2015 was definitely the year of the six-pack. If you follow anyone fitnessy on Instagram, your feed was probably exploding with pictures of abs (and possibly quite often interrupted by avocado on toast).
When I was a slightly overweight 20-something year old, six-packs were not the aim for the masses but a nicely non-jiggly flat stomach was what dreams were made of.
These days simply flat doesn’t cut it, it’s got to be totally ripped. To be “Instagram fit” that is, for real life a visible six-pack isn’t actually necessary, nor are you unhealthy or unfit if you don’t have one.
My midriff has always been my grief area – I get bloated really easily and until I was in my mid-30s I was not able to stay away from the foods that would blow my stomach out (visibly but also painfully).
After the birth of my second child things got worse – I felt as if all my internal organs would never find their right place again and then stay there. I could not lie on my side because it felt as if every organ was going to spill out. If you’ve had children you might know what that feels like, if you haven’t, let me tell you it’s a very uncomfortable and disturbing feeling.
I started exercising (running) when the kiddo was 1 but I never worked on my core. I just am not the kind of person who can do sit-ups at home by myself. I get bored. I guess I figured improving my overall fitness would help.
Then Crossfit happened and I realised quickly that a strong core is essential for most Crossfit movements. I didn’t, however, think about a six pack. I just wanted to have a strong core in the inside so that I would feel more comfortable.
Finally my organs stopped spilling out about a year into Crossfit. Add two more years and I’ve just realised that my midriff looks a lot different than it ever has in my life.
Whadayaknow – if you have fun with exercise and eat stuff that doesn’t bloat you, then one day you might wake up with a hint of a six-pack.
I’m sure all top Crossfitters have “accidental six-packs” – that is – nobody starts doing Crossfit because they want a six-pack, people start Crossfit because they want to improve their overall fitness and soon they’re having so much fun learning new things and getting stronger that the goal of a six pack just for the sake of a six pack doesn’t make sense.
For me, focusing on athletic progress is definitely so much more fun than focusing on aesthetic progress.
Annie Thorisdottir, one of the fittest women on earth (and also the owner of an awesome six-pack, by the way), said something on Instagram the other day that made me think about all this:
Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different?
Today I walked past the magazines isle in the supermarket and saw a headline that said “I am turning 40 with a six-pack”.
I am also turning 40 and I’m mostly stoked that I don’t have any back pain like most of my colleagues, that I can pick up my 10-year old and carry him up the stairs, that I can run for the bus if I need to, that I can carry my suitcases up the stairs on public transport, that I can move furniture around without a problem and that I feel deliriously happy like a toddler at a playground when I’m pulling / pushing / lifting / climbing / running / rowing / hanging / swinging.
That is why I exercise.
The abs are just accidental :)