Let’s be honest: most of us have lusted after our very own set of abs at some point. Scrolling through Instagram – where the washboard stomachs of Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski are so cruelly dangled in front of us – it’s hard not to, right?
But if like me, you find the lure of a glass of rosé and a cheese platter simply too great, you probably find this physique always just out of reach. Such is life.
If this is you too, you might take comfort in the words of fitness influencer Hannah Barry, who just got brutally honest with her 65k followers about what it really takes to earn that coveted six-pack (other than farewelling your beloved brie).
“First thing’s first – everyone has abs,” she began in a recent post. But here’s where is gets interesting: “How visible your abs are comes down to your body fat percentage, where you genetically store fat, and the thickness of your abdominal wall (also high waisted leggings, good lighting and a tan).”
While Hannah herself has quite the impressive six-pack, she explains this is down to a combination of genetics, and the fact that fitness and nutrition is a major part of her working life. Of course, not all of us can be so lucky (I supposed I could squat while typing this – but I’m not going to).
For a lot of women though, she says maintaining a flush six-pack is not realistic for many reasons, starting with the fact they would need to “maintain their body fat at an unhealthy percentage”.
Like any other muscle, you can build your abs to be “thicker” but – bad news, keto dieters – this is not just a matter of cutting out carbs, she says. Rather it is a matter of “consistent training and spending a long period of time in a calorie surplus with adequate micronutrients”.
Also, she reminds followers “everyBODY is different”, adding that she is “a platinum card member of the itty bitty titty committee” (same) and naturally carries less fat above her waist. She adds that her enviable physique is also the result of teaching herself a lot about nutrition and training very consistently.
“But if you ate how I ate every day, your results would not be the same as mine,” she stresses. Plus, she points out visible abs are NOT the be all and end all (despite what Instagram would have us believe…) and for some, it is just plain unhealthy.
Is it just me, or does this kind of Real Talk feel like a breath of fresh air?
Next time you berate your soft belly in front of the mirror or pick holes in your appearance, remember Hannah’s wise words. For some of us, it’s not realistic, and frankly, not worth the cheese deprivation.