• Emily Makselan

Do you really want a 6 pack?

Do you really want a 6 pack? I always encourage my clients to come up with goals that are not number based. The reasoning for this is another post in itself for another time. But due to this request of mine a very popular goal put down is to get a six pack. Many see those 6 little lumps that can appear on your abdomen as a symbol of health and fitness levels. But my goal in this post is make you re-think if they’re really all that.

Last week I saw an ad from a local gym that was just a close up photo of a women’s chiseled 6-pack abs. Underneath it said the program gives you the exact steps to transform your body. So, naturally, I clicked the link. The woman’s six pack that lured me in led me to page implying all I would have to do is work out 3 times per week for 6 weeks. And based on the clickbait photo I am led to believe for that minimal effort that I could look like that. But if something sounds too good to be true, it likely is too good to be true. The gym’s ad used a stock photo from Google for the woman with the 6-pack. This leads me to believe that they don’t have any members that actually look like that, and that they have never helped anyone accomplish the transformations they are promising.

Thanks to social media influences and ads like this one, there is definitely a misconception of what exactly a lean chiseled mid section represents. Fitness models all over the internet appear to walk around with glistening 6 packs 24 hours a day 365 days a year giving the rest of us the impression that this is attainable and “healthy”. But, the reality is that for some of us it may not be. Some people are lucky and may be able to achieve this look year round at no consequence to their health or performance. But for many this isn’t attainable and trying to achieve it can lead to a whole laundry list of health issues, as well as unhappiness. If being lean enough to look that way for you means losing your period and feeling like complete shit everyday, is it worth it?

It’s just about the peak of summer beach and boating season right now. Everyone wants to look as good as possible for their social gatherings and pool parties. But consider that these very events that you want to look good for would be out in order to achieve the look you are hoping to get! It seems that most think that 6 little lumps on their belly will bring them instant happiness, but they aren’t considering the cost of it. Walking around with 6 pack abs and maintaining that level of leanness, for most, means giving up eating out and drinking almost completely. It means saying ‘no’ to nights out with friends and instead prioritizing sleep. It means never missing a day at the gym, and focusing more on strength based workouts than cardio (ladies, I’m looking at you). In a nutshell it means learning to be extremely disciplined and living a lifestyle that few understand. For most, this lifestyle would be a quick trip to unhappiness and means sacrificing the very things that they hope to look that way for. So, I’ll ask again, do you really want a 6 pack?

In my experience, even those who have had the discipline to accomplish this goal were still unhappy with themselves once they arrived there. In part due to their own self comparison, but also in part due to genetics. The size and shape of our abs are largely determined by genetics. Although there is plenty you can do to work on “revealing” your abs. Once you are lean enough to walk around with those 6 little status symbols, there isn’t much you can do to alter the size and location of them. Some people are just blessed to have a perfectly aligned 6-pack. While others are shaped much smaller and may resemble something that looks more like a game of Tetris. My point is, if you are constantly just chasing perfection and all these unattainable images you’re exposed to on Social Media then you will never be happy! Detach yourself from the expectations of what you want your body to look like, and instead start focusing on building a better relationship with your current vessel! Whether that means taking better care of it, or unfollowing those who make you feel like there is something wrong with it!

To start building a healthier relationship with your own body set realistic goals for yourself! Don’t set goals based off an image you saw on Instagram. And most importantly, be prepared to as yourself “why?”! If you aren’t sure why attaining a certain aesthetic is important to you, then it’s not a good goal. That’s a surefire sign that even if you go there, you still wouldn’t be happy. Instead try to find a more meaningful and personal goal. Understand your “why”. And if you need any help setting or assessing your goals Find Your Fit Nutrition is always here to help!

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