If you’ve ever training to try and get a six pack for your holiday, you’ll know how damned hard it is.
Belly fat covering up those abdominal muscle can be near impossible to shift.
But if you think the way to get a chiselled mid section is just be doing thousands of sit-ups, we’ve got some bad news for you.
Elite MMA nutritionist Georges Lockhart, who works on the diets of UFC fighters like Conor McGregor, pretty much confirmed that abs are made in the kitchen.
But there’s one massive factor which Lockhart explains might be holding you back from torching the last of your belly fat and making those abs pop.
It all comes down to the proportion of fatty acids in your diet – more specifically Omega 3 and Omega 6.
“Getting rid of the gut, it’s called spot reducing”, he says. “A lot of people come to me and say ‘I want to lose fat on my stomach’
“Unfortunately everyone has fat cells and they have different amount of fat cells. Some people have more fat cells in their triceps and hips, that’s the way a woman is designed for the most part.
“Men are designed with more fat cells in their abdomen region.”
Cortisol, the stress hormone, also has a part to play.
“What people don’t realise is that increased inflammation is going to increase the cortisol. Things that increase inflammation are in a lot of the foods that we eat.”
He says one of the biggest causes of inflammation in the body is the amount of Omega 6 we eat. Your body needs Omega 6, it’s an essential fatty acid – but he explains that the average American gets an average ration of 15:1 of Omega 6 to Omega 3.
To get your body back in balance this ration should be down around 2:1 keep the belly fat promoting inflammation and cortisol in check.
“Omega 6 causes inflammation in the body. So to get rid of that inflammation what I do is I want to take in an equal amount of Omega 3 to clean that system out. Omega 3 helps with the inflammation, Omega 6 causes a lot of the inflammation.
“Cortisol is released when my body is inflamed. Increased amounts of cortisol increases the amount of belly fat.
“So if you want to change this with nutrition, increase the amount of Omega 3 in your diet, decrease the amount of Omega 6 and try to get a balance or a 2:1 ratio.”
Most fats contain Omega 6 – except a select few like flax seeds, flax seed oil, chia seeds or oily fish like salmon.
“The problem is not where you get your Omega 6s, it’s where you get your Omega 3s. If I get just one type of fat all the time, any food will be unhealthy for me. My body needs a balance of everything.”
So to give yourself a better chance of carving an iron six pack, it’s critical to look at what fats you’re getting and balancing it with more Omega 3s.