I’m sure you have come across or at least heard of the phrase… “abs are made in the kitchen” at some point in your life. And I have to say, out of all the fitness rules that can be argued, i.e. what cardio is the best fat burner etc. the fact that “abs are made in the kitchen” isn’t one of them.
The foods you choose to eat on a daily basis and the diets that you follow are directly linked to how your stomach or abdominals will look. So, when it actually comes down to it, whatever you are consuming on a day-to-day basis will be the deciding factor of whether you have a flat, chubby, toned or defined stomach.
The four main components that are directly linked to having toned abs are:
- Body fat %
Muscularity will determine the size of your abdominal muscles and how fat your body can get before they disappear…. Ultimately, this links in with your body fat percentage (%). For more information about body fat %, you might be interested in having a quick read about “How Lean Should You Be?” where the table below is explained and summarised: http://www.builtlean.com/2010/08/03/ideal-body-fat-percentage-chart/
Genetics determine the shape your abs will take when there is minimal body fat. Each individual’s stomach will vary from one to the next due to different intersections formed from your genetics. If you have ‘good’ genes as people say, i.e. you don’t have to do much work for your abs to show – then you are BLESSED, honestly. Finally, your diet will determine how you lose belly fat and therefore expose your abdominal wall – everyone has one! It’s just the actual getting one to show thats the tricky part!
Firstly, I’m going to stop you right there if you think doing 15-20 crunches in the morning (even if it is every morning 2/3 times) is going to get you a flat, toned stomach with those abs that you want on show. Abs are made in the kitchen. Whether your abs are visible to you or not, this is all dependant on your body fat % and where this fat is stored. Most of the fat we consume and have in our body is present under the skin, also known as subcutaneous fat shown in the diagram below.
Fat stores will be dependant on the sex of a person. As you are probably aware, women have a higher percentage of subcutaneous fat. There are many reasons for this with one being ‘biological’ – so its nothing to worry about! For most women, a high percentage of subcutaneous adipose (fat) tissue surrounds the waist, breasts, hips and gluteals. Whereas men have a higher percentage of subcutaneous fat around their abdomen, chest and gluteals.
So, if having your abs on show is to do with body fat %, this means it has to be related to your diet, as what you are eating day in day out has a direct impact on how much and where you fat is stored. Healthy, nutritious foods will make this process much easier and will be less likely to contribute to fat gain. The minimal intake of sugary foods, i.e. cakes, chocolate, salad dressing, granola bars and dried fruit will be key, as you don’t want your insulin to spike with those calories being stored as fat.
Its not an over night process, or even a few weeks work to see some abs. It takes persistent effort and the motivation to eat well to see results!