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Fitness Feature

Are abs really made in the kitchen?

“Abs are made in the kitchen” and “you can’t out train a bad diet” are two sayings I’m not a huge fan of. They have an element of truth but not the whole truth. If abs were purely made in the kitchen then everyone with a healthy diet would have abs which we know isn’t the case.

We all have abdominal muscles, they sit under a small layer of fat, and yes if you diet you will eventually lose this fat and your abs will show (this will be at around 6-10% body fat for men and 16-19% body fat for women). Diet alone is not the key, neither is going on long endless runs, burning yourself out at the gym or doing 100s of crunches every day.

By dieting alone you are likely to lose weight but without adding weight training into the mix you won’t be toned. You can’t target where you lose fat from, so please refrain from doing endless crunches. If your body fat is at the required amount then doing crunches will bring some definition but if you are sitting at 25+% body fat then doing crunches is a real waste of your time. There are lots of other exercises you could be doing to get better results in the short amount of time we can find to get to the gym!

Something I get asked a lot is what food should I eat to get abs? There is no particular food you need to eat and this is where the next saying comes in “you can’t out train a bad diet”. Technically you can, as long as you remain in a calorie deficit state then you will continue to lose weight regardless of how you get your calories. You won’t be healthy if your calories are all from takeaway foods as these are not nutrient-dense foods, and you will probably feel exhausted and pretty rubbish but the fact remains you can still be in good shape on the outside.

For those wanting to be fit and healthy on the inside and have abs as a side product then a mix of proteins, carbs, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals is what you should be consuming. Eat more vegetables, nuts, fruit, lean meats and fatty fish. This kind of diet along with a training regime of lifting heavy weights (big compound lifts – using multiple joints and muscles eg. deadlifts/squats/bench press) as well as some interval training or a jog from time to time. This combination will steer you towards that goal and reveal those abs!

How long will it take?

It could be a month or it could be a year ( which may seem like a long time but then how important is it to you?). It depends how much of a calorie deficit you put yourself in and how hard you work. It depends on your starting point, how much effort you put in and how quickly your body decides to burn fat based on the diet and exercise. It is better to start with a tiny deficit and lose weight over a longer period of time as by the time that fat is gone you want a toned/full/muscular body. This gradual approach is more sustainable in the long run and you are also more likely to stick to the changes you have made, making it more likely you will stay in shape.

I think a good comparison we can all picture is a sprinter next to a long-distance runner, they will both eat well, they will both work out in the gym, they will both do cardio but the difference in physique is huge.  Sprinters have abs literally bulging from their body and I assure you this is not from doing hundreds of crunches a day!

If you want abs that are going to stick around, eat food that you love, 80% of it full of nutrients and vitamins and 20% not so much! This doesn’t mean eat 20% rubbish for no reason, but you can still enjoy the foods that aren’t necessarily packed with goodness and reach your goals! Decrease calories slowly over time to the point you don’t even notice anymore. Train appropriately for the type of abs you want, and they will come.

Abs are made in the gym and revealed in the kitchen! You can’t do one properly without the other. If you are looking to reveal your abs then you could have a look at one of our calorie-controlled meal packages to help you reach your goal. We make great tasting meals so getting those abs may not seem like such hard work.

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