Great Looking Abs...From the Inside Out
Is this you? Stomach hurting or bloated after a meal? Let's talk about taking an internal approach to tackling the trickiest and most sought out after area of our exterior....our abs.
Honestly, who doesn't want a six-pack? I hear what you're saying, "No I'm in this for the health...that's not really important to me". So, you wake up one day, washboard abs and all and say "No, this isn't me. I don't want these. Please take them back." Right? Wrong. It's okay to want to do this for the health reasons but appreciate some of the outcomes as well. Here's a good analogy; you're not taking the job just because of the company car that comes with it, but it is a nice perk.
By an internal approach we look at two major factors that can be broken down into two very broad categories-digestive health and pain. Both factor into how our abdominal area functions, which ultimately dictates how it looks. "You are who you are on the inside"...literally...
Let's start with digestive health, which can be broken down into two categories-food allergies and excretion. Too often the system that plays the biggest role in our health is the system we want to talk about the least. I get it.
Our digestive health is ultimately what really dictates how our abs appear. I think we all know this on some level, maybe we don't often make the connection between food and our body's reaction to it. Sometimes bloated, sometimes cramped, sometimes diarrhea...we possibly think that this is how the digestive system works, as if it's different for everybody, just like our personalities. Not so. Think of our digestive system like our respiration system. You shouldn't have to constantly think, take medication for, and have side effects from trying to breathe. It just happens, you just breathe. Our digestive system is meant to be the same as well.
Food allergies...so what is a food allergy? It's the body’s abnormal reaction to what could be for others a normally harmless substance. This is key for two reasons. One, our body is fighting and creates a stress response (switching our nervous systems like we discussed in my stress post). Two, symptoms of an allergic reaction are diarrhea, swelling, and bloating. Do diarrhea, swelling, and bloating go hand in hand with a sexy six-pack?
How does pain factor into this? Because I'm a trainer, we're going to view how it affects our muscular system and the function of our core. In the lower spine, organs and muscles share the same pain receptors. Meaning, if there is internal stress (pain) or muscular pain the body is going to react and it's going to affect both areas. Muscle tightness or overactive muscles can cause pain and this could factor into core function. When the body is in pain or under attack remember it rushes all the resources to the extremities. At this moment everything internal takes a back seat. Think of it as if the castle (the body) is under attack and people are running to defend the walls. Conversely we can look at the opposite of this as well, if there is constant stress in our internal organs this is going to affect the function of our core.
If this piques your interest at all, there are a couple of places you can start. Since this is my blog, and solely my opinion, I would recommend to get your allergies checked by a naturopath. Also, a good book to get started with is Paul Chek's How to Eat, Move, and Be Healthy