Seeing your abs is about losing the fat that covers them. However, it’s a little more complicated than that. Here are my …

10 Commandments of Six Pack Abs

 

1. Thou shalt feel the love

When it comes to sustainable fat loss, feeling the love comes first and foremost. You cannot sustain a lifestyle you hate long term, where with every passing day you feel a growing desire to stab a badger in the kidney with a salad fork. Exercise and healthy eating is not a means to an end or a punishment to be endured to achieve a goal, but an awesome lifestyle to be embraced with vigor and ass-kickery until the day you dirt nap.

 

2. Thou shalt not believe in miracles

To achieve the “coveted” six-pack abs, or even to get to the point of a flat belly, requires serious dedication. You can’t dedicate yourself to a lifestyle that involves lots of intense exercise and focusing on eating healthy food that fuels performance if you also believe what Kim Kardashian and Dr. Oz are spewing about the latest “miracle-fat-blasting-cure.” Become a weight loss skeptic, and you’ll reap benefits.

 

3. Thou shalt stay clean

There are some supplementary and even pharmaceutical routes to losing a portion of your body fat, but they come with a high cost. The few supplements that actually “work” still didn’t work that well, and caused  numerous health problems and, occasionally, death. That’s why many have been made illegal. The right and healthy way to and sustain this is via controlling your diet, and not trying to game the system via pill popping. Stay away from any supplement with words like “cut” or “shred” or “cleanse” in the name.

 

4. Thou shalt not become obsessed

Getting to a low body fat percentage requires attention to a fairly strict workout and eating regimen. If you’re not careful, it can come to rule your life. When you develop an obsession over your regimen you are violating the first commandment: Feel the love. Work hard and eat well, but don’t obsess or it’s a recipe for a crash and a burn. Be in harmony with your healthy lifestyle to sustain it long-term.

 

5. Thou shalt not wreck thyself

I saw a poster that said, “Beast mode never sleeps.” That’s a crock. There will be days when your body thrives at going hard, when it loves being in “Beast mode.” However, there will be times that you need to rest. You only have one body, and if you join some masochistic program where people spew insults to push participants beyond physical tolerances know it can cause lifelong damage. Significant results require significant effort, but if you see your dead grandma beckoning you towards the light, you’re pushing too hard.

 

6. Thou shalt not value thy worth as a human being by the definition (or lack thereof) on thy abdomen

You are not the numbers on a scale or the size of your midsection. Six-pack abs – or a flat belly – may be nice to have, but there is more to life than just being lean. You can have physical aspirations and still be at peace.

 

7. Thou shalt take pride in thy accomplishments (but not too much)

It’s okay to flaunt it at the beach a little or buy some clothes that flatter your new figure. Just don’t go overboard. Losing weight and keeping it off is a serious undertaking requiring much hard work and dedication. This is something worth being proud of, especially if it prompts you to achieve new heights in other aspects of your life.

 

8. Thou shalt be patient

Michelangelo didn’t chisel David in a day, and you won’t carve out a new physique overnight either. Commandment #1 means focusing on enjoying the journey, so don’t torture yourself by trying to stick to an unrealistic time schedule for achieving your goals.

 

9. Thou shalt compare thyself only to thy former self

Remember Commandment #6 and know that there will always be someone leaner and/or more muscular than you. This site isn’t focused on competing on a stage all waxed, oily and speedo-ed. It is about building a better you. You may never have the hottest body on the beach, but you can make great improvements with what evolution via natural selection gave you. Like #7 says, be proud of your accomplishments.

 

10. Thou shalt NOT do this:

 situation-abs

Never, ever.

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James S. Fell, CSCS, is an internationally syndicated fitness columnist for the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and AskMen.com. He is the author of Lose it Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind, published by Random House Canada.

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