I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. I had a freezing saturday night as our AC broke and was basically stuck and turning out apartment into an igloo. I realize many people from the east coast will want to shoot me that I’m complaining about the cold, but its 72 and sunny all year round in LA so we weren’t exactly too thrilled about our polar bear friendly conditions.
Since its sunday and I usually loathe sundays for some reason, I thought I’d post up one of my “feel good songs”. Songs I listen to when I need a mood “pick me up”. Today’s song is “Merry Happy” by Kate Nash. You can listen to it free here.
Anyhow……I was going to post more about me finding that grey hair on my head and about how I left it there instead of pulling it out (I guess to serve some sort of symbolism, you know, accepting that I’m aging and that I’m not five anymore). But I wanted to touch on something I thought about a lot this past week as I was doing my anatomy homework for my yoga teacher training. This is something I think everyone might be interested in…..”six pack abs”.
Can I tell you how many blogs I read and how many people I know that want “six packs!”? I’d tell them they sell them for about a buck fifty at any market, but no one laughs (obviously, that was a dumb joke). But do you REALLY want them? Heres what I gathered while doing my anatomy homework:
In order to get ab muscles like those in the magazine ads (which are also probably majorly retouched), you need a body fat ratio in the single digits.Getting and keeping body fat in the single digits is straight up difficult, and unhealthy, especially women who are supposed to have a higher body fat percentage. Its also important to cosider body types aren’t destined to be weight lifters or body builders and others won’t ever be good long distance runners or cyclists. Me? well I’ve started seriously weight lifting only this past couple months, but when I look at my family, I’m pretty sure I’m not the “body builder” type. If you have problems getting your body fat below 15% you may be the body type that will never have rippling abs, and you may be healthier for it. Everyone is different and so is our healthy body fat ratio for who we are. I’m definitely not advocating overweight as being healthy, but if you find you feel, or look, worse at 9% body fat than you do at 18%, go for the 18.
So what are some of the drawbacks for these “six packs”?Many who strive to have six-pack abs have problems with constipation. I learned from my anatomy class that if you tense, the outer muscles of the abdomen you tense up the internal muscles, including the intestines. It’s virtually impossible to relax the intestinal muscles while the external abdominal muscles are under tension, and keeping that six-pack look requires tension.
Another drawback, people striving for the six-pack look forget that they need to balance the lower back muscles as well. When the muscles in front are shortened without balancing out the tension and strength of the muscles on the opposing side, the lower back muscles in this case, the tendency is to begin collapsing the chest and lowering the sternum. That posture in turn restrict breathing and lessens lung capacity, which is NOT helpful when you practice yoga or ANY exercise for that matter. I mean breathing is something we need to do to survive, so why make it harder for us to do so? Might as well light up a cig. So since your chest is collapsed, this could very much lead to rolling in of the shoulders, putting excess stress on the thoracic section of the back and pitching the head forward. Both of these can lead to headaches!
If you happen to have six pack abs, then more power to you. I’m not trying to be mean, I’m sure you’ve worked hard for it. But I’m trying to show people that “six pack abs” is not only a unrealistic goal for most people, its not all that healthy.
So what to do? Give up crunches? Part of me wants to say, YES! Endless crunches won’t give you any sort of definition. Should we neglect working our midsection? No. Lots of exercises and especially Yoga engage our core muscles to prevent “spare tires”. So be healthy, remember, fat is not the enemy, and stop crunching, unless its on something tasty, then by all means, crunch away.
Anyhow, speaking of crunching……I made some tortilla cups with the corn tortillas La Tortilla Factory sent me. I’ll be doing lots of cool tortilla recipes this week in honor of the giveaway which I’ll probably do tomorrow (I didn’t want to attach the giveaway to my story about “abs” so stay tuned for tomorrow to enter the giveaway). All I did was spray big muffin tins with non-stick spray and baked it at 350 for about fifteen mins. Thats it! instant mini tostada!