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We all want six pack abs, but how realistic are they?
Six pack abs are the holy grail for many people’s fitness goals, but getting them is not an easy feat (and it’s not a healthy pursuit for many people, either). Youtube videos with titles like “How to get a six pack in one week” make people believe having visible abs is just a matter of doing 100 crunches a day. Hate to burst your bubble, but achieving a chiseled midsection requires much more than that.
Whether or not you have those coveted abs has less to do withand more with genetics and body fat percentage. Genetics are completely out of our hands, and body fat is a little harder to control than you may think.
Still determined to try for six pack abs, or want to learn why your exercise-filled attempts have never been successful? I spoke to Dr. John Morton, the head of Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery at Yale Medicine, and together we’ll tell you everything you need to know, including how to work towards your goal safely.
What does body fat percentage mean?
It may sound fairly self-explanatory, but your body fat percentage just measures how much of your body mass is . And don’t look at fat like it’s a bad word — percentage includes essential fat you need to survive.
Body fat percentage is easy to get confused with body mass index, or BMI, but the two are quite different. BMI isn’t the best measurement of health, since some people can have a “healthy” reading but actually be in danger for 광주 성형외과 obesity-related illnesses because they have too little lean mass.
There’s a bunch of different ways you can measure your body fat percentage, and for the best readings you’ll want to get it done at a doctor’s or 광주 성형외과 dietician’s office. They’ll have machines like an underwater weighing station or the ability to do a DEXA scan, which are far more accurate than anything you can do at home.
However, if you don’t have the resources to make the trip to a healthcare provider, you can get a fairly good estimate at home. The American Council of Exercise has a calculator where you can plug in some skinfold measurements for a rough idea of what your body fat percentage is.