113lbs, no abs. Now what?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 08, 2012 5:35 AM GMT
    This summer (it's summer in Australia) I thought I'd have a red hot go at getting a six pack. I'm 5ft tall, and my starting weight was 117lbs. Two months later and I'm down to 113lbs, having managed to also retain my muscle mass. The loss has been mostly achieved through upping my cardio and being even stricter about my already healthy diet.

    So here's the problem:

    I don't really want to drop much lower on the scales - my pants are getting loose enough as it is, and they don't really make 'em in sizes very much smaller. I've got definition in terms of the outer border of my abs, and if I kind of suck it in and tense it up at the same time I get something approximating a four pack. But there's still (a little bit) of fat lower on my abdomen around my belly button, and I just don't have that nice cut definition between my abs.

    So I'm wondering.

    Do I/should I lose more weight? (I'm reluctant too).

    Is there something else I should be doing with my diet? (I know the old saying about abs being made in the kitchen!)

    I currently avoid anything processed, have minimal sugar, alcohol and fat, eat few carbs and mostly proteins, fruit & vegies. I'm not really prepared to go quite to the extent of eating really bland food that I eat in strictly weighed portions - is that really what I'd need to do to get there? (In which case, I'm prepared to let 'the dream' go.)

    Do I need to beef up what I do in the gym?

    Should I consider taking a course of one of those fat-blasting supplements, go the Hydroxycut or something?

    Or.. do I just have to accept that abs may not be for me?

  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Feb 08, 2012 1:52 PM GMT
    hate to break it to you, but a large part of abs is genes. some people can lose all the weight they want and their abs won't ever show because their bodies will simply store fat there. maybe lipo or that new sonar thing that melts fat?
  • zenmonkie

    Posts: 228

    Feb 08, 2012 2:34 PM GMT
    More crunches. Try 300-400 a day. What's your diet like?
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    Feb 08, 2012 4:02 PM GMT
    @ calibro - yeah, I've heard and am willing to accept that, just want to make really sure I've given it all a good go first and covered all bases. (Which given zen monkie's post, I'm thinking I haven't!)
    I've joked about getting a tiny bit of lipo.. not *quite* there yet, but wouldn't rule it out, either, if I decided I really, really wanted abs sometime.

    @zenmonkie 300-400 crunches A DAY?! icon_eek.gif
    That right there might be my problem. I'd do more like 100 a day. icon_neutral.gif

    Diet.. um.. like I said in OP - mostly protein, vege, fruit. Low on the carbs, sugar, fat alcohol, avoid processed where possible.

    Dinner tonight for example was a spiced chicken breast with some carrot, eggplant, tomato & quinoa.
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    Feb 08, 2012 4:07 PM GMT
    I personally think you look fantastic right now!!! Don't get hung up on the stereotypical gay ideal body type. Some of us like a little bit of meat on the bones. 6 pack abs don't turn me on at all to be honest.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 08, 2012 4:21 PM GMT
    You are focusing too much on weight loss.

    Abs are muscles like any other. To achieve the look you want you have to BUILD the MUSCLE. You have to work and grow them just like you would your pecs or biceps.

    Find a good core routine that incorporates weights and STICK TO IT.

    Your diet sounds fine, cardio is great (although I hate it more than anything on Earth) but you have to focus more on muscle building.

    And NO - you do NOT need lipo. Genetics play a role in everything but EVERYONE has abs and ANYONE can develop them.

    Good luck and keep us posted!!!!!!
  • zenmonkie

    Posts: 228

    Feb 08, 2012 6:57 PM GMT
    r_evolutionary said@ calibro - yeah, I've heard and am willing to accept that, just want to make really sure I've given it all a good go first and covered all bases. (Which given zen monkie's post, I'm thinking I haven't!)
    I've joked about getting a tiny bit of lipo.. not *quite* there yet, but wouldn't rule it out, either, if I decided I really, really wanted abs sometime.

    @zenmonkie 300-400 crunches A DAY?! icon_eek.gif
    That right there might be my problem. I'd do more like 100 a day. icon_neutral.gif

    Diet.. um.. like I said in OP - mostly protein, vege, fruit. Low on the carbs, sugar, fat alcohol, avoid processed where possible.

    Dinner tonight for example was a spiced chicken breast with some carrot, eggplant, tomato & quinoa.


    Yep, 100 is now one set, get to it. Don't do full situps, they're unnecessary and bad for the back, keep the lower back on the ground at all times and just move your upper portion without going fully all the way back to the ground. Don't rest too long between sets, and don't rest your back fully on the ground until you're all done. It'll get easier. Then after that do some other core exercises. You want it, you gotta work hard. Metallica helps.
    icon_biggrin.gif

    Further on, if you stop at 100 a day, and never progress any further, neither will your results. Try 200 next time, make sure it's hurting. Once that's good move to 300. Works for me anyway.

    Your diet sounds good.
  • zenmonkie

    Posts: 228

    Feb 08, 2012 6:59 PM GMT
    And like Cash said, kill the cardio a bit. If there's nothing under there to show, losing more weight isn't going to do anything.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 08, 2012 7:01 PM GMT
    http://www.teenbodybuilding.com/abs.htm

    I found that article pretty helpful, specifically the decline weighted sit-ups.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 08, 2012 7:08 PM GMT
    calibro saidhate to break it to you, but a large part of abs is genes. some people call lose all the weight they want and their abs won't ever show because their bodies will simply store fat there.


    *raises hand*

    I've gotten down to skeletal weight where I was having panic attacks due to starvation. No abs icon_biggrin.gif Actually I had slight abs...but I had an under 28" waist, and I'm 6'1".
  • metta

    Posts: 39167

    Feb 08, 2012 7:35 PM GMT
    adam228 saidhttp://www.teenbodybuilding.com/abs.htm

    I found that article pretty helpful, specifically the decline weighted sit-ups.


    I was thinking that would help. I'm no expert but doing more ab exercises with weight might help, such as using the cable machine.




    There is also one with the cables, i don't know what it is called. You put a cushioned mat on the floor in front of the cables, get the rope, pull it down, get on your knees, pull the rope down with the rope going on each side of your neck. And focus on your abs pulling the weight. And do sets pushing down center and to each side.
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    Feb 08, 2012 11:57 PM GMT
    zenmonkie said
    r_evolutionary said@ calibro - yeah, I've heard and am willing to accept that, just want to make really sure I've given it all a good go first and covered all bases. (Which given zen monkie's post, I'm thinking I haven't!)
    I've joked about getting a tiny bit of lipo.. not *quite* there yet, but wouldn't rule it out, either, if I decided I really, really wanted abs sometime.

    @zenmonkie 300-400 crunches A DAY?! icon_eek.gif
    That right there might be my problem. I'd do more like 100 a day. icon_neutral.gif

    Diet.. um.. like I said in OP - mostly protein, vege, fruit. Low on the carbs, sugar, fat alcohol, avoid processed where possible.

    Dinner tonight for example was a spiced chicken breast with some carrot, eggplant, tomato & quinoa.


    Yep, 100 is now one set, get to it. Don't do full situps, they're unnecessary and bad for the back, keep the lower back on the ground at all times and just move your upper portion without going fully all the way back to the ground. Don't rest too long between sets, and don't rest your back fully on the ground until you're all done. It'll get easier. Then after that do some other core exercises. You want it, you gotta work hard. Metallica helps.
    icon_biggrin.gif

    Further on, if you stop at 100 a day, and never progress any further, neither will your results. Try 200 next time, make sure it's hurting. Once that's good move to 300. Works for me anyway.

    Your diet sounds good.


    If you add weights you will get better results with fewer reps although you DO have to keep increasing.

    I do Crunches, Jack-Knives and Side Planks with weights. I started with 10lbs. I now use 80lbs. I generally go for 4 sets and when I can do 25 reps - I add weight. It seems to be working for me so I am sticking with it.

    And YES - Metallica is at times a life-saver. Iron Maiden does the trick too.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 09, 2012 5:53 AM GMT
    Thanks a lot for these responses guys.

    Seems to me that the missing ingredient is the way that I work out my abs - need to do more reps, and more weights. In light of the advice that's been provided, by abs work outs to date appear to be pretty inadequate. Lots of things here for me to try out.

    I'll give that a good go, and just maintain (but not over-do) the cardio & diet stuff. If that doesn't work.. then yeah.. I can live with the fact that abs just might not be realistic for me..
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    Feb 09, 2012 8:13 PM GMT
    @ r_evolutionary

    1) Cardio is not the most efficient for fat burning. A proper weight training routine couples with diet will get you greater results. But if it makes you feel mentally better to do cardio for fat loss, then do some. Just keep it reasonable and correct your diet to fit.

    2) simply loosing weight with in adequate or no weight training will only result in muscle loss as you body will began to catabolise muscle to sustain itself during a caloric deficit. You will only turn into a smaller version of yourself.

    3) In order to show muscle you need to have muscle in the first place. Abs are a small muscle group. Training them directly with endless crunches wont do much. Smaller muscle groups elicit a smaller growth response than larger muscle groups e.g. Legs. Hence dont be one of those 'I want arms and abs only' types in the gym. It dosent work. Work on your squats and deadlifts. Your core will develop with those movements. One cannot successfully squat and deadlift with a weak core. Can you do those exercises using 2X your bodyweight?

    4) If you are looking to get ripped or get big, diet is key.

    P.S. To me, you highly desirable as is! icon_twisted.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 09, 2012 8:59 PM GMT
    I use muscle confusion, and time under tension, to build my abs. This means , that you should switch things around, as often as you can, and to do a lot of reps, with little , to no rest, inbetween. The theory , is similar , to isometrics, ..the muscle , stays contracted, longer...and abs, seem to like that lol However, karate training, has a lot to do with my abs...so core training, is where it's at. I also use one of those big blue exercize balls, to add variety. . Diet sucks, but no way around it, if you want abs. And ..I do!.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 17, 2012 11:27 AM GMT
    Thanks for all the advice (and the couple of compliments!)

    I'm about to embark on an extra-intense round of training for the next month, with a personal trainer (a dude who came fourth in the 2011 Australian INBA Comp), so will see what I can do, with him. to make those abs pop..
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    Feb 17, 2012 11:45 AM GMT
    calibro saidhate to break it to you, but a large part of abs is genes. some people can lose all the weight they want and their abs won't ever show because their bodies will simply store fat there. maybe lipo or that new sonar thing that melts fat?


    Yeah, I kind of agree with calibro. I have a buddy who is a classical singer, has never set foot in a gym, is 30-something and has washboard abs that I'd kill for! LOL

    That said, I agree with others here about your training and diet. Abs are a muscle, so you need to feed it and eat (properly) and train it with weights too. There are LOTS of great exercises, some listed here, but others to be found using plates and cables to build UP your abs. Of course, the irony with abs is that you need to have zero fat covering them in order to show them off, so it's a bit of a paradox.

    But buddy I think you look great. Do what you can do, but enjoy your body, you're a sexy guy, and I, for one would fuck you just the way you are and love every second of it. (oops, was that my outside voice?) LOL

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    Feb 17, 2012 3:54 PM GMT
    TellMe said...3) In order to show muscle you need to have muscle in the first place. Abs are a small muscle group. Training them directly with endless crunches wont do much. Smaller muscle groups elicit a smaller growth response than larger muscle groups e.g. Legs. Hence dont be one of those 'I want arms and abs only' types in the gym. It dosent work. Work on your squats and deadlifts. Your core will develop with those movements. One cannot successfully squat and deadlift with a weak core. Can you do those exercises using 2X your bodyweight?

    4) If you are looking to get ripped or get big, diet is key.


    ^ These.

    Not quite up to twice my body weight (which would be around 350lbs) on either though... I seem to be plateau-ing at 285lbs on my 1RM for deadlifts and am closing in on a plateau for my squats having failed a 1RM attempt at 255lbs.

    /sadface
  • jim_sf

    Posts: 2094

    Feb 17, 2012 4:34 PM GMT
    AlphaTrigger said
    TellMe said...3) In order to show muscle you need to have muscle in the first place. Abs are a small muscle group. Training them directly with endless crunches wont do much. Smaller muscle groups elicit a smaller growth response than larger muscle groups e.g. Legs. Hence dont be one of those 'I want arms and abs only' types in the gym. It dosent work. Work on your squats and deadlifts. Your core will develop with those movements. One cannot successfully squat and deadlift with a weak core. Can you do those exercises using 2X your bodyweight?

    4) If you are looking to get ripped or get big, diet is key.


    ^ These.

    Not quite up to twice my body weight (which would be around 350lbs) on either though... I seem to be plateau-ing at 285lbs on my 1RM for deadlifts and am closing in on a plateau for my squats having failed a 1RM attempt at 255lbs.

    /sadface


    There, there. It'll be OK. You can still have your pick of the hot bottom boys.

    To the OP: there's some great advice here, especially about weighted core exercises, but the excerpt AlphaTrigger quoted is gold. Squats are especially good; a quality squat can work pretty much everything below the chest, including the core, and it can do it in a more naturalistic fashion than isolation exercises. (Plus they're so much fun.)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 17, 2012 4:45 PM GMT
    I've always hated when people say that having a 6-pack has to do with your genes. I really doubt that. It's true that it's not an easy task, but it's definitely not impossible (regardless how crappy your genes are).

    It's taken me a good 4 years (the first 2 years was a complete waste of time) to learn what works for me. I don't have a bulging, 8-pack (yet); I love junk food way too much for that to happen. But, I'm certainly getting there. This is in direct contradiction to what many people told me.

    Also, do different core exercises (weight training, yoga, palates). Don't do the exact same thing (i.e. crunches) every day. I work-out my core 6 days/week (but have 2 to 3 different routines).

    It sounds like you are doing enough cardio and are controlling your diet. So give it some time and be patient.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 17, 2012 4:47 PM GMT
    zenmonkie saidMore crunches. Try 300-400 a day. W

    No.

    Abs are partly genetics (the kid we idolize are genetic) get something to show like an arch or at least a couple abs is diet.
  • FlypinHigh

    Posts: 465

    Feb 19, 2012 10:49 PM GMT
    Abs are hugely genetic. Look at Carrot Top. He's all juiced up and still no abs.

    carrottop.jpg?w=540