With the exception of that peculiar breed who not only pay a lot of money to join a gym, but also at times actually seem to enjoy bouncing up and down to music loud enough to be heard from the moon, or to stretch and strain themselves against shiny steel and rubber machines...with the exception of these people and others who deliberately 'exercise', the natural evolution of the human form over a lifetime seems to be towards flabbiness.
[Honestly though, most of the gym junkies and pavement joggers and other exercisers don't resist the flab for long. Not many of them seem to stick with it for any length of time.]
Doesn't it seem a bit odd that most people as kids aren't flabby, and then they become flabby? And that as kids they might run around a bit, but nothing as structured or as intense as a 'workout'? Because the obvious reason people become flabby is that they stop exercising. But kids don't exercise, or at least generally their activity isn't structured like that. Most interestingly kids tend to be toned all over, without having to do specific exercises for their abs, butt, legs or whatever.
And yet as you get older the only thing that will apparently save you from about two thirds of your body heading groundwards is breaking the body up into bits and pieces, working them out a piece at a time, getting the repetitions up, the heart rate up, all that mumbo jumbo pseudo-science you hear from gym trainers and exercise scientists and personal trainers.
There's a much simpler explanation for flab. The obvious answer. Flabby muscles are muscles that aren't being used. Kids seem to use all of the muscles in their bodies, all of the time, but as they get older they suddenly need to break it all up into chunks and struggle and strain to get ripped? Ridiculous.
Take a look at the average flabby adult. The torso is probably the focus of most flab. What's the average adult doing with that torso, most of the time? It's slumped and drooped, particularly when they're sitting down, but also in standing or moving. So all of those muscles in the torso are doing nothing much at all. So they turn to flab.
The wonderful thing is that if you re-learn how to not let your body be some dead mass that you drag around with you, all of the muscles in your body stay toned, all of the time. No need for gyms or exercise of any form. They stay toned because you're using them, in just simple everyday things like sitting, walking, watching the TV - whatever. Just by walking somewhere you can tone every single muscle in your body. You can tone every muscle in your body just by watching TV. But you'll need to re-learn being a full human being, where you're not split into this tiny little ego up in your head lording it over a great body mass beneath.
How we came to an understanding and image of the body as naturally hurtling towards flab would be an interesting history to read, but the body isn't broken, it won't just wear down and turn to flab if you don't rush off to some idiot airhead trainer to thrash you into shape.
It's not well known that many of the tenets of exercise science had their origins in astronaut training back in the 1960s. So a lot of the supposed wisdom on keeping fit comes out of an extreme physical situation i.e. being rocketed skyward under enormous forces, that is completelty irrelevant to just about every person on the face of the Earth. The worst thing about exercise is that it hugely multiplies the stresses on all parts of your body, internal and external, so the poor millions out there thinking they're getting healthy are most of the time basically trashing their bodies.
They're just the other extreme of a lunatic continuum between lard-arse and 6-pack.
[Thanks to http://healthinmotion.wordpress.com/2007/05/07/exercise-the-cure-for-a-flabby-body/exercise-before-and-after-manjpg/ for the picture, deliciously called "exercise-before-and-after-man".]