If you dream of getting a shredded six-pack when you train your abs, you’re not alone. While a strong core is important for your overall health, many people also seek the aesthetic appeal of having abs.
However, you can’t see abdominal muscles if there is too much fat sitting on top of them, so you’ll need to burn a decent amount of belly fat before you can see them. In addition to strengthening your core, are your ab workouts helping you burn belly fat so that you can actually see them?
According to Healthline, they might not be as helpful as you think. It is impossible to spot reduce, or burn belly fat in a specific part of your body. Training your abs won’t burn any more fat in your stomach than anywhere else in your body.
Fat loss occurs all over the body, so training your abs will help you burn belly fat as well as fat everywhere else. This also means that your progress for losing belly fat may be slower than you hoped for because fat needs to be lost all over the body in order for you to eventually see your ab muscles.
The importance of your diet when getting rid of belly fat
While training your abs can give you a defined stomach, your diet will play the most important role in getting rid of extra belly fat. In order to lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit when you eat. A calorie deficit means that you are consuming fewer calories than your body needs to maintain your current weight (via Women’s Health).
Everyone’s caloric needs will differ deepening on age, weight, sex, activity level, health conditions, and other factors. A registered dietician can help you find the safest and most effective way to lose weight with your diet.
It’s also important to remember that not everyone will be able to get a flat stomach, nor does everyone need a flat stomach to be healthy. “There are people who, no matter what, are going to basically be prone to having the same belly as their mom or dad,” said Michael Nusbaum, MD, founder of Nusbaum Medical Centers in New Jersey via The Healthy.
While losing belly fat can be a great goal for people who are overweight, you don’t need to strive for shredded abs in order to be healthy.