The sad truth is, as much as we yearn for a ripped abdominal and lean physique, the pursuit for 6-pack-abs seems nearly as realistic as our quest to stay awake in our Intro to Biology class.
Read: Not likely.
In a similar fashion our failure with fitness boils down to the same aspect holding us back in class, a lack of clear understanding. Luckily, unlike Bio 101 and it’s apparent cure for insomnia, your ever increasing “dad bod” is not something you are stuck with. In fact, changing your body is a much simpler task than most realize.
Today we are going to be covering a handful of half-truth-bullshit that you’ve been fed over the years. Things that, while having value, tend to be completely overhyped or extremely misunderstood.
I may not be able to help with your impending Bio 101 doom (like seriously, what the fuck is a Eukaryote?). But uncovering those Bud Light laden abs?
Yeah, I can help with that.
Half-Truth #1: You have to eat clean.
It is no secret that how you eat directly dictates how your body looks. Nutrition is often quoted as being 80-90% of the game in regards to a supa-shredded physique. And while the importance of Nutrition is an undeniable fact, I do not agree with it simply being painted as a percentage of your success.
Nutrition isn’t a big portion of the game, it is the game. It is the light switch. A yes or no kind of thing.
If you (don’t) eat correctly, you will (not) see results.
Not so ironically, that brings us to the first major misconception on our road to ripped glory (insert fart joke here). Most of us do not actually understand how to eat correctly. At least, not really.
We know that whole wheat foods are probably better than the whiter alternative; because of vitamins or bathroom regularity or something. And we are pretty sure that tuna is healthy because the jacked dude in class keeps breaking out his stinky-ass Tupperware containers midway through a lecture.
But when it comes down to it, we don’t really know what we should be eating to get to where want to be.
Bro Tip: Food quantity > Food Quality
Let’s get something straight, food quality 100% matters. IF you want to live a long and healthy life then making healthy choices is of utmost importance. Don’t devalue this fact. But it’s also important to realize that healthy does not always equal lean. And while they are not mutually exclusive, the manner in which you achieve either is a bit different.
When trying to shed body fat, the amount of food you eat becomes even more important than the types of foods you’re taking in. To accommodate this you need to be tracking your daily food intake (calories). Keeping it high enough that you don’t hate life, but low enough that you see a downward trend in the amount of fat you’re carrying.
Where to start?
10 – 12 calories per pound of target bodyweight.
You can now fit a couple treats into your diet.
The bad news?
You’re still on a diet. Sorry, Champ.
Half-Truth #2: Working your abs will help burn belly fat.
Having spent time in my fair share of gyms, I’ve noticed a rather peculiar phenomenon: That people you see working their abs most frequently, do not actually have a visible abs.
In this situation, we seem to be missing the big picture. Thinking that by giving extra attention to our midsection, we will experience quicker and more drastic changes in that area. Sadly, where we want to lose weight is typically the very last place that we lose it.
Which, in all actuality, might be a good thing.
Other wise, you’d see a lot of these guys running around:
Bro Tip: To lose fat anywhere, you must lose fat everywhere.
Since you cannot choose where your fat loss will occur, your best bet will be to focus on losing fat everywhere. Tracking big measurable changes in your body, like:
- Body Fat %
Sure, getting these measurements to change may take longer than your mom’s 30 minute abs DVD, but I promise you’ll appreciate the end-result much more than our fence-laden friends above.
Half-Truth #3: Cardio is key.
Similar to the fascination with ab work, cardio is an incredibly similar paradox. Walk into any gym though and you’ll quickly notice the people with the best bodies aren’t the ones hitting the elliptical for their daily power hour.
Popular opinion views cardio as the holy grail of fat loss exercise. But in reality, few things are bastardized more than cardio during a cut.
Cardio is a fantastic tool for increasing your daily caloric burn, but like the old adage goes — you can’t out train a bad diet. Couple that with the fact that highly intense cardio can severely increase hunger (making it harder to diet) and it’s easy to see how cardio tends to be over-hyped.
Bro Tip: Use cardio strategically.
Cardio still has a place in anyone’s program, but only as a tool or a means to an end.
Cardio has a myriad of health benefits, especially psychologically. But it also has a few benefits to your physique as well, just not in the ways it is commonly attributed.
Near the end of your diet you may find yourself plateauing and unwilling to decrease calories any further. At this point, adding in some moderate cardio can help increase your deficit without further restricting your foods. The key here is to choose cardiac activities that are either low intensity (to keep hunger and cravings to a minimal), or things that are fun. Like sports, outdoor escapades, sex, or (my favorite) a combination of all 3.