I needed time
Since breaking free from a gruesome period of exams and assessments at college, the boys readied themselves for what was to come. Sat at a restaurant, on a warm April afternoon, everyone in excitement mulled over our upcoming summer holidays in Goa. The current topic of discussion revolved around ‘the summer bod’ as they call it. Some suggested the divine notion of nursing an exquisite upper-body as a must, whereas others just didn't see the point.
Feeling like I was instead part of a courtroom, playing honourable judge, I quickly put out the fire, by coming to a consensus that fair points were made on both sides of the spectrum, thereby ending the discussion altogether.
But, realistically, I was far from a consensus. Truth be told, I was caught up in a landslide. A major question loomed large over and over again, 'Are abs really worth it?'.
Only taking some time out to find valid reasons would help me gain some closure on this matter. And so I did.
Right reasons for abs
It is only fair to say that those who worked hard on their abs, were entitled to floss themselves, as a way of reaping the benefits of it. However, not everything is sunshine and rainbows while trying to acquire a six-pack. If you’re one to make plenty of sacrifices and go through the grind, only then will it be time well spent.
Improve sports performance
A strong core helps improve sports performance as those specific exercises help stabilise the body. It makes it easier indulging in physical activities, even something as simple as getting a glass from the top shelf, or bending down to tie your shoe laces. Strong core muscles are also important for athletes, such as runners, as weak core muscles can lead to more fatigue, less endurance and injuries.
You’ll be better able to breathe
Core and breath training go hand-in-hand, according to a Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study. Strengthening the core and getting neutral hips will stack your body and make it easier to breathe.
A strong core prevents lower back pain
Improving mobility and strength in the hips, thighs, glutes and back not only prevents back pain, it can also relieve other aches. According to physical therapist Greame Keys, a strong core results in strong spinal alignment.
On the other hand, there are numerous ill-fated reasons that amount to getting abs.
Wrong reasons for abs
1. Lack of holistic approach
To acquire a 6 pack, you need to focus largely on your abdominal muscles. Singling that muscle group out, while ignoring other muscle groups in the process could prove to be detrimental. Some who have scrawny legs and a six pack make that abundantly clear.
It is necessary to keep in mind that genetics too, has a big say in these matters, with women having a tougher time than men, simply because they are predisposed to store excess fat.
Evidently setting lofty goals by working your abdominals too much can result in more risk than reward. Fitness experts will tell you that gains in performance take place when you’re at rest, not when you’re constantly working out. Recovery is what leads to growth. Allotting sufficient time for the fibers from the previous workout session to knit together, is what makes the muscle grow stronger.
2. Effect on social life
The difference between a healthy commitment to fitness and a harmful addiction can be difficult to recognize. Experts draw parallels between exercise addiction and eating disorders with respect to obsessive exercise patterns, control of body shape, and perfectionist personality traits. In the build up it could lead to a non-existent social life, since eating and drinking out is a massive no-no.
3. You’re plainly confused
Most folks confuse a strong core with a six pack. It is imperative to understand that it is not necessarily the same thing. Some have extremely strong cores, but no abs to show. On the other hand, some have a toned abs but a rather weak core.
4. Toll on mental and physical health
Unnaturally low body-fat are composed due to a strict diet and heavy exercise regime. However, having such low fat could hamper temperature regulation, maintaining hormone levels and producing vital enzymes. Simultaneously, being uncomfortable in your own skin can potentially take a toll on your mental health. Your main priority should entail being fit, which holds more salience than nursing a six-pack.
5. Don't be negatively influenced
If you’ve recently purchased a Vogue or GQ magazine and noticed a celebrity or sportsman flossing his/her abs, just remember that it could partly be because they’re lacquered up with oil, accentuating the body’s look with additional help from lighting. Make sure you keep this in mind and not blindly ponder over representing a midriff akin to those on magazine covers.
If you’re sacrificing more than you bargained for, chances are you land up in a soup. The focus should be on how your muscles perform, not how they look.
So are six packs worth it or not?
In a nutshell, your answer invariably depends on your personal goals and ambitions.
They're worth it if - you like setting challenges for yourself, or it helps you get disciplined.
They're not if - you simply don't want to put in the work, or the vanity in having them does not appeal to you.
Let us know in the comments section below if you've ever been roped into thinking of a six pack as a necessity. SportsEquip caters to your every need by providing authentic sports equipment right at your door-step.