Sentinel Performance LLC

It’s usually the first thing we get told when we meet with someone for the first time during their fitness assessment: “I want to have 6-pack abs.” Each year, millions of people blindly spend money on magazines, fitness gimmicks, and bogus nutrition supplements solely on the fact that these products promise you the flat, rigid stomach that you are “supposed to have.” However, there is one problem: none of these sources that claim to be “the only thing you need to get the body that you want” actually educate the person.

When it comes to achieving a look that allows for your rectus abdominus muscle to show through, there are two main things to keep in mind, one which you can control, and the other you can’t: your body fat and your genetics. When it comes to the former, there are a few variables that you can manipulate that will help put you in position to have the best chance of achieving the look you want. 

Diet:  Any extra calories, in the form of the food we eat, that is not used up through the course of our daily activity will ultimately be stored as fat. Therefore, try to keep your calorie intake managed by getting an understanding of how many calories you actually need per day given your lifestyle and activity level. This way you will have an idea of how much you can eat in a day without going over and putting yourself at risk of having left over calories to be stored as fat. 

Cardiovascular exercise: If you typically live a relatively sedentary life, make sure you get up and take a walk, go jogging or go for a swim as a way to add activity into your schedule. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention require adults to do at least 20min of cardio activity every day just to stay healthy. As we stated before, if extra calories left over to be stored as fat (ie, unused energy) is the main problem we face in order to see the abs we want, then burning those calories (ie, using that energy) must become a primary focus. 

Resistance Training: By building your lean muscle mass through progressive strength training, you are creating a constant fat burning environment inside your body because of the fact that maintaining muscle requires more energy than storing fat. This, over time, raises your metabolism (ie the amount of energy required to power you through your daily life), making you more efficient at using the calories you get from the food you eat, and protecting you from the dangers of over eating. The best way to make your workouts as efficient, and as fat-burning as possible, be sure to work all major muscle groups including your chest, back, legs and glutes.

As you can see, there is a little more effort, discipline, and work that needs to be applied in order to get that coveted 6-pack, and unfortunately, contrary to what marketers would like you to believe, buying the new crunch machine, or shocking your abs with electrical stim pads, or simply doing 1,000 sit ups will never get you to where you want to be. That being said, there is hope. The body is capable of achieving seriously high levels of performance and appearance when it is stimulated and stressed in the appropriate way-the only thing you have to do is ask! 

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