Why It’s Okay to Want Abs (and the one thing you need to change to get them)
I get asked this question all the time, which is kind of ironic as it was the question I used to ask other girls all the time as well, “how do you get abs?”.
I know what I should be saying to you, “just love your body, who care about abs. Abs aren’t an indication of fitness...” And although this is also true, sometimes you just want to know how to get your best body. There’s nothing wrong with that. You can still love your body while working towards another goal for your body. I read “motivational” quotes all the time that say, “don’t workout to change your body. Work out to feel stronger.” A better way to write this quote I think is, “workout for whatever reasons make you feel good”.
You can still love your body whilst working to improve it, there’s nothing wrong with that. Most people start working out because they want to see the physical changes in their bodies. I know for me, all I wanted was abs, then I started to see other changes that weren’t just physical, they came from the inside. I felt stronger, happier and healthier. But, I still wanted a defined stomach.
It’s difficult to reconcile the two different points (wanting abs/saying you're not working out just for abs) without sounding like a weiner/hypocrite/pain-in-the-ass. But this was how I felt after 6 months of working out:
1. I wanted to see more definition in my stomach
2. I felt for all the hard work I was putting in, I wanted to see better results with my body
3. I did not harbour any feelings of self hate for my body, I simply wanted to see better progress
As a disclaimer, I don’t workout now simply to look good or to keep my abs. That is one of the reasons though. There’s loads of reasons as to why I workout. Want to hear them? Too bad if you don’t 😜 here they are:
1. I like the way my body looks when I’m fit and strong.
2. I feel more confident, physically and mentally.
3. I like achieving goals (lifting heavier, being able to do more jump lunges, planking for longer than 30 seconds ect)
4. That post-workout rush ain’t no fib story. I always feel amazing after a workout.
5. I like challenging myself (doing a chin-up or 10 push-ups)
6. I like the way it makes me feel on the inside. Any anxiety or stress I am feeling instantly goes away when I’m sweating it out.
7. Higher fitness levels means I can do more physical activities. I walked 30,000 steps in Disneyland, hiked a mountain in France and managed to make my plane transfer in time, running 2km with my luggage, none of these things I could do if my fitness wasn’t up to scratch.
8. I get to eat more food! I have to eat more food to grow my muscles, and I’m certainly not complaining. I used to eat only 800 calories a day and now I eat well over 1800.
9. I love a routine and as I work for myself, sticking to a routine can be tricky. Working out every morning ensures I stick to a routine and my workout routine has now become a habit.
10. There’s simply no better way to start your day than with an icy cold, banana and protein smoothie, followed by a sweat fest in the gym! It kickstarts my butt into gear and I feel accomplished by 9am.
As you can see, I don’t workout just to keep my abs. I workout for so many other reasons purely than just physical. However, I still like to see physical results. So, let’s talk results.
Now, the one thing you need to change to see these results. You don’t need to be busting out a 1000 crunches in the gym. No matter how many crunches you do, if you’ve got a layer of fat over your abs, you’re never going to see them. You’re going to have to change your diet. Abs are made in the kitchen. If you want a defined, toned stomach, you have to be strict with what you eat. In fact, diet is responsible for 90% of your results. So then what should you be eating? Moderate protein, high carb and a low fat diet is what works for me, and making sure I count my macros. If you want an example of the types of food I eat, have a read of What I Eat In A Week.
I’ve never had a fully defined six pack (and I doubt I ever will). Achieving totally ripped abs à la Paige Hathaway, will require serious training and regimented eating. Both of which I do neither! If I was training for a comp than this is the look I would be after, but I don’t believe it’s attainable to look like this 24/7. Women who have abs like this are usually training for a body comp, it’s not what they look like all year round. Off season their abs probably look a little closer to mine; they are defined but a 6 pack isn’t clearly visible. So don’t think you have to train hard and eat super restrictively to achieve your goals. Abs require hard work and dedication but you don’t need to sacrifice your social life in order to achieve them.
Love Maddy x