I see a lot of bullshit on the internet, as I’m sure we all do. A lot of misinformation, poorly “researched” articles and just plain old downright lies. In this “Age of Information” it can be just as easy to be informed as it is to be misinformed.
So let’s talk about abs for a minute. Look at the photo above and tell me what you see. Leanness, check. Abs, check. Happiness? Nope. The photo above is from early 2013. I was eating a strict low carb paleo diet, working out twice a day and eating below 1600 calories. I was fatigued in my WODs in the afternoon from doing fasted cardio and ab work in the morning, I had ZERO strength gains and I was miserable and hangry, but look at my SEXY ABS!
Was I satisfied with my abs at the time? Nope.
Now this picture was actually taken BEFORE the first one. I was eating more calories (in the form of weekly refeeds), and started to get some gains. But I thought I looked HUGE, and took the calories down and added fasted cardio in to achieve the look in the first photo. In both photos I was hungry, weak and lost in a world of misinformation. I was obsessed with getting a six pack and neglected to think about the consequences of that journey. Is it really worth it to spend hours doing cardio, planks and side bends to get something our society is unjustifiably obsessed with at the detriment to our health, social lives or happiness?
If I had a dollar for everytime a woman told me she just wanted to “get toned”, “have a six pack for summer” or other weakly researched idioms, I’d be somewhat wealthier than I am now. Seriously, getting toned means being lean and having enough muscle mass on your body to show definition in your muscles. You are not going to get toned doing massive amounts of cardio and you are not going to get a great six pack doing 16,000 crunches every night. If you combine enough core strength training (including compound movements such as front squats, back squats, kettlebell swings, deadlifts, power cleans, overhead walking lunges, etc.) with proper nutrition and cardio and supreme dedication to achieving these results, sure, you can get you six pack. But I’m telling you right now, if you look down at your belly in April and decide you want a six pack by summer, it’s going to be an uphill battle.
This photo was taken six weeks ago. Not much in the abs department (but look at dem quadz!) and I couldn’t be happier. When this photo was taken, I was eating upwards of 2300 calories a day, squatting at least twice a week with little to no cardio and feeling STRONG. Plus I can eat all the doughnuts I want and not feel like I am destroying hard work, quite the opposite really.
So my message is this: Be happy with the journey you are on because health and fitness shouldn’t necessarily have a goal (barring competitive athletes). Sure, if you are vying for the top spot in a physique competition, you probably don’t feel the same way, but don’t get me started on the beauty pageants of the fitness industry. Having short term strength based goals offers the most satisfaction, in my humble opinion. Getting to a 200lb deadlift or a bodyweight squat is a lot more fun than getting vascularity on your abs.
There is no standard for beauty in my eyes. Every single person on the planet is unique in their own ways, some people do the fitness, some people don’t. Some people do triathlons and Iron Man, some do CrossFit or Powerlifting, some walk around the block with their dogs, but what each person does for “fitness” does not concern me nor should it concern you. Sure, I like to see some definition in my midsection, just to make sure I am on point with my fitness and nutrition, but other than that, I couldn’t care less and I think a lot of people would be a lot happier if they thought the same way.