We all want a flat stomach. This is not possible for most people: due to diet, pregnancy or illness, we are left with a belly that we are not satisfied with. With a flat stomach, many people think of a six-pack: the abdominal muscles are well trained and visible under the skin. You can achieve this with abdominal exercises. But is this also for you?
Why you don’t have a flat stomach
Having belly fat is very normal. Fat protects the organs and provides energy when it is needed. Fat is an extra supply of energy. The body loves to accumulate and store fat: after all, you never know what might happen in the future. Storing fat is therefore a survival mechanism.
We are not born with a flat stomach. Just look at babies and young children: they have a rounded belly. Babies possess baby fat: this fat provides reserves and heat. From the age of four, this baby fat disappears. A normally built person has an abdomen that does not protrude or bulge. The abdomen can be called flat but it is not tight. A tight stomach only comes from training. Most do not have a flat stomach. In our society there is an abundance of food, and we often consume it in abundance. Pregnancy or illness can also cause fat to accumulate around the abdominal organs. A little fat around the abdominal organs is also no problem: it protects the organs from impact. But when the fat continues to accumulate, the body starts to accumulate the fat outside: under the skin. Our bellies are getting bigger and bigger.
Abdominal exercises will not give you a flat or tight stomach
Some people still remember the period: at the end of the 20th century there was a real rush for abdominal muscle machines. These devices, often sold through television programs such as TelSell, promised incredibly toned tummies in just six weeks. The devices sold like hot cakes. Unfortunately, many disappointed customers found that these devices did not do what they promised at all. The second-hand market in these devices was born. These devices are still offered and sold everywhere. Do they work or not?
It’s not that these devices don’t work. Of course, abdominal exercises help train the muscles. And with a flat stomach you will quickly see results. but that’s the problem: most people don’t have a flat stomach. Almost everyone has a small to large layer of fat on their abdomen. No matter how hard you train and how strong your abdominal muscles have become, with a layer of belly fat covering them you won’t see them at all.
Adjust the diet
We keep repeating it, but it is also the reality: by adjusting your diet, you change the fat percentage in your body. Sugars (carbohydrates) in particular are the culprits for a fat percentage that is too high. Many people think that they should immediately remove all fat from their diet, but the body actually needs fat. On average, a healthy diet should consist of 20 to 40% fat. And preferably the unsaturated fats. The body obtains energy from these fats, but also important building materials. Eating an average of 300 to 500 fewer calories per day often achieves a lot. Make sure that the fat percentage does not become too low: this entails health risks and has the additional disadvantage that it reduces your carefully trained (abdominal) muscles.
People don’t do sit-ups anymore these days. Why not? It is a simple and very effective method to train the abdominal muscles. Sit-ups are often no longer done because they are heavy and tiring and the neck muscles are injured. Many people do sit-ups the wrong way: they move their neck and head towards their feet. However, with sit-ups we do not train the neck but the abdominal muscles. Then raise your abdominal muscles and focus your eyes on one point above you. This prevents you from raising the neck. The biggest problem people experience is the difficulty of sit-ups. With untrained abdominal muscles, this exercise is really tiring and impossible to maintain. But as with everything: persistence wins. Anyone who performs a few sit-ups correctly every day will notice that after one week he or she will be able to continue with the exercises much more easily. Don’t forget to train the oblique abdominal muscles by bringing the left elbow and right knee (and vice versa) together. This exercise also does not train the neck muscles. With good nutrition and hard training, a six-pack might be yours too.