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At the Gym, Motivation

Do crunches only give you disappointment instead of a six pack?

“For the body to reduce fat content enough to actually appreciate the muscles you’ve worked so hard to show off, it has to be absolutely convinced that you can safely get by with a low body fat percentage,” said Paul Chek.

As the human body uses body fat for energy (ideally reserve), production of heat (thermogenesis) and overall protection, convincing our bodies to eliminate a layer of protection — which it may not consider excessive — requires not only the right exercise but the right foods. According to Chek, “most people working for a washboard stomach are making one or more major mistakes in their application.” Chek is the founder of the Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology Institute, based in California.

Well defined abdominal muscles, or “abs” as they are commonly called, provide the core support structure for the upper body. They affect body posture, torso shape and will promote a healthy back. The basic principles for developing and, more superficially, displaying the abdominal muscles are a combination of genetics, diet and exercise.

A SIDE-NOTE: Why I Chose To Use a Photo of an Overweight Person Doing Sit Ups

I could’ve chosen to use a photo of a fit person — with washboard abs — doing sit ups, but that isn’t how they got their washboard abs. The photographer knows that, every fitness professional knows that, the person with the abs knows that. The only person who doesn’t know that, is an overweight person (aka fat person). Now, back to our blog post…

The rectus abdominis is the most superficial abdominal muscle. It accounts for the six-pack “washboard” abs many men desire. This is the muscle most people attempt to isolate when performing abdominal exercises. Although anatomic variations affect the appearance of abs, resulting in either eight muscle segments (an “eight-pack”), or sometimes even ten, the abdominal muscle’s function remains the same; core and breathing (respiratory) support.

As the abdominal muscles are protected by body fat, the only way to get them to show is to reduce one’s overall body fat composition. However, most people quickly become frustrated after doing countless sit-ups and crunches achieving only disappointment instead of a washboard stomach.

“No matter how hard you exercise, your chances of reducing the fat around your mid-section will be reduced in proportion to how toxic your body is” says Chek. If we were to stop and not only think about the foods (or synthetic compositions) that we consume, but read the ingredients list of most commercially available foods today, the toxicity levels potentially consumed can be quite staggering.

Chek asserts that “Reducing toxins is dependent upon proper hydration, optimal nutrition, adequate exercise, sound breathing mechanics, and a functional bowel.” These are all basic components of life.

For example, have you noticed how many people consume a Muscle Milk before, after and during their workout? With a brilliant name like Muscle Milk, how could you possibly go wrong? But look at some of the chemicals that I found lurking in Muscle Milk:

  • Maltodextrin – a crispness enhancer and textile finishing agent. Some forms are also used as a binding agent in paper coating formulations.
  • Microcrystalline cellulose – a filler used as a thickener in processed foods. Some derivatives are used in wallpaper paste.
  • Sodium hexametaphosphate – a complex compound used to soften water and some detergents. Applications include agriculture use to break down clay and other soil types.
  • Cholecalciferol - similar in structure to testosterone, cortisol and cholesterol all three are also commonly known as steroids.

And, these are just some of the ingredients. Incidentally the website states that the ingredients in Muscle Milk are meant to “reflect the nitrogen components and ratios found in human mother’s milk.” Now, unless mum took Lamaze at the Chernobyl nuclear facility, the majority of the ingredients in most post-workout supplements (which is what Muscle Milk is) are synthetic; quite possibly toxic to the human body.

I suppose ingesting in small quantities may be harmless, but I can assert that the brilliant name alone is responsible for many guys’, striving for six pack abs, drinking at least one Muscle Milk a day, especially following their workout. The majority of whom probably are still striving, and probably uncertain as to why it is simply not working. Moreover, Muscle Milk contains a whopping 340 calories, 150 of which come from fat (there is approximately 185 calories in one plain donut, fyi).

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  • This is a great article. I always strive to develop my abs and gladly I improved a lot for the past weeks and learning some hard workouts at gave me an edge. It’s just motivation and perseverance!

    Sebring Max

    5:43 am

  • Crunches help only problem is most people do them incorrectly. True diet is 99% of abs, crunches will build the muscle. But yeah, your right.

    Michael H

    5:39 pm

  • Oh so that explains it! LOL

    Jennifer (Jen) from Facebook ;-)

    5:38 pm

  • Nice Stefan ;)

    Ehap Adel

    5:28 pm

  • If doing crunches give me six pack, why not? But that’s not what I’m up for. I just want to reduce my muffin top and look healthy. No need for abs. I respect what you do and you should keep doing that, but each person, trying to exercise and trying on diets have different goals. My weight loss wars kept me driven and now, I’m seeing some progress which is good.

    John Slater

    12:53 am

  • Helpful but I don’t think that doing crunches will do harm. It helps. I agree with your point about diet and I guess most people will assume that crunches will make the muscle bigger.

    Janice Wiedemann

    7:43 pm

  • Since I have changed my eating habits to mostly include non-packaged fresh foods I have naturally lost weight and have kept it off without working out for hours on end.

    Beth Crum

    4:57 pm

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