Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Abs are Made in the Kitchen: What Does that Even Mean?

We've all heard this phrase and seen Pinterest inspiration declaring Abs are Made in the Kitchen

Awesome that's my favorite room in the house! How long do I have to hang out in the kitchen until I'm all rippped up?

This phrase, Abs are Made in the Kitchen, basically boils down to reducing body fat by controlling what you eat. When we exercise, we're using our core, and should be keeping the core engaged, through out a work out. Meaning we are working core every time we exercise! Everything is interrelated on some level. A strong core is a major building block in nearly all physical fitness. 

Example, as a runner, I became stronger as my core strength increased, enabling my upper body to be more adequately supported through out a run. When I first start running, I can recall my upper body being incredibly sore post run, as I improved, that soreness stopped happening.

I used to think I had to do ab work at the end of every single work out. Six days a week. I'm not joking. I would come off the road after a novel distance and force myself to do core. It was totally unnecessary. As I've gotten more into lifting, I'm discovering most don't work abs but once or twice a week. Those ab muscles come out to say hello with the decrease in body fat. It doesn't matter how many times you do Jillian Michael's 6 Week 6 Pack, if you spend 8 hours a day planking, do 500 crunches every morning before breakfast, if you body fat isn't decreased, you won't see your abdominal muscles.

How do you decrease body fat? This is the real tricky scenario. For me personally, where the hardest work truly lies. Body fat is decreased through a consistently disciplined diet. A consistent low carb, high protein diet, coupled with consistent fitness. The leanest I've every been was 19%. I had to work incredibly hard to get there. 

I'm currently between 23% and 24% body fat. This number has been fluctuating for me over the last few months. I couldn't eat for aesthetics, (essentially what a low carb, high protein cutting diet is, eating for looks) while long distance running. The body needs carbs to fuel intense physical fitness. Carbs are fuel. Now that my long distance run season is over, I'm ready to get super serious in the kitchen. 

Would I like to be leaner? Oh yeah absolutely! However, I want to be realistic about how lean I want to be without driving myself insane food obsessing. That's no fun either let me tell ya!

I've begun adjusting my goals to fit into the realistic way I live my life. For me, that fits somewhere in between eating for aesthetics and eating for performance. My summer lean goal is 20% body fat. I'd say it's realistic to assume, one percent loss per month with consistent hard work in the kitchen and in the gym. Here we go, lean out for summer, oh yeahs! Tomorrow, speed training, and Thursday it's low carb meal ideas. Now this is all fitting together quite nicely!

Where does eating for aesthetics vs eating for performance fit into your life?

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  1. It's so hard to eat for athestetics when you are running! You're totally right. I'm trying to cut my fat and lower my carbs as well, but those master blasts at Sonic are calling me too! How do you measure your body fat percentage?

  2. This is so hard for me. Like you I'm a long distance runner and I need some carbs. I've tried to just do veggies which seems to be working when I stick with it and don't shovel junk food in my face.

  3. Oh my word, thank you so much for posting this! It's frustrating (and kind of sad) to see people KILLING themselves doing crunches and sit ups when they see very little results. Looking forward to following your progress!

    (I also referenced your Transformation Tuesday post on my blog today)

  4. I'm still working hard on figuring out how to fit "lean eating" into my life. it's hard! It's not that I don't like the protein, it's more that I like my fats (mostly healthy) and carbs!

  5. My problem is that I am pretty much always a rock star at eating, when I'm at home, it's the eating out part that trips me up. I just can't seem to make myself order for instance a grilled salmon on a bed of greens over a greasy delicious hamburger and fries - ya feel me? Heck I can't even convince myself to order the burger with a lettuce "bun"! For me, I tend to feel and look my best when I cut out wheat and dairy, which I mostly do, and over time I have found some really great alternatives that have become part of our normal eating now - but it's def a daily struggle.

  6. I think it's all a nod to cannibalism, and we should run! Soylent green is people!!

    Or it could just be don't eat junk. Or people.