Low body fat/ no abs

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    Low body fat/ no abs

    Hey everyone. Even though I have low body fat percentage (not actually measured, but it is obvious imho...), my abs don't pop out. I do ab workout 3 times/week, and it is pretty intense... My calorie intake is less than needed and I do intense cardio workout 3 times/week... What do I do wrong, my fello expert-Bees ? Thanks in advance....

    #2
    Not sure … How tall are you and how much do you weigh? Is there still fat on your belly? What kinds of ab workouts are you doing? Since when have you been on this routine? How much protein do you eat on an average day?

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      #3
      Cjell 188cm, around 70kgs, no faton belly or elsewhere... To give you an idea, when I do arm/leg exercises,you can see all the muscles well defined (and I don't have much...). As for the workouts, I do 9, 1-minute sets of dynamic plank variatios, leg raises and hollow holds... I do this routine consecutively around a month, but I was doing ab routines before... As for the protein intake, I am not sure, but I try to eat pretty lean and clean (I eat a lot of fruits and around 60gr of nuts/seeds per day though...) Is it bad? My fat intake comes from olive oil and nuts/seeds...

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        #4
        A six pack needs more than just a low body fat percentage (but it's best to work on that part first, which you've already got down).

        There's also muscles and tendons.

        The tendons you can't influence. They're what presses down on the abdominal muscles, sectioning them into little bumps. Most men have a six-pack-structure of tendons, but some men have an eight pack, a four pack or even a one pack, which means they'll never have little bumps.

        The muscles are where your problem probably lies. According to the New BMI you're at 18.8 and that's not far from being underweight. For enough muscle mass to push against the tendons and create bumps that's probably not enough.
        Eating at a deficit right now is not doing you any favours, because you don't need to lose any more weight. In fact I'd suggest going up a few kilos eventually.
        You need enough protein (88 - 117 g per day) and enough exercise for muscle growth.

        Buzzfeed did a video on this, while their content is always to be taken with a grain of salt, it does wonderfully exemplify the different mechanisms behind abs.

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          #5
          What Noen said, only l wouldn't have known the bit about the tendons.

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            #6
            Noen I didn't know there was an upgraded BMI ...Thanks a lot... Even though I know the things you mentioned, I really can't make them...After every workout, my abs are quite defined, but during the rest of the day.....POOF! Gone... I really don't care about looks, just wondering if I do something wrong... I know modeling abs require special preparations, but you know...vanity...And since it seems like you know your s*it, let me ask you this: I can't eat 5-6 times a day as required for enough calories to be consumed, but I can manage 3 quite big meals... Is it wrong? What I want to know is if I can eat around 1/4 of my total calories during dinner (19:00-20:30 approximately...) Mostly protein (yogurt, chicken breast...), but complex carbohydrates are on the menu as well... Thanks in advance...

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              #7
              You can eat your calories however and whenever you want, likewise the protein.
              Your body only cares minimally and the most important thing is that you find a way that works for you.

              Your abs are defined after the workouts because then the abs are puffed up with extra blood from the workout.
              That confirms my theory that you simply lack the muscle for abs.

              But don't eat in a deficit anymore, it is not doing you any favours.

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                #8
                Noen How is it that you know EVERYTHING??? Thanks a ton.!!! I really try to eat, it is difficult though... I was overweight and sometime ago (6 years), I just ate around 600 kcals/day for 2-3 months... Since then, I have a constant fear of getting fat again... The battle is mostly mental...

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                  #9
                  Don't ask me about cars or electronics, I know nothing about those.

                  I get the fear of getting fat again. Just today I had an awful encounter with a changing room mirror in a store.

                  But food does not have the same hold over you anymore. Maybe you can use your hand as a measurement; six portions the size of your hand or three portions the size of two hands. Or more, or less, I don't know what types of foods you eat, but with a tangible measure of portion sizes you won't lose control.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Noen View Post
                    Just today I had an awful encounter with a changing room mirror in a store.
                    Changing rooms are the evil - I think they are designed to make everyone look their worst. I haven't figured out yet if it's the mirror, the lighting or an unholy union of both (I tend to think it's the latter)...

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                      #11
                      ...Changing rooms.... Hiss! Hiss!

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by mkw View Post
                        Changing rooms are the evil - I think they are designed to make everyone look their worst. I haven't figured out yet if it's the mirror, the lighting or an unholy union of both (I tend to think it's the latter)...
                        I think for me it's mostly the closeness to the mirror. Because when I look at myself at such an unfavourable angle I get visually shortened.

                        But when I stand further away (or the mirror is angled so that the top is further away from me than the bottom, like when a mirror leans against a wall) I see myself the way I actually look.

                        In the past I didn't notice as much, because I always kinda looked chubby, especially from certain directions. But nowadays I only look chubby in changing room mirrors so the contrast is stark.

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                          #13
                          Changing room mirrors are cursed, I say - or curse us, depending how you see it. Hisssssss, as neilarey says so eloquently!
                          Seriously, closeness as Noen points out, and poor lightning - how can you expect to look good in those surrounding ?!

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                            #14
                            188cm, around 70kg? I think you're too skinny. I'm 168 and 75kg and only now I'm starting to see my abs, even under a layer of fat (THAT SIMPLY DOESN'T GO AWAY!!!)

                            Anyway, my suggestion would be eating in a surplus for a while. You gotta give the bricks so your muscle can build some muscle, inclusing abs.

                            Also, check if you're performing high rep abs workouts. Those are great for resistance, but not so great to make those abs appear. Switch (gradually) to 2-4 harder exercises that you can do, say, less than 20 reps and don't overdo it.

                            Yes, when you're eating in a surplus as we're suggesting you will get some fat, that's normal and that's a price we pay for gaining muscle (unless you're on chemicals of course). But since you've been blessed with being able to maintain low fat, you should have no trouble losing the extra fat afterwards.

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by Gustaff View Post
                              Yes, when you're eating in a surplus as we're suggesting you will get some fat, that's normal and that's a price we pay for gaining muscle (unless you're on chemicals of course). But since you've been blessed with being able to maintain low fat, you should have no trouble losing the extra fat afterwards.
                              That's actually something that can be easily avoided. Many men in a bulking phase set their calorie intake too high, meaning a weight gain of over a kilo per month. But a man can build, at maximum, 1 kg of muscle per month. They attempt to feed their muscles, but end up in such a surplus that they must, inevitably, feed superfluous fat as well.
                              When abs are the goal it's frustrating to build the muscle, only to simultaneously cover it up with fat. Not to mention that during the following fat-loss phase it's easy to set the deficit too high and cannibalise muscle again (especially for men, women can set higher deficits because of our higher physiologial fat content), since it's only a few kilos of extra fat.

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