I used to have this picture in my wall for inspiration. I told myself, "Damn if only I did planks every day, I'd look like this."
Now I will see things like this and scream internally because it's bullshit. You aren't going to get abs like that woman by just doing those body-weight exercises—unless you want to eat < 1000 calories a day.
Why don't i train abs?
1. I'm in a calorie deficit
You might have heard this phrase: "Abs are made in the kitchen". Unfortunately, it doesn't mean abs are made by stuffing your face with chocolate cake (oh I wish...) It means that focusing on your diet and eating at a calorie deficit is going to give you that six-pack ab look you're dying for.
The common mistake with many people is believing you need to "get abs". Well the good news is that we already have "abs". The real problem is the fat hiding them. Men will show abs when they are at 10-12% body fat or lower. Women will show abs when they are at 20-22% body fat or lower. It's much harder for women to lose fat.
Check out these examples from CBS's Survivor. The contestants are on an island barely eating and not building any muscle, but look how their abs look from start to finish:
2. i do compound exercises
Compound exercises work a combo of muscle groups at the same time. I'm talking squats, dead-lifts, and bench press. Isolation exercises, ones which work a specific muscle group, include barbell curls, lateral raises, and leg extension to name a few.
I am always using my ab muscles when I lift weights, whether or not I intend to. To keep proper form and balance, it's key to keep the core tight.
For example, if I do a ton of ab-only exercises, the next day I can feel when my abs are working during other exercises because of how sore they are. I was surprised to find how sore my lower abs were during lat-pull downs. The abs are always working!
3. ab exercises are boring
I've given up any type of exercise that I don't enjoy. The days of taking spin classes and hating myself are over. Forcing myself to do 60 second planks is no longer on my priority list.
*I will only do ab exercises when I have the time or extra energy after my weight-lifting routine.
For ab exercises, my favorites include: planks, hanging leg raises, and stability ball knee tucks (in a push up position with feet on the ball (laces down on ball) and bring your knees to your stomach).
Now that I've worked my ass-off for the past 1.5 years, I officially have kind-of-sort-of abs, depending on the time of day. But they're becoming more visible every day and it's pretty cool to see the transformation.
I’m not one for posting half-naked pics of me but I felt like I should provide some evidence of where I’m at. ••• I started weight training in May 2016. I was 67kg (147lbs), never touched a barbell in my life or tracked calories. I thought running, planks, and 600cal protein shakes were what made you skinny. ••• 1.5 years later, I weight train 5x a week, track my calories, and weigh 57kg (125lbs). My goal is to get to a body fat % I’m happy with and then maintain it by eating more and building muscle. 🏋🏻♀️ ••• Here’s my stomach this morning. I’m absolutely overjoyed—not by this photo, but by what it proves. It proves that hard work pays off. This is hard work I could only achieve *on my own*. I’m proud of myself. ••• This is why people train—to prove they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.