Ladies, before you follow the #fitspiration hashtag on Instagram to fuel your fitness motivations, let us show you what it really means to be healthy.
by Brenda Lau
At BMT, we are all about dispelling myths and giving you the facts to create a healthier you, the right way. That is why this is a topic close to our hearts. We see many of our ladies striving to get those six-pack abs because they want to feel and look "healthier". But is that the true definition of healthiness?
We are going to lay down three facts, that are strictly not meant to be discouraging, but just to make you see the truths of obtaining a set of six-pack abs.
Fact 1: You don't need six-pack abs to be healthy
Surprise, surprise, our abs have always been there, just whether you see it or not. There is no doubt that you need a strong core for full-body support - especially your back. But wanting a very defined and muscular set of abdominal muscles is not an ideal goal, especially for a woman of reproductive age - we are looking at you ladies in your 20-30s!
In fact, you will mess up your menstrual cycle, have bad skin conditions, destroy your energy levels or metabolism and even put yourself at risk of low bone density, because to see that six-pack abs, you need a 12-13% body fat.
Fact 2: Women are genetically predisposed to have fat around the abdomen
To be healthy, we need a certain amount of "essential fat". This fat necessary for our bodies to function normally. Women in general, require more essential fat as compared to men, for proper hormone regulation and as an emergency resource in the event of pregnancy.
So, when women diet to reach extremely low levels of body fat, it messes up the hormone levels that is related to a range of other problems.
Fact 3: Women have it harder when it comes to building muscle
You may think, since I should not get rid of my essential fat, maybe I can grow my abdominal muscles to make them more prominent. While that may be the case, it is actually easier said than done.
When it comes to muscle growth, testosterone is one of the primary drivers, but something women have in lower levels when compared to men. Therefore, it is not as easy.
I still want those abs!
Again, there is NOTHING WRONG with wanting those defined abs (at least once in a lifetime right?), but perhaps you should re-calibrate your goals. Unless you have great genes, you have to be extremely disciplined with your diet and lifestyle.
Having been through the journey myself, I can tell you a shocking truth; that those abdominal exercises are useless unless you take care of your diet. I trialed a few 4-week programs that BMT's head coach, Prince, created. Our conclusion: Diet and mental strength is of extreme importance.
You need to be mentally (and financially) prepared to phase out sugars, carbs and processed foods, which are easily found everywhere. Vegetables, quality proteins and healthy fats are your best friends. Even fruits are to be kept at a distance (because, sugar).
To boost your mind-body connection and reduce cortisol levels which are responsible for stress, quality sleep for at least 7 hours was important. Avoiding coffee and getting in plenty of a variety of exercises, mixed in with rest days were also part of the secret.
While there is more emphasis on diet, a good workout plan with a mix of HIIT cardio, strength sessions, and core shaping exercises is also needed.
And the biggest secret: Patience and persistence. Results are not going to be obtained in a week or two. Even in four weeks, with my extreme discipline, I only achieved a faint outline. Never rush it as your hormone regulation will go into shock and you will face a series of health problems.
So, a defined set of abs is definitely possible, but for me, I resigned to my love for bubble tea and matcha desserts. After all, once in a lifetime is enough.
Want a set of six-pack abs? With various programmes catered for all body types, let us offer our expertise. Just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!