Kim Kardashian's trainer on why sit ups aren't the answer for abs

Lottie Lumsden, Jennifer Savin
·3-min read
Photo credit: ANGELA  WEISS - Getty Images
Photo credit: ANGELA WEISS - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

Kim Kardashian-West is known for her love of fitness; alongside her sisters, Kourtney and Khloe, she's often seen working out on their family show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and regularly posts about her regime on social media, too. Said posts often include her inspirational trainer, Melissa Alcantara, who has since amassed a dedicated following of her own over at @FitGurlMel.

So, who better to debunk some of the most common myths surrounding abs? During her recent chat with Cosmopolitan UK as part of the magazine's new body confidence issue (celebrating healthy at every size), Melissa spoke honestly about her own heath-orientated lifestyle and journey. She says at the beginning that she was "unable to do a jumping jack" and the dream of having visible abs was initially a huge motivator for her. "I started this whole fitness thing because I thought abs were what was important – then I realised it wasn’t the actual working out [that was, but] more the decision to do something good for myself."

But, if toned abs are still a top priority for you, Alcantara explains that focusing on doing hundreds of sit-ups and crunches alone simply won't cut it. "[When it comes to] abs and the way they’re shaped – chunky abs, chiselled abs, or a flat belly – a lot of that is genetics," she says. "When people say abs are made in the kitchen that is 100 per cent true, too. You have to be eating a certain way and be in a calorie deficit for your hard work [in the gym] to show."

Her best advice? "You can do crunches – a million – but nothing is going to come out of it if you’re not in a calorific deficit." Home cooking is the way forward on that front and Melissa says she never denies herself anything, cooking for herself 90 per cent of the time. "I eat bread, rice, sandwiches, chicken – if I want fries, I'll make them myself." She and Kim train together five times a week too, a number Melissa refers to as the "perfect" amount for anyone with moderate fitness goals.

Alcantara adds: "You have to grow abs like any other muscle – with resistance. So the bigger and bulkier you want your abs, the more you have to use weights... then do things like cable rope crunches on a cable fly machine."

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

However, she's keen to stress that often abs are purely aesthetic - having a strong core is another matter entirely. "Most people who have the strongest cores don’t have abs," she says, noting that 'a lot of these chunky muscles are just for a look'. Importantly, she also spells out that prioritising aesthetic can also be at the detriment of other aspects of good health.

"When you’re working out [solely] for that kind of look you’re losing other stuff, such as flexibility and nervous system reaction," she says. "You're losing so much just for a look and you’re not even really that strong."

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