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When it comes to your abs there are a lot of things that you need to know that you probably don't.

The abs that we see are not necessarily the abs that we need.  So let's exchange the word 'abs' for 'core' from now on when it comes to health and only say abs when we talk about those specific muscles.

Your core is the complex of muscles and bones that connect our upper-body with our lower-body.  Our core creates and maintains the stability that allows us to do almost everything that we do.  And a let's admit right now, a toned core looks dead sexy!  That is most likely why every person that I talk to asks how to get flat abs.  There are some really important understandings and misconceptions about the core that we all need to get through our thick skulls of we want to have abs or even a flat abdominal area.
  • Everyone already has six pack abs.  The muscles that you want are there and they most likely look exactly how you want them to.  The problem is that they are covered in fat and skin so they are hidden.  Improving the muscle will do almost nothing to improve the look of the muscle from the outside.
  • Doing crunches will not make your abs look better.  Those hidden muscles already look great, so doing a ton of ab work will not make them look much better.  What you need to do is lose the fat covering, not increase the strength of the muscle. And frankly, doing abs is a very ineffective way to get great abs...
  • Diet has far more to do with great abs than exercise every will.  Even some foods, like saturated fats and alcohol, tend to be stored as fat around your midsection.  Limiting or eliminating these foods from your diet will have a far greater impact on your abs than hours of crunches will.
  • Your core is not your abs.  People confuse the idea of core with abs all of the time.  This is like saying that your tires are your car.  Tires are part of a car but are a long way from being the entire core.  The muscles that we see in a 6 pack are the Rectus Abdominus and the External Obliques, but they are only a few of the many, many muscles that make up a core.
  • We cannot spot reduce.  By exercising a muscle we will not cause our body to choose to burn fat from that area.  We tend to burn fat in reverse order of when we got it.  ie, if your abs for fat first then they will probably get thin last, no matter what you do!
  • Great legs are the key to great abs.  Assuming your diet is good then the next thing that you need to address are your legs.  These are your biggest muscles, they will burn the most calories and will help trim up your waist more than any other muscle group on your body.  Great legs = great abs!
  • Work your whole core.  The core includes all muscles that work to connect the lower-body to the upper-body, so a strong core allows you to exercise more aggressively and burn more calories.  Your core stabilizes, flexes, extends and twists you through the waist area so all safe angles should be exercised to establish a healthy core.
  • Stop wasting your time.  If you want awesome abs then stop doing crunches.  Your Rectus Abdominus is primarily a performance muscle, not a show piece.  If you are exercising to have nice abs then choose exercises that work the legs and the whole core for best results.  You will burn more calories and expose those already awesome, but hidden, abs much faster.  Also, these total body movements will increase your metabolism a thousand times faster than doing crunches all day long and help you maintain your results.
I have trained over 2,000 clients and most all of them are surprised by how little time we spend isolating the abs.  Your abs are about the same size as your hands, so just think for a second, how many calories do you think that you burn squeezing something with your hands?  This wouldn't even get you out of breath.  Now compare that energy output to something total body like a walking lunge or a Kettle Bell snatch!  Major output and major results.

So if you want to have awesome abs, then stop focusing on them as a muscle to sculpt and start focusing on them as a part of your body to expose.  You will be happily surprised by the results!

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