If you're like me, you dream of having that perfect celebrity body, including those washboard abs. I heard (through some very unreliable gossip) that Britney Spears does 500 situps per day, so I figured that if I just do that, I will eventually get a perfect midsection. I made it to 22 situps and I couldn't do anymore. So much for that goal. There are so many myths floating around about diet, exercise, and health that it's hard to really pick out which one is right, or more importantly, which one is right for you. The truth is, there is no one answer to getting healthy and getting into shape. It has to be the right combination of diet and exercise. and since we have different physiological make ups, there will be different combinations for different people. I can say that the most important thing you can do to get as close as possible to having washboard abs is exercise. But despite popular belief that doing tons of crunches and situps will melt that midsection belly fat, many people are still frustrated that they have not developed washboard abs. So, why is it so hard?
Every human being actually has the six pack abs, despite your weight, race, height, or gender. The reason that most of us don't see it is because it is covered with a layer of fat (more fat in some than others). Even skinny people have this layer of fat over their abs, which is why a lot of skinny people still don't have the six pack. Getting through this layer of fat is extremely hard, and requires dedication and commitment to extreme dieting and exercise. It is not impossible, but busting that layer of fat is your goal, be ready to put an insane amount of work into your diet and exercise routine. Also, be prepared to accept that you may never see your six pack due to genetics. Genetics is one thing you won't be able to get around. If you are genetically disposed to having a lot of fat in your midsection, you may not be able to see your six pack abs, but it doesn't mean that you can't be healthy and in shape.
So how do you get started on your journey to success? There are two main areas that are going to get you to your six pack. They are diet and exercise. Your diet must consist of low-calorie, high-protein foods. It must be very, very strict. So strict, in fact, that it is not a sensible diet for some people, because it won't provide enough calories to fuel their body throughout their daily activities. It is important to consult with a nutritionist so that they will be able to help you set a sensible diet for yourself. And be prepared to make serious lifestyle changes to handle the decrease in calories. If this isn't an option for you, you could always just accept a nice lean body without the six pack. The second area to washboard abs is exercise. A common myth is that if you do enough exercises that are targeted to your midsection, you will burn the fat there. This myth is not true. You must do total-body exercise in order to cut down your body fat, including the midsection. No matter how many crunches and situps you do, you aren't going to have flat abs if you are overweight, so you must do some type of full body cardio. Pilates is a good exercise because it targets all of the body's muscles, including the hard to reach transversus abdominis (deepest ab muscles). Workout at least an hour for three to four days a week. It is important to keep in mind that you may never be able to see your six pack, but this doesn't mean that you can't get in shape and have an amazing body.
Although it seems impossible to get the washboard abs that celebrities seem to be able to pay for, it is not impossible to get in shape. Being healthy and in shape is much more important that showing of a six pack, and it's also much more realistic and achievable.
John from India on February 28, 2016:
Rightly said Fatima....the marketing mogul and media are glorifying lean muscle bodies
anisfatima on September 25, 2013:
The trend with most fitness fanatics these days is to increase the muscle mass and lose the fats. There was a time when fitness enthusiasts would love to get greater muscle mass and look as bulky as they could.
Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on March 29, 2011:
Sit up and crunches are different - you nailed it! Be careful with sit ups - you must listen to your muscles and if you feel your back engaged, you are engaging the wrong muscles.
Crunches get easier as the muscle develop - push through it and you will have a more efficient and effective workout.
Abs are great but the entire body loves exercise - mind and soul. Create a routine that works for you.
The midsection myth you mention is very true - without cardio and diet you will not see results. The abs are really a barometer of your total fitness program. The abs are really your fitness report card complete.
treatmental on March 19, 2011:
sit ups are fairly easy, I think if I really wanted I could do 200 max in a single day, but crunches kill me! I wont do any if I can avoid it :)