Ignore the gadgets and work up a sweat instead

A six-pack doesn't come easy
A six-pack doesn't come easy
Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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Would you like a beer or a washboard stomach?

Most people want one and almost everyone would like both. So I’m going to talk to you about your abs and how you can find them.

Firstly, despite what many people will claim of themselves, everyone has abs. All of us.

Some stand proudly on display, but most of them lay hidden below deck, masked by our extra layers.

But the key to finding these icons of health and fitness is not at the end of 20 sets of sit-ups and is certainly not thanks to the latest crazy muscle-making machine, brought to you by certain money-grabbing ‘fitness’ companies.

The truth about locating those abs is simple. It lies in exercising a bit more and eating a bit less.

In order for that six-pack to be revealed, you need to have a lower body fat percentage.

That means you need to lose those extra pounds hovering around your midsection. The only way to get that fat away from your stomach is losing overall body fat.

You cannot reduce fat on just one particular part of your body without surgery –even if those fitness companies selling you their bizarre flexi-swinger-ab-killer-what’s-it say you can.

Doing sit-ups, crunches and other ab workouts will not give you a toned tummy.

What they will do is build up your abdominal size and strength.

While this isn’t a bad thing, it isn’t going to make them any more visible than they are already.

If anything, increasing the size of those muscles will make your midsection larger and you could end up looking fatter.

So how do you shift that stubborn belly fat?

The answer is regular cardiovascular exercise, strength training and eating fewer calories.

Doing more exercise and eating less will mean your body is burning up more energy than it is consuming. This causes the body to dip into its alternative energy supply – your stored body fat.

So eat less and be more careful about what you eat and drink. It’s called ‘beer belly’ for a reason.

As your body burns through this resource, your weight and body fat levels will drop, meaning all of your muscles become more defined and you will look a lot leaner.

Because nothing is ever easy, the belly is often the last area of your body to shed enough fat to see muscle definition, so don’t fret if you don’t start to see those ridges popping up quickly.

It took more than a few weeks to put on those pounds, so it’s going to take more than that to lose them again.

Keep training frequently and eating healthy, and you will see and feel the difference.