weight around my lower abdomen and hips (like everyone else in my family). I was still extremely skinny, but all of my fat sat in my belly. Part of that was genetic, but the other part was that I was starving myself and when I did eat, I was eating the wrong foods.
My metabolism was holding on to fat for dear life like, "hey, Claire, feed me! I'm starving over here!" The best place to store it so it wouldn't go anywhere was in my belly and because I was terrified to eat, that's where it stayed for years.
Over the years, I tried every fad diet in the book. None of them worked. I began doing strength work in the gym and changed up my exercise routine. Still no abs.
That all began to change when I started to learn about nutrition and macronutrients and how to eat for my body composition goals. I didn't have to eliminate any food groups (for weight loss purposes). I didn't have to starve myself. In fact, I was eating more calories than I ever had before. I started eating for my body type, activity level, goals, and preferences, and this crazy thing happened. I started losing my belly fat.
As my belly fat began to disappear, my abs started to show. It was the coolest magic trick I'd ever seen. I wasn't looking at my ribs or at a jello-y snack pack...I was seeing my muscles! The leaner and more muscular my core became, the more motivated I was to make my nutrition changes a lifestyle.
It may not be what you want to hear, but if you want to see defined abs in your swimsuit, you have to get serious about your nutrition.
I'm not going to tell you, "eat this, or eat that!" There is no magic food group that makes it happen. I'm also not going to tell you that you need "x carbs : y protein : z fat." What works for me may not work for you because our bodies have different needs.
You need a nutrition plan that is perfectly customized to you.
Luckily, I can help you there. My favorite part of being a personal trainer and nutrition coach is creating custom nutrition plans for my clients.
Maybe you don't want to count macros. That's great! I can create meal plans for you that don't require you to count a calorie, carb, protein, or fat gram. I will do that part for you and give you all the tools you need to eat like you're tracking every gram.
Maybe you DO want to count macros. That's great! I can teach you the in's and out's of tracking macros so that it becomes intuitive. Before you know it, not only will you not need to track, you will hit your macros without even thinking about it.
Maybe macros aren't your thing at all and you just want to stop letting food control you. Great! I can help you with that. Emotional eating is a hard habit to break BUT it is not impossible. If you want to change, don't be shy! Reach out and ask for help! That's what I'm here for.
Whether your goal is getting six pack abs or taking back control of your health, don't wait another day! Become a nutrition client by filling out a Client Inquiry Form or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned next week for My Recipe for Six Pack Abs: Part 2!