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Are abs made in the kitchen?

This much-touted statement is answered with a no, and a yes. The bottom line is to get a strong set of abs; you must consistently train them. And then yes, what happens in the kitchen matters, if you want your Abs to show. There’s a saying in the fitness world that you can’t out-train a bad diet, so if you want a lean body that shows your six-pack, you’ve got to watch what you eat. We all know someone who barely works out, eats like crap and still has a six-pack. This is because genetically they have lower body fat and more muscle mass, either from past training or again genetics. These folks are the rarity.

For most of us, the kitchen comes into play. Years of overeating can lead us to have belly fat. Keep in mind that hormones and stress plays a huge role in producing belly fat, so your high-stress lifestyle could be adding weight to your midsection.

Did you know that fitness models do what’s called a shred before they compete? A shred consists of lowering their calories, upping their cardio and even allowing themselves to dehydrate before the competition. The purpose of a shred is to show muscle definition. So, they don’t look like that every day. It’s a known fact that after the competition they can’t wait to “eat” again and often rush out for a big meal. So if you are comparing yourself to a picture of a fitness model that’s shredding, you need to be realistic.

When we think of abs, we often only focus on the rectus abdominis, which is the one that gets the defined six-pack many people covet. But the core is made of up of more muscles. It also includes your transverse abdominis (the deepest internal core muscle that wraps around your sides and spine), erector spinae (muscles in your lower back), and the internal and external oblique’s (muscles on the sides of your torso). So having a strong core means working these muscles through a variety of exercises that target them directly or indirectly. In fact, some of the best, most efficient core exercises are ones that work the entire muscle group at once.

So give up on those endless ab crunches, which play havoc on your lower back and look to functional movements like planks, thrusters and even dead lifts to create real core stability and strength. Add a Pilates class to your weekly workout, eat a variety of greens, lean proteins and watch your alcohol intake. Genetics plays a role in getting a six-pack, so work towards functional strength and feeling good about your body.

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Sheree Nicholson is the owner of Live With Spirit Yoga & Fitness studio in Whitby, Ontario. She has a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell University and is working on her Masters in Metaphysics. Sheree holds certifications in Advanced Yoga, Pilates, Reebok Spinning and Kettlebell training. This benefits you as she focuses on functional movement, strength and weight loss.

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