You are following a strict diet, spending hours in gym and doing everything that is recommended or suggested, but still struggling to make the belly pooch disappear? It can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening. And, the biggest obstacle in sculpting a flat tummy is that most of the so called expert tips on diet and workout routines are factually wrong and aren’t backed by logic. In fact, these tips are keeping you from reaching your goals.
Sculpting sexy six pack abs being one of the most common fitness objectives, there is lot of pseudo-knowledge doled out by keyboard philosophers and couch experts. So, you need to sieve through it all to find the valuable grains of knowledge. And, in this article, we aim to do just that by revealing five myths, which can be sabotaging your fitness routine.
Carbs are bad
It has been often seen that most fad diets are in essence super-restrictive diets, in which you will have to refrain from entire food group. And, usually the carbohydrates are painted as biggest culprits in weight gain. Although, it is understandable to steer clear of the simple carbohydrates, but the decision to cut away all carbohydrates from the diet is foolish and ill-informed. It won’t be beneficial for your weight loss program in any way.
One of the many drawbacks of the super-restrictive diets is that it significantly reduces your energy levels, which is always a bad news for your gym workout. Without a healthy carbohydrate intake, it is impossible to work at your peak fitness. In fact, the carbohydrates are your body’s main energy source. The vital organs such as heart, brain, kidneys and muscles all need carbohydrates to function.
The carbohydrate lacking diet is likely to cause side effects such as mood swings, nausea, dizziness, weakness and depression as your body will try to make up for the sudden lack of fuel. Plus, the lack of carbohydrates forces your body into ketosis, a state in which fat and protein are burned for fuel instead of carbohydrates. In this state, your body will produce compounds called ketones that among other things can show up in your saliva and cause bad breath. Also, as your brain runs out of the glucose to power its normal functioning, you might feel your thinking has got foggy.
You need carbohydrates from fruits, grains, and starchy vegetables to support bodily functions and to fuel your gym sessions. The complex carbs are also crucial for the muscle repair and recovery. So, by all means, skip simple carbohydrates with high glycemic index, but don’t make a blunder by swearing of all carbs.
Only six pack matters
People often commit a mistake by focusing solely on the core muscles that makes up the six packs – the upper abs, middle abs and lower abs. However, you have to consider the fact that your core includes all the muscles from just below your hips up to your ribs and to develop stunning midsection, you will have to work all these muscles.
The lower back muscles are especially important. Not only, they are vital for a good posture, but will make you automatically look slimmer. The oblique muscles are vital as well. The internal and external oblique muscles give your midsection the chiseled and athletic look. They are especially important for creating the famed v-line abs, which are characterized with tapering ripped look. Plus, the oblique muscles that run at an angle, pull your waist in. So, basically, they work as a natural closet, however, you don’t have to worry about bruised ribs.
Workout is more important than diet
Many believe as long as they are working hard in the gym, they can get away with not-so-strict diet plan. But, doing endless crunches and leg raises and sweating in to build harder and stronger core muscles is useless as long as layer of fat is covering your midsection. Everyone has abs, well at least four pack abs, but usually they are obscured by the fat resting on the middle. And, there is no workout strategy that can help you torch weight without following proper diet. To burn fat, you need to create calorie deficit between calories you are burning and calories you are consuming. So, no matter, how long and how hard you are working in the gym, the 500-calorie chocolate pastry after the workout will always hold you back.
Plus, you need a steady stream of protein and complex carbs to fuel your workout regime and mend the micro tears in the muscle fibers as the result of grueling workouts. So, load up on fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains to give your body the right nutrients. Also, include digestion friendly food items such as yogurt and papaya and potassium-rich options like avocado, bananas, and salmon. Also, keep an eye on your daily calorie intake and always keep it within limits.
Train abs at the last
In the gym, you would often notice that the abs exercises are done towards the end. The common reasoning behind this habit is that as you don’t have to lift any heavy weights in the core workout, it won’t need much energy. This reasoning is only sound if you are looking to gain muscle mass and toning midsection is the last thing on your priorities. However, if you are looking to sculpt a flat and hard midsection, the core work should be your top priority in the workout plan.
By doing core work first thing in the gym, you would be able to dedicate your full energy to the abs exercises. You won’t be fatigued and low on energy, which can hamper the quality of the exercise movements. You would be able to work your abs to the ground. Another benefit of doing abs work first is that you will have ample time. It is often seen that due to the lack of time, people rush through the abs exercises.
Crunches carve stunning abs
For years, the crunches have been considered the king of abs exercises. However, like many other perceptions, this can’t be more wrong. Yes, I accept the argument that the crunches are an effective core exercise. However, the effectiveness of the crunches is limited to upper and middle abs. And, to build your core workout solely on the sit-ups and crunches is foolhardy. Also, some experts point out that doing too many crunches and that also too often can be bad for your back health.
To get a well defined core, you should include other exercises as well that will target other muscles apart from upper and middle abs. For the lower abs, consider doing lying leg raises and if your fitness level permits, go for hanging leg raises as well. For the oblique muscles, consider doing exercises that involve movement in the lateral plane. The Russian twist is a perfect example of such an exercise. And, end the workout with the real king of abs exercises – the all important planks. In fact, many fitness experts believe that planks are a key to a chiseled and athletic looking midsection. And, to keep things from getting boring, you can opt to do several different variations of the planks.