Sure, they look good on social media but good ads are all about core strength rather than aesthetics.
Chris Feather (above) — former professional rugby league player and now trainer to the stars at Sydney’s 98 Riley St gym — has a problem with his Instagram feed.
“Take one look at social media and odds are that you’ll find pictures upon pictures of people posing in the mirror showcasing their perfect abs,” Chris says.
“While a lot of these people are probably very fit and worked hard to get there, this kind of messaging can unfortunately leave people training purely for aesthetic reasons rather than working towards getting fitter, stronger and faster.”
Dodge the traps the #fitspo brigade are falling into on their one-eyed pursuit of washboard abs by following these five tips.
- Don’t train strictly isolated movements
“Remember, all show and no go doesn’t impress anyone,” Chris warns. “While isolated exercises are fine for increasing size, if you’re looking to make a significant change, functional compound movements are much more effective as they engage a larger amount of muscles and therefore increase overall functional strength.
“Compound movements also cause the greatest release of anabolic hormones in the body (testosterone and growth hormone are among them) because the more taxing the exercise on the system, the greater the release and in turn the results.”
- Train for an objective
Maintaining a performance-related goal will lead to a more toned body as a by-product of your hard work. “Set a measurable goal and work towards it. If you don’t, how could you possibly know if you are getting any better? Remember, ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’.”
- Mix up your training
The idea here is to keep your body guessing to improve your overall state of General Physical Preparedness (GPP). “The ability to perform at a high level across a range of activities will help you increase your overall general fitness goals,” Chris says.
- Don’t just do what you are good at
It’s easy to smash out hundreds of sit-ups if you know you’re good at them (and that they’ll sharpen your body for those extra likes on Insta), but it’s not necessarily what’s best for you. “Working on your weaknesses forces your body out of its comfort zone and makes it work harder. The harder you work, the better the results!”
5. Treat your body right
And that means proper nutrition and plenty of sleep. “You wouldn’t expect your car to run with no petrol,” Chris says. “Make sure you have a good balance of protein, carbs, fats and antioxidants and stay hydrated! Don’t expect your body to perform if you are not filling it with enough of the right stuff.
“If you’re not getting enough sleep then I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be recovering well enough between sessions . . . and the better you recover, the better you will train the next time and the better your results will be!”