“Do you have ripped abs?”
This is the question some people have asked me when they found out that I workout with weights regularly.
They immediately assume that I’m a bodybuilder. Therefore, they look me up and down and say, “You don’t look it!”
That always makes me think “Am I supposed to look different?”
I know what they’re thinking. Bodybuilder = ripped abs.
But that’s not me!
I’m just an average girl who looks after her body and stays healthy. Working out is not my career. It’s just one of the things I do regularly like brushing my teeth or showering.
Anyway, the expectation these people have about me got me thinking about six pack abs. These days, more and more women seem to want to have a six-pack ab. They follow extreme exercise programs and diet to get that.
OK, abs like that might look great on some women. But is it actually safe to go after that goal? Do you really need to go that far?
Let’s tackle these two questions.
Well … it may not be.
You see … to have hard core washboard abdominals, you have to have a very low body fat percentage. Usually you’ll need to have 8 to 15% of body fat to reveal the six pack shape on your abs.
This might not be very healthy for you.
Some women stop menstruating at this low body fat level. Women naturally need more body fat than men for reproductive functions.
That means nature intended women to look “softer” than men who are at the same fitness level.
Typically women need 15 to 25% body fat to function optimally. At that body fat percentage, you’re not likely to be able to reveal shredded abs. But you’re very likely to be perfectly fit and look great.
This leads to the next question …
If you believe you’ll look your best if you have washboard abs or if you’re going in for a bodybuilding competition, then by all means go for it.
But be prepared to put in meticulous work.
You’ll likely need to count calories for every morsel of food you put in your mouth. And you’ll likely need to use customized detailed exercise programs as well.
This is because after reaching your optimal fat level (the level at which your body functions at its healthiest), it’ll be a lot harder to lose more fat. Your body will cling on that fat as best as it can to protect you.
But if you simply want a ripped ab just because you think that’s the only way you’ll look truly fit and beautiful, think again. It’s not necessarily true.
Do you want to risk your health so that you can be seen as very fit?
Granted there are some women with ripped abs who look great and seem to be in perfect health.
But there are also countless women who don’t have ripped stomach muscles, simply have a flat tummy and a slim body that looks great. You can see many celebrities like that.
It depends on your taste I suppose.
At your healthy optimal body fat level, you probably wouldn’t have the bragging rights to show off a grooved belly. But is it worth all that risk to your health and all that meticulous effort to get that?
I’m not bothered about having ripped abs. A nicely shaped flat tummy which doesn’t hang over my jeans is enough for me.
So, I won’t be putting in all that meticulous effort to achieve that.
Well … at least not in the foreseeable future. But strange things can happen. I can’t guarantee I won’t suddenly go bonkers and want to take part in bodybuilding competitions in the future.
But for now, I have a flat tummy that doesn’t hang over my jeans. That’s enough for me.
I’ll still be happily having full fat milk and cheese and even some chocolate. (Of course, I don’t have them in large quantities or even every day.)
Ripped abs are not important enough for me to forego those foods I love.
How about you? Is it important for you have a shredded mid-section?
References For Body Fat Percentage Figures