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When Six-Pack Abs Aren't Good for You

When Six-Pack Abs Aren't Good for You

It's all down to Ronaldo. Six-pack abs are idolized by professional sportsmen and fitness enthusiasts all over the world. What better method to demonstrate your athletic abilities to the rest of the world? No, not at all. "ISix-pack abs are a prestige symbol in the fitness world, and I thought I needed one to be respectable," says Noelle Tarr, a personal trainer and former triathlete. The problem, as Tarr discovered throughout her athletic career, is that in trying to accomplish it, you can easily sacrifice your performance and well-being.

The fundamental issue is that a six-pack isn't achieved largely by crunches, sit-ups, or athletic ability. "Nutrition is responsible for the vast majority of your'six-pack abs,'" says Sam Leahey, director of sports science at Precision Sport Science. "It's not as much a result of training as it is of experience." In fact, he believes that eating less is responsible for around 90% of six-pack abs.

Experts agree that a man's abs should be visible once he has lost roughly 10% of his body fat. The percentage of fat in women is closer to 15%. That isn't even for the definition of a fitness model. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), roughly 2 to 5 percent fat in men and 10 to 13 percent fat in women is necessary, according to a 2009 guideline. That's a lot of physical exertion. The fat that is absorbed into biological tissues such as bone marrow, the spinal cord, and numerous organs is known as essential fat.The American Council on Exercise (ACE) defines an athletic body fat percentage as 6 to 13 percent for males and 14 to 20 percent for women; however, some contend that these values should be lower for young individuals and higher for elderly persons.