One of the great promises of the fitness industry is this idea that you can get "six pack abs."
It's no wonder that one of the best-selling fitness products over the past 10 years was "how to get ripped abs."
Let's explore this. Is having a six pack inherently something that everyone finds attractive? No, it's not. In fact, nobody really gave a crap about that until the 1960's and 1970's when Joe Weider (Arnold Schwarzeneggar's trainer) popularized the idea. Thanks, Joe.
That's why every gym has at least 15 crunch machines and bunch of other machines to make those abs look great.
Of course, nobody wants to talk about "one-pack abs." I mean, who wants those? If you have a one-pack (dad-bod), you must not be fit, you will die of a heart attack soon, and you're totally undesirable, especially if you're a male.
None of that is true. Having six pack abs indicates low body fat levels. Nothing more, nothing less. It sends a signal that you are "fit," have self-discipline, and are strong and healthy.
I used to care about this when I was in my early 20's, like many young men do. I knew another guy named Chris, who was about my age, who would go to the gym some days and do nothing but abs.
As I've grown up, my ideas of health have changed. There is no evidence that having low levels of body fat (<8% for men and <15% for women) indicate anything other than your level of fitness. A normal waist line, stable blood sugar levels (70-100 mg/dl), and other biomarkers (HDL, HbA1c, inerleukin-6, c-reactive protein) indicate far more about your health.
When I was in my early 20's and I looked emaciated, my body fat was 5%. Was I healthy? Not at all. I couldn't even deadlift my own weight.
I encourage you to have a more holistic view of health than six-pack abs. They might look impressive on The Bachelorette, but otherwise they don't mean a damn.
If you want to be healthy, control what you eat, control your body, and control life as much as you can. Care less what others think, make smart decisions, and you'll be healthier than the guy doing 200 crunches a day to look good on the beach.
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