Health and the Six Pack

Not the six-pack I was referring too, although this is one of my favorite beers…

Have you ever run into somebody who is constantly worried about getting that six-pack set of abs?  Or maybe talked to the person who adamantly believes that in order to be fit, you must have a six-pack, or maybe even that all fit people should have one??  Well, maybe you have, maybe you haven’t.  Regardless, there is a very common belief out there amongst the fitness world that every single “fit” person should have a tight, toned, six-pack set of abs.  The reality of it, however, is that health and visible abs have no relationship at all.

Somehow, throughout the years, the flat, carved-out stomach has become the symbol of good health and great shape.  Most fitness professionals would agree that the HEALTHY ranges of body fat for men and women are approximately 13-16 percent and 20-25 percent, respectively.  Having that six-pack though is going to require AT MOST half of that percentage.  Most individuals who have body fat percentages that low get there as a result of their lifestyle or job, as opposed to an obsession with abs.  Those who lead very active lifestyles – professional athletes, trainers, elite athletes, cyclist, runners, etc – they spend hours upon hours training, which in turn leads to huge amounts of calories burned.  These individuals are very healthy people, but they tend to maintain body fat levels below the threshold of what it considered healthy.

My point is simple… You DO NOT have to have a six-pack set of abs to be a healthy person.  In fact, there has never been a shred of evidence pointing to the relationship between visible abdominal muscles and health.  Now, there is something to be said for having a strong core, which is a MAJOR player in having good health.  BUT, this doesn’t necessarily mean a six-pack.  So, stop worrying about getting that single ab muscle to pop out.  It simply isn’t necessary for good health.  Body fat does, as a matter of fact, have many important functions within our bodies.  There is no doubt that we want to lower body fat down to a healthy level, but there is a fine line between a small, healthy waist line and a six-pack set of abs.

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