Plus why sometimes, aesthetic goals need to get put on the back burner.

By Julia Malacoff

Getting six-pack abs is one of the most common fitness goals across the board. Why are they so aspirational? Well, probably because they're pretty tough to get. That's also likely why Anna Victoria, fitness star and owner of her very own set of hard-earned abs, dedicated an entire Instagram post to the topic.

In her post, she got real about the fact that for most people (including herself!), getting visible abs means putting in a pretty significant amount of work. The main reason? Erm, genetics. (Yup, that's why it's so hard to sculpt a full six-pack.)

While some people are lucky and naturally lean in their stomach, many carry extra fat in that area, she explains. "If you DON'T have a naturally lean tummy (like me), then that saying 'abs are built in the gym and revealed in the kitchen' applies to you," she wrote in her caption. "Bummer, I know! And in our case, often times belly fat is the last to go and the first to come back. It is what it is! The more you fight against it, the more you push back reaching your goals."

Her advice? "Focusing on strength workouts, properly engaging your core, doing cardio (not more than strength training though) AND keeping your meals/macros in check is what needs to be at the top of your (fitness) priority list."

Another common misconception she addresses is the idea that abs-focused workouts are necessary in order to get the chiseled midsection of your dreams. (Case in point: These total-body moves that engage your core.)

"You don't NEED to do traditional ab-focused workouts in order to get abs," she wrote. "If you know how to engage and use your core/abs properly during your strength workouts, you can build abs just by using and engaging your core during strength-based moves alone." (Heads up: Here's why core strength is so important.)

But she doesn't just leave it at that. Being a body-positivity advocate (here's her message to anyone who says they "prefer" her body to look a certain way), she is also quick to acknowledge that looks aren't the only thing that matters. "As you girls know, I do not believe abs are everything, not one bit. But there also isn't anything wrong with having physical goals *as long as you aren't putting your mental and emotional health on the back burner* in order to achieve those goals."

In other words, it's possible to love your body and want to change it at the same time, but having abs isn't everything, especially if watching what you eat and never skipping a workout makes you feel totally miserable. Meeting your goals is fun, but enjoying your food and your sweat sessions pressure-free? That's way better.

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