Swimming is a grueling sport. Not only does the training require an insane amount of calories, intense workouts and endless practices that could reduce a normal man or woman into a cramped ball of flesh-colored jelly, but it also requires a body that's usually reserved for mythological gods.
Swimmers usually have the most muscular frames, thanks to their strict regimens and constant training. However, getting those six-pack abs actually starts way down on a molecular level, according to NPR.
The good news is that the muscle cells that are in an Olympic swimmer's body are the same as the ones in the fat lump of flesh that's sitting on the couch and watching them go for the gold. The difference, of course, is their diet and amount of regular exercise. Those cells can only grow if the muscles are damaged, so they can tell their cells to produce more protein in the muscles' fibers to build them up again.
Of course, genetics also plays a role in this process. The right genes can encourage muscle growth and development from childhood and sometimes into adulthood, produce a certain number of muscle cells over time and increase the ratio of muscle fibers.
So what's the secret to getting those six-pack abs if you don't have the genetic makeup of an Olympic gold medal winner? It's simple. You need a healthy diet, regular "fat-burning" endurance exercise, and "muscle-building" strength training.
I can feel your disappointment.
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