Why you don’t have a six pack
Why you don’t have a six pack
This list is geared towards people who go to the gym, attempt at eating healthy, take supplements, yet still fail to get abs or even a flat stomach. If you practice zero healthy life style habits, that might be why you don’t have abs, sorry.
I want to preface this by saying that I don’t naturally have abs, nor am I naturally lean. But I can say that every day, month, year, goes by I’m leaner, stronger, and yes, more ripped than before. And it’s all through learning, experimenting, and figuring out the pain in the ass things that are holding me back. Read on.
1. Food Intolerances/Allergies- 3 and a half years ago I remember looking at myself after the gym and thinking, damn, I’m not looking bad! I then ate some almonds with my ground beef, twenty minutes later, I looked again (vain, I know) and my stomach was sticking out like crazy. All the lines, and tightness were gone. What happened? I did some research, specifically from Charles Poliquin and it made so much sense….something I was eating was throwing me off. I got blood work done a couple weeks later and there was a surprising amount of foods that I was “intolerant” to. Meaning, my body did not react well to them. They weren’t necessarily allergies, meaning I’d have to go to the hospital, but intolerances are no joke. They can manifest themselves as bloating, muscle cramps, acne, brain fog, achy joints, and YES, they can mess up your six pack. How? If we eat something our bodies are intolerant to, our immune system responds by sending out anti-bodies called IGG or IGE’s in order to clear out the threat from the food. The IGG/IGE’s however, linger in our system and actually cause some havoc on our cells and other metabolic processes.
So how do you know if you have food intolerances? Well, often times its simple, whenever you eat something do you immediately get bloated? Or do you feel sick? Do you break out? You’re most likely intolerant to things you eat ALL THE TIME. For me it was almost all nuts (almonds, cashews, etc.) But for most people it’s whey protein, eggs, tuna, chicken, etc. common “health” and “bodybuilding” foods. If your insurance covers it, get what’s called a RAST test done. It will change your life my friends.
2. Low HCL/Bad Gut- I remember when I started taking HCL I gained 3 lbs in 5 days. I’m not bullshitting you. Do you know why? No matter what you eat, if your body can’t break down the food and absorb it, it’s useless. All the money you spend on supplements, protein powder, high quality meat and veggies, it’s a waste if your body can’t use it. It works like this….HCL is the main form of acid that resides in your stomach/gut and it’s essential in breaking down everything we put into our bodies. And generally people who lift weights, or even health minded people in general, will eat a lot of protein and veggies, all of which are hard to break down. If you’re reading this, you have low HCL. I promise you, you do. Our natural stores get depleted in life through pollution, stress, poor eating habits, ALCOHOL….. Google Charles Poliquin and HCL. He outlines everything you need to do.
3. You don’t workout your legs– I’ll never forget doing my first legitimate leg workout, I was working out with a personal trainer in NYC and he made me squat 4 sets of 10 reps, all the way down. My body responded in a way that I never thought was possible. My metabolism shot through the roof. I was so hungry. I started to get veins in my arms, which I never had before. How was this possible? Easy. Your legs are the largest part of your body, and thus the most painful to truly workout. When you train your lower body, you not only create a greater anabolic response, but you increase your testosterone, you burn way more calories, and you tell your CNS (central nervous system) to start putting things into high gear and grow. I can’t tell you how many times people ask for my advice on why they can’t grow, why they aren’t lean, etc. and I ask them if they squat or deadlift? And taking it a step further, do they squat ass to the grass? Most often the answer is no.
4. Your always stressed– this is without a doubt my biggest issue and what has held me back. How does stress affect your six pack? Cortisol. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone in the body. We need cortisol, it’s what gets us up and out of bed in the morning, and what can save our lives and sharpen our reflexes/reaction times for certain dangerous situations. But the problem is, if cortisol is always high, you can’t be healthy and you definitely can’t have a six pack. What you have to realize is that the last thing your body wants to do when stressed out is build muscle and burn fat. So if you’re constantly stressed out, the food you eat will get stored as fat. Why? Quite fascinating actually. Believe it or not, it goes back thousands upon thousands of years. If we’re very stressed out, our body takes it as a sign that a famine is approaching, or food is scarce, so as a response to this threat, our bodies will store everything we eat to save us. Crazy right? Yes, but now you see why it’s not good to be stressed. Obviously it’s unavoidable at times, trust me, I know. But finding ways to manage it will do wonders for your six pack.
5. You don’t eat enough fat– high protein/low carb diets are great, but often useless without enough fat. Did you know that fats are vital for proper cell membrane function. They make up a large majority of the cell walls and are essential for passing information amongst each other, as well as vital hormone production. Science aside, the more healthy fat you eat, the more ripped and HEALTHY you will be. Specifically saturated fats and omega 3’s. The government and the medical community has done a fantastic of telling us that saturated fat is bad for you. Anyone who is reading my blog knows that I don’t believe that nonsense, and don’t believe anything the government or a corporation tells me about what to eat. BACK TO THE SIX PACK. So we’re talking coconut oil, organic butter, rib eyes, whole eggs, whole fat cheese. Saturated fat and cholesterol is vital for proper testosterone production. It’s quite simple, start cooking your veggies and meat in coconut oil or butter. I promise it will make a huge difference.
6. You don’t sleep enough/well- and to the final and perhaps most underrated element of a six pack. Sleep. I’ve written about sleep many times, and will continue to write about it. But why does it effect your six pack? It all goes back to cortisol baby. The more you sleep, and the better you sleep, the more our hormones can function properly and do what they’re meant to do. I highly advise taking 400-500 mg of magnesium before bed. I told a personal training client of mine to take this, and he said it was like taking valium. It knocks you out. Also, take your cell phone out of your room. The radiation is terrible for our circadian rhythms. Read this blog and get more tips for sleeping.
Any one of these tips can set you on the right path. For some of us, getting ripped is very difficult, and for some (lucky bastards) it’s very easy. But anybody can learn from this and get leaner, and healthier.