The Fitness Industry loves this one as a sure-fire way to make you feel like a failure;
“Lose belly fat in 15mins...with the help of my workout plan!!”
Like belly fat is some kind of limescale that can be dissolved with the aid of an over-promising product or plan.
Sorry, it's just not going to happen.
1. You can't spot reduce fat through exercise / dieting… it is not physically possible. It's like saying you want to loose weight on your pinky toe so you're going to specifically work your pinky toe to target that fat... it just won't work!
2. A large proportion of our body composition is due to our genetic makeup so Shredded Sally might be flaunting her taught abdominals but it is incredibly unlikely that her 12-pack was created doing her (somewhat expensive) At-Home Ab Shredder and more likely due to her genetics. (But she's not going to tell you that because she can't bottle up her genetics and make any money off of that now can she?!)
But let's say you do embark on doing Sally’s so-called “7 day ab-sculpting” workout, I would predict one of two outcomes:
Scenario 1: You start with all guns blazing and successfully complete the first three days but life gets in the way, you miss a day and end up "falling off the wagon" and feel like a failure because everyone else on Sally's IG grid completed the plan, is sporting a shredded torso and you're left thinking you're the only one who failed... what's wrong with you!? (Nothing, btw, and I would bet my last pound you're not the only one that failed but she's not going to show that on her grid, obvs.)
Scenario 2: You tough it out, do the 7-day plan, wince every time you sneeze or cough but for reasons unbeknownst to you, you don't yield the results that Super Sally had promised you...WTF!? So you, again, end up thinking "what is wrong with me!?"(Again, nothing!!!)
So with both scenarios, we end up back at square one where we hate ourselves and our bodies because you don’t look like the women on Instagram and, according to todays' society, that is what an attractive, successful woman should look like... an Instagram Model.
And that, right there, is the Fitness Industry Cycle of Perpetual Self-Hate. The idea that, with the aid of over-priced and under-delivering products & services, we as mere mortals can "fix" what is "wrong" with your bodies.
There is nothing wrong with our bodies...N O T H I N G.
But Diet Culture & the Fitness Industry is sneaky AF and manages to keep us coming back for more, spending our hard-earned money for us to attempt to reach the Thin Ideal pot of gold at the end of the rainbow even though we **know** deep down we will inevitably not arrive there. Why? Because the ideal female body type is ever changing, pivoted around privilege and unrealistic expectations and is constantly shifting. What's worse is that Shredded Sally, who always looks lean & shredded (naturally 🙄) also always looks super duper happy with her 12-pack and because we want to be super-duper happy like Sally we think that changing our exterior will change our interior because, ultimately, all we want is to be loved and we are constantly told that the only way we will be loved is by how we look!
PHEWPH. That was a lot.
Embarking on an aesthetic-based journey to sculpt your abs is unlikely to end well; aesthetic goals are more often than not either false promises or have a shelf life.
Instead, why don't we focus on non-aesthetic goals that have a tangible end point? Meaning that we are more likely to find the pot of goal at the end of the rainbow, achieve our goals and feel successful? Sounds like a winner to me!
So, since we're talking core & abdominals, here are some non-aesthetic goals that don't involve objectifying our physique making us believe that how we look is the only thing that matters:
- Nailing your plank form (no lower back pain please and tuck that pelvis under!)
- From there, increasing your plank durations starting at 10secs all the way up to minutes!
- Then getting creative; one-handed plank, on-legged plank, elevated plank... just go for it!
Non-aesthetic based goals for the win if you ask me 🙃