Wondering Why Don't You Have Abs Yet?
As summer approaches there's even more incentive to shed that excess winter weight, and show off what is underneath. Although there are numerous resources online showing you a “one step trick” to your washboard abs, we’re here bust through the myths and provide some six pack science that focus on the ways to achieve a solid core.
The main principle for the general client should be reducing body fat. Your abs are at work more than you think. You use your core during day to day activities and most people will have sufficient core muscles but lack the ability for muscle definition due to their high body fat percentage.
So instead of trying to target the abs alone with thousands of crunches and side bends, the main priority should be overall fat loss. Everyone has abs, it’s just the degree of abdominal definition varies. As the saying goes “abs are made in the kitchen” but there are a few genetic and scientific factors that are key variables to how easily attainable your definition will be, such as:
1. Body fat levels: Despite having an extremely strong core, if your overall body fat percentage is too high you won't ever be able to see them.
2. Abdominal muscle mass: Changing the scenario, if you are lean enough but dont have the overall core strength to develop ab definition you won't have the muscle mass. Additional targeted ab work can help improve the thickness
3. Abdominal structure and genetics: Everyone stores body fat differently, some people are genetically predisposed to store less around their midsection while others might find it extremely difficult to create definition.
4. Body fat storage and stubborn fat areas: Some people may store excess fat on the stomach, which means they need to diet extra hard and get very lean to reduce stubborn fat around the belly/core.
How lean do I need to be to see my 6 pack?
The overall percentage varies amongst individuals in order to visibly see abdominal definition.
For men it ranges from below 10% to 14% to see definition. Keep in mind that the foundational muscle thickness must be there in order to get the popping abs. Dropping the percentage even lower than 10-14% will start to reveal the lower abs.
For women, storing more body fat is the norm as their organs need the added protection for child birth and for balanced hormones. They are more likely to start to see visible definition around the 16-20% range.
If you store most of your fat on the stomach and are very lean everywhere else you will simply need to diet longer to get a six pack. At ONE we do weekly body fat assessments, assessing your current status that will let you know where you are at and the time frame involved. From here, we can help you set realistic goals with a tailored meal plan and weight training programme.
Just targeting your abs alone is not an efficient way to obtaining your desired look. Unfortunately, because the core is a smaller muscle group, it’s not that effective at burning body fat as you will not be burning a massive amount of calories while doing it.
The concept of spot reduction holds the false claim that training a specific muscle will lead to fat loss in that on area of the body. The fitness industry is full of these ineffective approaches that promise 100 side bends will get rid of that “muffin top,” or 100 crunches will give you abs - forget it.
Due to certain genetics and hormones everyone (male and female) are predisposed to storing fat in certain areas of the body more so than others. Therefore, your body will lose the fat you currently have in a certain order as well – it might come off your arms first, then your legs, then your butt, then your chest, and THEN your belly. Having an appropriate time frame and strength training plan which prioritizes big compound movements will effectively and efficiently hit every muscle in your body including your abs.
This will increase the speed you reach the body fat levels listed above and reveal your six pack. As mentioned, once you are getting very lean and close to that body fat level, you can add in some actual core/ab specific work such as leg raises, garhammer raises, crunches and so on.
If losing body fat is your hurdle now then please don’t hesitate to book in for a free consult. Your approach may be different from the next person so we want to see you and plan accordingly.