You’re scrolling through your Instagram feed, and there they are—fitness models flaunting their chiseled abs like it’s no big deal. They even have a link in their bio, promising to spill the secrets to their six-pack success. They make it seem so attainable, so desirable. It’s no wonder many women aspire to achieve those washboard abs.
Women have entertained the idea of sculpting the perfect abdomen, going overboard with dietary and lifestyle changes to attain that coveted look.
But a doctor on TikTok is here to drop some truth bombs about why having a six-pack isn’t as healthy as it seems.
The Truth About Six-Pack Abs: A Doctor’s Perspective
If you’ve ever scrolled through TikTok, you may have come across Dr. Nathan Thompson, he’s well known for health and wellness advice. He covers a range of topics, from sleep and recovery to mental stress and fitness tips. In a recent video, he was asked the burning question—Are six-pack abs healthy for women?
Dr. Thompson didn’t hesitate with his response, “No. It’s not.” He quickly debunked the Instagram myth that equates six-pack abs with ultimate health. “Look at most Instagram models with a six-pack and see what happens behind the scenes. Hormonally, they’re not doing very well.”
It’s easy to feel a twinge of jealousy when we see women in bikini bodybuilding competitions or super fit trainers on Instagram flaunting their abs. After all, who doesn’t want that coveted look? But as Dr. Thompson explains, there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Women actually need a higher body-fat percentage than men. “For longevity and overall health, men shouldn’t really have a six-pack either,” Dr. Thompson emphasized. To optimize health and longevity, men should aim for an appropriate body-fat range of 18-22%. For women, due to reproductive and hormonal purposes, Dr. Thompson recommends a slightly higher range of about 25-30% body fat.
But why is having a low body-fat percentage detrimental to women’s health? Dr. Thompson breaks it down for us. “When a woman has very low body fat, it can lead to increased stress levels and hormone issues. Low progesterone and very low estradiol can result from having low body fat.” Estradiol is a crucial estrogen hormone that plays a vital role in bone health, liver function, and brain function. Low levels of estradiol can lead to dry skin, weak bones, trouble concentrating, and intense mood swings.
While some women may strive for six-pack abs and put in the effort to achieve them, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects. It begs the question: Is it truly worth it to have washboard abs?
As someone who has worked in the health and fitness industry for nearly a decade, I’ve heard countless stories from women who achieved six-pack abs in the past. Surprisingly, many of them admit that they felt their worst when they had a shredded abdomen. While it may look impressive in pictures, the impact on women’s hormones and overall health may not be worth the pursuit.
Shifting our perspective from the elusive six-pack and instead embracing a holistic approach that promotes health, happiness, and self-acceptance.
Ultimately, looking past the surface is important to prioritize our overall well-being and understand that our bodies have undeniable needs. Striving for a balanced approach to health, where we focus on nourishing our bodies and embracing our individuality, is far more beneficial in the long run.