PT on the Net Research

Flatter Abs


Question:

I am looking for several suggestions on how to tighten up the rectus abdominus region. Is there something that will create a flatter look for this region?

Answer:

There are hundreds of gyms, spas and health clubs in this country today. More people are "exercising" today than ever before. There are countless personal trainers, exercise magazines, books and TV shows. All of this has resulted in about a million variations of the "crunch." Any fitness/performance professional who has been in the industry long enough has undoubtedly encountered that club member/client who "works out" twice a day four to seven times a week and has seen little to no progress for months! Yet, despite all of this "exercise," the average club member remains less than satisfied with the results or lack there of. This can only mean one thing: it means more than exercise! If it was as simple as exercise, all women would have flat tummies, and all men would have six packs!

Becoming leaner is simply a by product of achieving optimal health. Achieving optimal health begins with one frequently overlooked area in fitness: nutrition. There is growing research to support the idea that eating for your metabolic type can provide awesome benefits, whether your goals are aesthetic and/or health related.

One man's food can be another man's poison. We all need a full spectrum of nutrients. But different people have genetically programmed requirements for different amounts of various nutrients. It is these differing genetically based requirements that explain why a certain nutrient can cause one person to feel good, have no effect on another and cause a third person to feel worse. Believe it or not, obesity is a sign of malnourishment. Overweight people are literally starving for the right kinds of foods and nutrients to satisfy their hunger and normalize their metabolism. When you eat according to your metabolic type, it is entirely possible that you can:

There are a few other items to consider here. Maintaining a healthy digestive system is critical. So much of the processed over-carbed garbage our society calls "food" is causing serious digestive dysfunction by way of food allergies and chronic inflammation of the gut in many people. (NOTE: Ninety percent of all disease begins in the colon!) When digestive health is waning, it makes burning fat a tough job.

As far as "flattening" the abs, the "pooch" or pot belly as it is referred to can be deceiving. A skin fold measurement of this area on some individuals may be very low, yet the "pooch" remains, most likely due poor gut health and inflammation that has reflexively inhibited the deep abdominal wall musculature (core) and allowed the altered posture to occur. So you see, poor nutrition and digestive health can literally make exercise futile.

If you or your clients have struggled with this area as many have, I highly recommend doing your own research to get a more in depth perspective. Begin with what I've listed below. Each one of these references has its own set of references and so on.

Remember, nothing in the body occurs in isolation! 

References:

  1. Chek, P. (2001). Flatten Your Abs Forever. C.H.E.K Institute, CA. Video-Lecture.
  2. Wolcott, W.L. (2000). The Metabolic Typing Diet.
  3. Sears, Jonathan. (2002). Why Our Health and Vitality are Being Destroyed by Our Present Food Supply.
  4. Hittner, Noah. (2003). Want Abs? (Parts 1 & 2)