I read this post today on a fitness/health site (www.thatsfit.com) and I thought WOW…I wish more women knew/understood this truth about having six pack abs! Basically, in order to have a ‘six pack’ you need to shed the fat that covers them, (you could have a 12 pack and it be covered with fat and they would never show through!) In order for a woman’s abs to show (in relation to a man’s version of a six pack), she must get down to exceptionally low body fat, (which when too low is not healthy in a woman). Now I’m not necessarily saying having a ‘six pack’ as a woman is ‘right’ OR ‘wrong’ and i’m sure there are cases when women are perfectly healthy (body fat wise) and have RIPPED abs…But I do think there are way too many mis-conceptions about abs out there, especially when it comes to women having them! :) So I thought i’d pass this along…and I’d love to know other people’s thoughts on this!! :)
Six-Pack Abs for Women: A Good Idea?
by James S. Fell Apr 23rd 2010
Earlier this week I wrote about the male six-pack and how difficult (and possibly unrealistic) it is to achieve for most men. Well, for women it’s even harder, and not as coveted, and not even all that healthy. And to make the whole thing even less attractive, ladies, if you want six-pack abs, then you can probably say goodbye to your breasts. Please don’t do that. Seriously, on behalf of literally hundreds of millions of men, don’t.
The fact is that women are designed to carry more body fat than men. It’s actually healthier for women to have higher levels of body fat. A 2000 article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition determined that a healthy body fat range for men under 40 years old was between eight and 19 percent, but that for women in the same age group it was in a higher range: from 21 to 33 percent.
To achieve abdominal definition, you are looking at getting down towards single digits of body fat percentage, which is considered to be way below the healthy fat range for a woman.
What’s more, it’s probably going to be even harder for you to do this than it will be for a man. Men have an increased ability to build muscle tissue, which allows more of their calories to be partitioned towards building lean body mass. Even more important is that women are specifically designed to retain more body fat, so your own body is going to fight you harder at losing it. Your body wants to keep fat reserves even more than a man’s body does. Evolution programmed you to be this way.
There is also the fact that abdominal definition on a woman can look kind of creepy.
I’m just one guy, and I don’t know if you care about my opinion, but I can tell you that I don’t like it when women get too lean. I like curves. I like some softness over the muscle. And as I mentioned, achieving abdominal definition makes breasts go away.
This is why so many female fitness models with rippling abs get breast implants. You can’t make your body lose fat only on your midsection, so you’ll end up sacrificing breast tissue as well.
My point is that you shouldn’t let the media dictate to you what is attractive or healthy. Just because some magazine has a ripped and implanted young model on the cover doesn’t mean it’s a realistic or even healthy ideal for you to pursue.
When it comes to fat loss, you can definitely get too much of a good thing.
James S. Fell is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a middle-aged family man with a desk job and not much free time, yet he’s able to keep in shape because he loves exercise and doesn’t mind eating healthy. He is the author of Body for Wife: The Family Guy’s Guide to Getting in Shape. His column for That’s Fit.ca focuses on weightlifting, running and exercise motivation.