Has getting a six pack ever been on your list of goals? This week we are going to talk a little bit about abs and six packs and lean bodies and why that's such a big goal for so many of you and how I did it and how you can too. I’ll talk about setting my goal, the process, what worked for me, and what has happened since. I’ll even share a couple little known secrets about ab muscles. I do want you to know that you do not need to have a goal to get a six pack. You do not need to have a goal to get visible abs. I want you to be reaching for whatever goal it is that you want to reach. Listen in to find out how I was able to reach my goal of getting a six pack, and you can reach your goals too!
- Getting abs doesn’t need to be everyone’s goal. 1:36
- What you learn along the way, whether or not you actually end up with a six pack is almost, if not more important than the actual six pack itself. 4:21
- Counting macros and setting my calories in a caloric deficit helped me shed the fat I needed in order to get my six pack. 10:48
- I shifted to focusing on building strength and my six pack came back when I started doing CrossFit. 16:11
- There are two ways to decrease body fat percentage: body fat reduction and building muscle. 20:04
- I kept my same workouts – teaching group fitness classes and lifting on my own during the process of getting a six pack. You have to have muscle on your abs in order for you to be able to see it. If you're someone who you're kind of just diving in for the first time and exercise and nutrition and lifting weights is all brand new to you, it's important to have different expectations than someone who has built the muscle. 28:26
- I implore you to not get in the cycle of always trying to make your body smaller. It's not always about eating less. It's not always about shrinking. It's not always about a deficit. It's not always about weight loss, and if I could do one thing and get more women to understand that fat loss can be a part of your journey, but it really should be a very small part. 30:57
No matter if getting a six pack is on or off your goal list, there is power in setting goals and working towards them! I share with you the process I went through to get abs, and how you can apply those same steps to your own journey. There is power in reaching for something that you don't currently have because everything you want right now is outside of your comfort zone. Growth happens outside of your comfort zone.
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio episode number 62
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer,
online fitness coach, wife, and mom of four. My guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Hey, Hey, welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke and I am so glad you're here. I'm glad that you're listening. I'm glad that you're sharing the podcast and I hope that you're finding a lot of value in what I put out each and every week. My whole goal for being here is to inspire you, is to motivate you and really is to help you recognize your power and the power that you have in setting goals and achieving goals in being intentional as you live your life. And I hope that's what you get each and every week as you come back and listen to Biceps After Babies Radio. Today we are going to talk a little bit about abs and six packs and lean bodies and why that's such a big goal for so many of you and how I did it and how you can too.
Getting Abs Doesn’t Have to be Your Goal (01:36)
So let me preface this with saying that you do not need to have a goal to get a six pack. You do not need to have a goal to get visible abs. I want you to be reaching for whatever goal it is that you want to reach. But I do find that there are consistent themes with when I ask people what their goals are, there's consistent themes and six pack tends to be one that I hear a lot. And it's something that we kind of see as a status. It's something that for a lot of us means we have to push ourselves. And I know it's a goal that some of you have. Some of you think, I never want a six pack. That's too hard to get. I would never want to do what's required in order to get a six pack. And that is totally fine. There's nothing saying that you're going to be any healthier, that you're going to be any happier with a six pack. And I really want to stress that and I hope that you get that over and over as you go through listening to the podcast episodes and as you see posts on Instagram.
The Magic Happens When We Work Toward Goals (02:31)
I am really big about achieving goals, but I'm also really big on the fact that we set goals and we work to achieve them. Not because it's going to make us more worthy, not because it's gonna make us happier and not even because it's gonna make us healthier. A lot of times weight loss in and of itself doesn't provide better health for you. And I really think it's important that we separate in the fitness industry, health versus fitness and goals and you know, pushing our body in a way that changes us and the way that we show up in our lives. I truly, truly believe that the power in setting goals and reaching for something that you currently don't have is so incredibly valuable and it's valuable whether or not you actually reached the end destination, whether or not you actually reach the goal. What is valuable is the change in you that happens during the process of reaching for a set goal. And I want you to stop to think about that for a minute because so often we get wrapped up in whatever the end result is that we want and we forget that the process we have to go to get there is just as much of a win as actually achieving the set outcome. So what I find for a lot of women when we set fitness goals and it causes us to show up in a different way, it causes us to challenge ourselves in a different way. And it changes the way that we live our lives. It changes what we think is possible. And to me that is the big benefit of setting big lofty goals and working to achieve them. It's who you become in the process, not just getting the end result.
The Elusive Ab Goal (04:21)
And so for a lot of people, I think when we go for this elusive AB goal, that is one of the biggest things. You may or may not, we'll talk about how I got abs, what you can do in order if that's one of your goals as well. But what I want you to consider is that what you learn along the way, whether or not you actually end up with a six pack is almost, if not more important than the actual six pack itself. So that's my little disclaimer as we go into this conversation. As I talk to you about my experience and as you think about how this can relate to your fitness journey, I just really want to make clear if this is a goal that you have set for yourself or you want to set for yourself or you can see yourself setting in the future that you come from this place, that you're very clear that abs aren't going to make you happier. Abs aren't going to make you love your body. Shocker for a lot of people, some of the most insecure women I know are people who you would look at their body and think that they just have it all together and that they are complete goals, right? You wish your body looked like them. Some of those women are some of the most insecure women, so if you're setting this goal to get abs, please, please do not do it because you think it will make you happier. You think it will make you healthier. You think it will make you more attractive. You think that it will establish that you are worthy. None of those are good reasons for setting a goal to achieve abs. What would be a good reason to set a goal? You want to push yourself. You want to see what you're capable of. You want to get a little bit uncomfortable and experience the growth that comes from stepping outside of your comfort zone, and those are excellent reasons to set a lofty goal like this and to work towards it because you know that as you push yourself and as you stretch yourself and as you challenge yourself. That helps you as a person to grow and in my mind, that's where I came from in in my quest for abs and I hope that's where you're starting from as well. We really need to make sure that we're starting from this place that you are 100% worthwhile and you are 100% enough as you currently are. Right? This very moment and then we can talk about how can I step outside of my comfort zone? How can I grow a little bit? How can I challenge myself? That is when it gets exciting to set goals like this.
My Fitness and Health History (06:37)
So I've told my origin story multiple times on the podcast. But if you're just tuning in and this is your first episode, I'm going to do a quick recap of kind of my journey and some of the goals that I've set for myself. So I've been very active for much of my life. I taught group fitness classes for about eight years and over that course of time I loved teaching. I loved my classes, I loved my students. I loved the community. There's a lot that I loved about group fitness. But one thing that I really noticed was that over the eight years my body changed very little over that time I was showing up. I was doing lots of work at the gym, but for a variety of reasons, my body really never changed. And there's a couple of reasons for that. One was I didn't really have the diet piece. I didn't really have the nutrition aspect. And when I was able to figure that piece out and I found macro counting and I learned how to adapt my nutrition to whatever my goals were, that really shifted things for me. And it shifts things for a lot of women. I find a lot of people who come to me, the exercise piece is not as confusing or as hard, but it's that nutrition piece that's lacking. And that was absolutely what it was for me. So that was a big piece to it. Another thing of why my body wasn't changing is because with group fitness, there's no like progressive overload. There's no pushing your weights in a very linear, consistent fashion that's going to cause your body to adapt in the way that you want it to adapt. And so my body had adapted to the variety that I was doing, the consistency that I was doing and our body won't adapt any further than what we challenge it with.
Why I Wasn’t Seeing any Change in my Body (08:12)
So there was a couple of reasons why I wasn't seeing any change in my body, but I got to this point where I was like, you know what, I show up at the gym very consistent. I felt like I ate pretty healthy. And I wanted to see a change. I wanted to say, you know what? Like I actually want to impact a change on my body and see the hard work that I'm putting in at the gym and the way that I look. So, I set a new year's resolution and anybody who tells you that new year's resolutions don't work, I will, you know, raise my hand and say, you know what, maybe they don't work all the time, but there is absolute power in setting new year's resolutions. It was January, 2016 and my resolution for the year was to get abs, and I had recently found out about macro counting. It was kind of what I felt like when macro counting was becoming a little bit more mainstream and it was taken from the bodybuilding world into more of a general population. But I found out about macro counting and it clicked with my science brain. It clicked with my history in nursing and in the science way that I understand nutrition. And I was like, this seems like a legit based in science way to approach changing my body and being able to make sure I'm aligning my nutrition with the physical goals that I have. So I said, here we go. Like I'm going to get abs. Never had visible abs before. And first of all, when I say, get abs, everybody has abs, right? You have abs. When we talk about getting abs, it usually just means making those apps visible from the outside.
My Goal to Get Abs (09:47)
So that was my goal. And I started 2016 with that goal. I set my macros, I learned to track, I started tracking my food and my weight and taking progress pictures. And it was crazy to me, the change that happened over the next two months with my body, because the previous eight years, nothing had really changed. It just was like same old, same old, always the same. And when I took that piece of the nutrition and I aligned it with the goal that I have, it blew me away with how much change my body was able to make in just a two month period of time. And that really is the power of nutrition and that's the power of macro counting. What macro counting does really well is it is able to adjust and tweak and really zero in on what you're fueling your body with in order to support and accelerate you getting the results that you want in the long run.
Setting my Macros (10:48)
So I set my macros and I, and I hit them for that eight week period of time and I was blown away at the end of the eight weeks I had visible abs. I for the first time in my life I had a six pack. I lost about 10 pounds in those eight weeks. And again, I went into this not knowing what I know now, not having a coach. I highly recommend following somebody who maybe can give you a little bit more guidance. I just was like doing things all on my own and it took me a lot longer in the scheme of things because I was just kind of trialing and error on my own. And I eventually got there. But nowadays I would find someone out who was an expert and could get me there a little bit faster.
Hitting my Goal (11:37)
But I did reach my goal. I did get my six pack and I felt really awesome and I was really proud and I didn't feel awesome because I had a six pack. I felt awesome because I had challenged myself and because I had set a goal and because I had worked towards it and I had reached for that goal and I had done it. You know, I was able to check that off my list and after that there was a whole bunch of other things that happened. I went through a building phase. I went through some bulking and maintaining and subsequent cuts. So, you know, I've kind of gone through cycles and at some point I was like, you know, six packs are awesome. Like, it's great. I've been able to, I mean, I did maintain my six pack for about six to eight months. But I was like, you know what, being lean is cool, but there's so much more that I want to do in fitness. To me being lean was just like one goal to check off the list. And I really got to the place where I'm like, yeah, aesthetics are fun and I've kind of completed some of the things that I want to do, but I want to get strong and I want to look strong and I want to put on more muscle. I want to build, I don't want to always be focusing on getting smaller and getting smaller. I want to take time to build my body and build my muscles and fuel my body. And so I went from a maintenance phase after I got my six pack into a building phase and I went to a surplus and was able to put on muscle and strength and size and all of those things. And my six pack went away during that period of time, which I was a hundred percent okay with. Because again, I think one of the biggest things that women get stuck with is they're chasing these aesthetic goals and it's like you're on this hamster wheel and you never quite reached that aesthetic goal. And I really find that I have no problem with aesthetic goals. I'm all for you reaching whatever goal it is you want to set for yourself. But I do find that especially for women, when we can change the focus from aesthetic only, right? Only being concerned about aesthetics to how do you feel, how do you perform at the gym? What performance goals do you want? How do you want to build strength? And we can really start to focus on the other aspects of training and exercise and building.
Changing My Focus to Strength (13:57)
It's a really beautiful place for that most people, women, don't get to. They spend so much time in the weight loss and it's like always weight loss, always weight loss, always weight loss. And when I can get women to move from just always having weight loss as their goal to realizing that weight loss really should play a very small part of the bigger picture. So to give you a little bit of context, I cut for eight weeks. I then maintained for six to eight months. I then went into a building phase for like a year. It was like a year long building phase. Um, so in the year of 2016, I was in a caloric deficit for literally eight weeks and the rest of the time I was in maintenance or in a surplus. And I think one of the things that so many women get caught up in is they're always looking to be in a caloric deficit, always trying to lose, trying to lose. And a lot of times I find that if we can get out of that cycle, we can get into some maintenance period. We can get into some even building period for some of you and then we can go back to that, that deficit. It's going to work better and it's, it really should be a small part of what you do. It shouldn't be like you're in a deficit for years and years and years.
So that was my experience. That was what I did. I lost my six pack. I was able to build, I was able to hit big numbers with my power lifting, which was my goal. I was able to feel really good in the gym and build a lot of strength and a lot of muscle and, and um, frankly I think I look a lot better now than I did previously because when I get lean I get lean without having muscle. Whereas I felt like previously I look back on some of those pictures and I think I look not sickly, not like anorexic, but I don't feel like I look as healthy as I look now. And that's because I've taken the time to build and I've taken the time to add muscle and I've taken the time to really fuel my body and work on some performance goals. And so after that period of building and doing power lifting competition and really focusing a lot on strength and not so much on aesthetics.
My Six Pack Came Back (16:11)
It's been interesting that just recently maybe about, I don't know, maybe about four months ago, four to six months ago, my abs came back and it was funny, I had abs in 2016 went through a long period of time when I didn't really have visible abs and they, they're currently back. And, and the reason is, and we'll go into this in just a minute, a little bit deeper. The reason is, is that not that I'm as lean as I used to be, and I'll give you numbers for that in just a minute, but not that I'm as lean as I used to be, but I've actually built up the abdominal muscles more. And so I'm able to see my six pack at a higher percentage body fat than previously because I've done the work to actually build the size of the muscle. So let's dive into that first because I'm going to talk about how I got abs, but I also want to relate this to you and how you can get abs as well and what kind of things you need to be thinking of if this is something that is a goal of yours.
Body Fat Percentage (17:10)
So the first thing is the body fat percentage that is required in order to see visible abs. Now it's probably easy to understand that in order to see the abs, you have to take off the layer of fat that is on top of them because we all have abs, right? Our abs are all in there. We all have a core, but we have fat that is over top of the abs. And so when we talk about seeing visible abs, it's because we've reduced the amount of fat that is laying over our abs enough that those muscles can show through. And so to some extent seeing visible abs is really losing enough abdominal body fat in order to have those muscles poke through. Now there is a wide range of what percentage body fat you will need to attain in order to see your abs. And this has some to do with genetics of how your body loses body fat and it where it pulls from.
We can't tell our body to pull from our abdominal area versus the back of our arm versus our legs. Our body pulls from fat storages in the way that it pulls from. So some people genetically will lose weight in their abdominal region faster than other people. And so there's a varied amount of what percentage body fat you need to attain in order to see visible abs. But to give you a range of something that to consider into something to kind of work towards somewhere between 16 to 18% is usually a good range for when women can see visible abs. Now this is for women specifically. Men typically are about 10% body fat or lower. So for example, a guy sitting at 10% body fat will look similar to a woman's sitting at about 20% body fat. So for guys it's more like six to 8%. For body fat females it's more 16 to 18% body fat. We just tend to carry more body fat overall on our bodies for a lot of reasons, babies and nursing and things like that. Now that's not to say that every single person who gets down to 16% body fat will see visible abs, like there is some genetics involved. There is also the consideration that I talked about earlier of how much you have built up your abs. If you get super lean but you don't really have developed abs like you have abs there but they aren't developed muscularly it's going to be harder for you to see your abdominal muscles even if you are lean enough. So I give you that range and that just general idea because for me it helped to like know, okay where do I need to be in order to to see abs and for me personally I got down to about 16 to 17% body fat and that was when I was able to see abs but again you could be different.
Two Ways to Decrease Body Fat (20:04)
I like to give ranges but just understand it. It's not like every single person who hits 16% body fat is going to see abs. There is some genetics at play and there definitely is how much you have built up the core at play and I want to make the point because so many people don't understand this, that there is two ways to decrease your body fat percentage. Number one which is what everybody automatically defaults to. If you want to decrease your body fat percentage, you want to lose fat because as you decrease your body percentage, more of your body weight will be made up of muscle, right? If you maintain the muscle and you lose the fat, your body fat percentage is going to go down. But there is also a second way to decrease your body fat percentage. And that is to not necessarily lose any fat but to gain more muscle. And if you gain more muscle, a higher percentage of your body weight will be from muscle and thus your body fat percentage will decrease. And so I tell you that, and I give you the example of what I experienced in my life that yes, like the first time I wanted to get abs, my focus was on body fat reduction. But the second time my abs appeared was not when I was trying to get leaner. It was not when I was losing body fat, but when I took the time to fuel my body appropriately and actually build up the muscles. And so here I am sitting at about a 20% body fat right now, and I'm able to see visible abs. Whereas beforeI had to get down to 16 to 17% body fat in order to see abs.
Less Isn’t Always Better (21:39)
So so often we just automatically want to default to weight loss and caloric deficit and eat less is always better. And this is where I really try to turn the tide and shift the way that you're thinking that like less is not always better. My friends, sometimes doing a building phase and focusing on fueling your body and building strength and you know, making sure that your body has enough calories in order to build the muscle will actually get you where you want to go in the long run. Even better than just always thinking that eating less is the answer. So if you do get down to 16 to 17% body fat and you aren't seeing abs, I really would highly suggest that you take that time to reverse your calories up. I talk about reverse dieting in episode 42 and episode nine so making sure you're doing a reverse, you're getting your calories up to maintenance, you're spending time at maintenance and you're giving your body those calories that it's going to need in order to build the muscle that you want to be able to build.
Little Known Secret About Abs #1 (22:39)
Now I'm going to let you in on a little known secret. I feel like not enough people understand this or know this and I think we can really blame social media and pictures that show a fraction of a second that we post on Instagram and only tell a very small part of the entire story. People who have six packs, a lot of people who have six packs don't actually walk around with a six pack all day long. They wake up in the morning just like when you wake up in the morning and you're like, you're probably your leanest right when you wake up in the morning. A lot of people, myself included, I can see a six pack in the morning that won't necessarily be there later on in the day and I think that that's something that if you've never had a six pack before and you just are looking at photos on Instagram and you're just seeing girls post with their like six packs, you may think that that's just how they go through their day. Maybe some people do, but I know for me I had a six pack first thing in the morning and gosh darn it, that's when I would take my photos and then later on the day you eat, you drink, you poop like all of those things and my six pack definitely did not look the same as it did in the morning. And I tell you that to help you understand that again, this goal of setting to get a six pack, I'm all in supportive. I'm all in support of you challenging yourself and pushing yourself. But if you have this idea that like it's going to change the way your body looks all day long, that like you're always going to have this six pack. I just want to kind of give you a little reality check and just have you understand that like yes you can get down to a body fat percentage where you do always have a six pack.
Yes, you can build your muscles up to where you like, you know some of those CrossFit women, like they always have a six pack. They've built that muscle up to the point where they don't have to be super, super lean to be able to see it.
Little Known Secret About Abs #2 (24:35)
But just to give you a little reality check, you might not always have a six pack and then here's the second little known secret. You have to learn how to flex your six pack. This was something that I didn't really expect. I thought like for people who just took six pack pictures that they just like pull up their shirt and like there's their six pack, right? Like that's just how it is. Again, this is my experience so maybe other people have different experiences. But for me I had to learn how to like flex my six pack and it wasn't just so much as like pulling on my shirt and like squeezing my abs. For me it was like I had to take a huge deep breath, I had to exhale, I tried to exhale as much air as I could and then like really scrunching down and like trying to squeeze like someone was gonna punch me. And I remember as I'm like trying to take these photos sometimes that I'm like squeezing out all the air, taking these big deep breaths, like readjusting, pushing out like there, what I'm trying to say is there's just a whole lot of like acrobatics that can go into getting a picture and I would take multiple pictures and I would do it again and I would say, Oh I need to squeeze a little harder over here, whatever to get the picture that like showed my six pack. And I tell you this just to give you a little bit of perspective and when you go and you are scrolling through Instagram and you're seeing someone's six pack that like they may have had to take 17 pictures to get that and they may have just done it right when they woke up in the morning cause that's when they were the leanest and they had to like hold their breath for as long as they could and like snap all these photos.
My Process to Get Abs (26:14)
It's a very different understanding of what a six pack can be then sometimes I think we get when we just scroll through Instagram, so let's get to the actual process. Like what did I do? How did I eat, how did I train? Like what was the actual physical process that I did in order to reach the goal that you can apply to your own journey. So my process was very simple and pretty straight forward and absolutely something that you can replicate. I set my macros and I set it in a deficit. I set it for fat loss and you can do that as well. You can use my free guide at www.bicepsafterbabies.com/setmymacros. You can download my free guide and you can set your calories for a deficit for a fat loss period. And that's what I did with my nutrition.
My Experience Counting Macros (27:04)
Now the key here is, the macros and counting macros works best when we find a sweet spot, meaning we are in a caloric deficit, we are burning more calories than we are consuming, but that deficit isn't so deep that we aren't fueling our body appropriately. So you can imagine that there's this sweet spot, right? We want enough carbs that we are able to perform, but not so many that it puts us into a caloric surplus. Same thing with protein. Same thing with fat. And that's one of the reasons why macro counting works so well and is so targeted is because instead of just generally slashing calories, you're actually paying attention to how many carbs you're getting, how many protein you're getting, and how many fat you're getting. And each of those plays a different role in your body processes. And so we really want to make sure that we find that sweet spot, that we're getting enough but not too much in order to hit our goals. And that's where macro counting really comes in and really helps you to dial in that nutrition rather than just randomly slashing calories and not really paying attention to where those calories are coming from. So that's what I did. I set my macros in a deficit. I tracked my food. I stayed on target most of the time. There's nothing 100% about anything that I did, but I stayed on track most of the time, fairly consistent and I was able to see that body fat be stripped away slowly.
My Workouts (28:26)
Now people ask me what workouts I did. And honestly my workouts didn't change at all. I was teaching group fitness classes before. I taught group fitness classes during and I taught group fitness classes after my class schedule didn't change, nothing changed with the way that I was training. But I had been lifting for a while. Like this was not my first rodeo. Like it wasn't my first time ever touching a barbell. I taught body pump. I'd lifted on my own. So I had to some extent built up some abs there. You know, I had some strength in my core so my workouts didn't change. But it is important to note that you have to actually have muscle there on your abs in order for you to be able to see it. So if you're someone who you're kind of just diving in for the first time and exercise and nutrition and lifting weights is all brand new to you. It's important to have different expectations than someone who has built the muscle. For me, I was like, I know I've built the muscle. I've done the work in the gym over time. I've built the muscle, now I want to be able to see it. Now I want to be able to strip off some of the fat that is over the muscle and I want to be able to see it. And I know that some of you can resonate with you because you tell me the same thing. You're like, I know I've built muscle. I've taken the time to lift weights, but now I really want to able to see what I've built. And that's where stripping off that layer of fat that is over the muscle allows you to be able to see that muscle definition and it allows you to look that quote unquote toned look that you want to see.
So my workouts didn't change. But for you, if you are wanting to see a six pack then I really would encourage you to lift weights. Now let me make it really clear. I'm not telling you to go do AB exercises. In fact I didn't do any basically any isolated ab exercises. What I did was I did a lot of compound training and I did a lot of squats and deadlifts and bench and, you know, all of those compound lifts, pull ups because all of those things where you're using multiple muscle groups and you're using your whole body, you're using your core, right? Your core is your stabilizer. And so yes, I think lifting weights is important. But how many unique days that you train abs is like so low on the totem pole of importance. Um, people get really caught up in, should I train abs once a week? Should I train abs three times a week? Should I, you know, how long should I do my planks for? Um, and I will say that yes, you do need some sort of foundation of weightlifting in order to build up that muscle.
Dropping Body Fat Percentage is a Small Part of the Journey (30:57)
But the most important thing for a lot of people is just pulling off the fat, and dropping your body fat percentage low enough so that you'll be able to see those abs. And I'm going to make the point one more time that I now see visible abs at a higher body fat percentage than I used to. I had to get down to 16 to 17% initially. But because I've taken the time over the last couple of years to build and to increase my strength and to do lots of compound lifting and to start CrossFit and to do these things where I'm strengthening my abdominal muscles and strengthening my core, I now can sit at 19-20% body fat and see visible abs and so I really just implore you to not get in the cycle of always trying to make your body smaller. Okay? It's not always about eating less. It's not always about shrinking. It's not always about a deficit. It's not always about weight loss, and if I could do one thing and and get more women to understand that fat loss can be a part of your journey, but it really should be a very small part and you don't even necessarily have to hit your goal weight for you to transition onto some of these other goals, these other strength goals, other performance goals. The weight loss goals can always be there and you can always go back to them. But if you haven't ever had a period in your life where you were focusing on performance rather than weight loss, think about that for a minute. What would that be like if instead of always being on the hamster wheel of always trying to lose weight, if you just shifted your perspective and shifted your focus onto performance and performing well and getting stronger and doing hard things at the gym, how in the long run it may be able to get you to your goal that you've been spinning your wheels on for a really long time?
The Reverse Process (33:00)
And I talk about this a little bit in the reverse side in episodes in episode nine and 42 so if you are somebody who has been on this constant yoyo who has never had any other fitness goals other than weight loss, I really encourage you to go listen to those episodes and we'll link them up in the show notes. But episode number nine and 42 I talk about how important it is to get yourself out of a deficit, how important it is to get your calories up, how important it is to have a maintenance period. Your body wasn't made to be in a caloric deficit all the time. Yes, we can use it as a tool. Yes, it can help us hit certain goals, but it shouldn't be where you live your life. You should live your life at maintenance. And so many women miss the mark really a lot when it comes to weight loss versus weight maintenance.
So that's really the secret, which is like not that big of a secret or that like big of a revelation. How did I get a six pack? I set myself in a caloric deficit and I dropped my body fat percentage to a place that I was able to strip off the abdominal fat and I focused on having built abs and that came from time spent lifting and that came from time spent lifting not in a deficit, right? Like I was lifting, not a deficit. You will never build muscle as efficiently when you are in a caloric deficit as you will when you are a maintenance or in a surplus. And so those are really the two pieces when it comes to getting visible abs. Are you lean enough and have you built the muscle enough? And if you've gotten lean enough and you still don't see abs, I would encourage you to take the time to build up the muscle.
And if you've taken time to build all the muscle but you don't see the abs, then I would encourage you to maybe go into a fat loss period. But both parts are really needed. You gotta be lean enough, but you gotta have the abs built up enough that you can see them as well. And that's the real trick, having both of the pieces and I feel like, so oftentimes women have one or the other. They are super, super lean, but they haven't really built up the abs or they've built up the abs, but they haven't gotten lean enough. And it's when you can combine those two pieces together that you're able to see the transformation in your body.
Value of Setting Goals Recap (35:15)
So I hope this has been interesting for you to listen to my journey and my experience and maybe given you some ideas about what is next for you and maybe a six pack isn't what's next for you. Maybe something else is, but I will say it again, just like I said at the beginning of the episode, that the value of setting goals is in reaching them. It's in who you become in the process of reaching for them. So whether or not you hit the goal is way less important than who you become in the process of reaching for it. And if there's nothing else that you take away from this episode, it's that goal setting is amazing and awesome and pushes you and makes you grow in a way that almost nothing does. Whether or not you reached the goal itself because there is power in setting an intention. There is power in reaching for something that you don't currently have because everything you want right now is outside of your comfort zone. Growth happens outside of your comfort zone. And so when we set goals that push us and stretch us and make us grow, we become different people. And as we become different people in one area of our life that shows up in other areas of our life, and you're going to see that you start setting goals in your personal life and in your professional life and in your family life. And that's really the goal with what I do. Yes, we start with fitness. Yes, I'm all about helping you reach whatever fitness goals that you have, but my hope is that as you light that fire, as you realize your power, as you understand how to set goals and reach them and and understand how amazing you are and how much you can accomplish in your life, that as you get excited about that, it bleeds out into everything else that you do. It bleeds out into the other 23 hours of your day. That's not at the gym, right? That is you showing up for your family, that is you showing up for your career.
That is you showing up for the people in your life who you love. The whole purpose of fitness is to become a better you and that's not anything to do with the six pack. It's not anything to do with weight loss. It's not anything to do with PRS. It's about you stretching yourself to reach for whatever it is that you want to attain in your life.
What You Want is Within Your Reach (37:38)
So thanks for being here. Thanks for being a part of the Biceps After Babies crew. I love hearing from you and I love hearing with how this message of self improvement, while your loving yourself is resonating with you and how you guys are showing up differently in your life. That's, it means everything to me, that I'm able to inspire people and hopefully inspire you in a way that improves your life and improves where you're going and helps you to really realize that girlfriend, you are powerful and anything you want, anything, anything you want is within your grasp and you can do it. I truly, truly believe that when we have desires to do things, anytime that we have a desire for something, it is within our grasp to achieve. That wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber. Now go out and be strong because my friend, you can do anything.
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