In the fitness industry today there are plenty of common buzz words that we hear all of the time. Unfortunately, they are used to sell a product or service and the general public will have an incorrect idea of what the word means. Occasionally, I will post about the various common buzzwords and try to give the real meaning compared to what the common thoughts are on those terms.
1. The Core– The Core is probably the most common buzzword in the industry today. Often times the core or core exercises are thought of as exercises that work out the rectus abdominus (the “six pack” muscle) involving some kind of instability or balance. Various products market themselves as being able to target the core and by doing so, the person using it will lose fat in the midsection.
the reality– In reality the core consists of several muscles, large and small. All of these muscles act on the midsection in some way or another. The goal of training the core is not to get a six pack, washboard abs or to lose weight around the midsection. The real goal of core training is to enhance posture and stability by making the muscles work together in the correct patterns. Core training is an essential part of any program because those with a strong core can do a lot more than those without.
2. Tone up– Everybody seems to want to tone up and very often, especially women, they want to tone up without building muscle. The way people speak about muscle tone is almost as if the muscles are clay and can be molded into these really defined objects.
the reality– When people talk about muscle tone, they are usually referring to muscle definition. Having defined muscles consists of three things. First is that you need to have a decent amount muscle. A very skinny person with little muscle mass will not have much muscle tone or definition because there is nothing to show so you need to build muscle to “tone up.” Second is that you need to have low bodyfat. No matter how big the muscles are or how athletic a person is, if there is a lot of bodyfat, the muscles won’t look as defined. They are still there but not really visible if under layers of fat. The third thing that is needed is actually what muscle tone really is. Muscle tone refers to bodies state of readiness. This means the bodies ability to act quickly. Even at rest, a certain percentage of our muscles are still activating. This muscle activity is the muscle tone. Generally tone is developed through regular activity which is why athletes are usually very defined. Regular exercise will help increase the rate of activity but it’s important to change up the routine and perform athletic movements if possible. Athletes are generally very defined and this is because it’s their job to work out so their bodies are at a very high state of activity.
3. The lower abs– Most people carry a little extra fat around the midsection near or below the navel. Even very fit people tend to have it. This area just seems to be a place that the body likes to store extra fat. Obviously, as a result, people want to lose fat in this area and tons of products are out there claiming to work the lower abs. All of these products calim that by using them, they will assist in losing the fat in that area and developing a defined lower portion of the abdominal area.
the reality– Again, this subject like the one above almost needs to be broken into two separate areas. I will go into greater detail next week on training the abdominal area so for now I will focus on the idea of a separate lower abdominal area. The lower abs do not exist as an entity separate from the upper portion. It’s all one muscle and there is no way of targeting one portion over the other. Often times a person may feel pain in near the pelvis and think that they are working the lower abs but in reality they are feeling the pain in their hip flexors.