Frustrations with getting that six-pack

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 31, 2008 6:08 PM GMT
    I guess I'm just looking for encouragement, support, advice, suggestions from those who have been successful in their ordeals to get a six-pack. I made a New Years Rez this year to do it ... I want it _sooooo_ badly.

    The biggest frustration has been my scale; it was just such a downer that my body fat has stayed at 13.5% (I hate that number so much!). I know these scales aren't accurate and whatnot so I was taking that into account.

    If anyone has any feedback on what my regimen is, please respond.

    Diet
    I don't calorie count, but I did when I first started in May. Now I can roughly estimate how many calories I intake in a day. I usually have 6 meals, first four are ~270 cals and last two are ~200 cals, so that's around 1500 calories per day. It's roughly a 30fat40prot30carb diet (last two meals don't have carbs).

    Cardio
    I usually do about 1.5-2.5 hours a day 5-6x a week. I always do this first thing in the morning. This last week I been running up trails cuz I got a callous from rollerblading so much, which I had been doing the last month. My heart rate averages 140-155 which is ~72-80% of my max.

    Weights
    I do weights 3x a week, split into Chest/Tris/Shoulders, Legs, Back/Bis. The last two weeks I just switched to more free weights, mostly 2 warmups-12-10-8-6-super-burnout type sets; before that for a month I did 4 sets of 10-12 reps, which had somewhat mixed free weights and machines.

    Sigh, I think a big part of it is just being headstrong, and today I had a despairing moment, which I'm sure will pass.
  • TexanMan82

    Posts: 893

    Jul 31, 2008 7:00 PM GMT
    Thing to keep in mind is that abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.

    Let's start with diet.

    1500 calories a day? I would venture that you aren't eating enough. I know that may be hard to comprehend, but your body may have gone into "starvation mode", thus holding onto fat stores thinking it may not get enough food in the future. Our bodies are ideally adapted to famine conditions.

    You may need to shake things up a bit. Honestly, 1500 calories is not enough, especially with 1.5-2 hours of cardio a day. Honestly, I think that's a ridiculous amount of cardio. Try doing more interval training keeping it at 20 min. or so. That's it.

    Post an example of what your typical daily diet might be.
  • vindog

    Posts: 1440

    Jul 31, 2008 7:20 PM GMT
    TexanMan82 saidThing to keep in mind is that abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.

    Let's start with diet.

    1500 calories a day? I would venture that you aren't eating enough. I know that may be hard to comprehend, but your body may have gone into "starvation mode", thus holding onto fat stores thinking it may not get enough food in the future. Our bodies are ideally adapted to famine conditions.

    You may need to shake things up a bit. Honestly, 1500 calories is not enough, especially with 1.5-2 hours of cardio a day. Honestly, I think that's a ridiculous amount of cardio. Try doing more interval training keeping it at 20 min. or so. That's it.

    Post an example of what your typical daily diet might be.


    i completely agree. when i was working out like that i was eating 3500cal/day and losing weight.
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    Jul 31, 2008 8:59 PM GMT
    I do a South Beach Diet (look it up), and weights and cardio. I got really fat from 5 mos ago breaking up with my ex of 2yrs and eating Edy's right out of the box (hell yeah Bertha came out!) but now thankfully all is OK and I look like my Tarzan pics.

    I do weighted crunches everyday and avoid most sugars, and I don't drink alcohol or smoke, or do drugs. I don't starve myself, if Im hungry I eat, but good food not junk food. Im 6'0 205lbs and OK with that, might be 210lbs soon, but not weighing myself more than 2x a week. Its what you look like not what you weigh that matters.

    6 pack is below 10% body fat, Im at 9% trying to get down to 7% soon....icon_razz.gif
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    Jul 31, 2008 9:25 PM GMT
    See, I'm apparently at 9.8% body fat. No six pack.

    And I have the same problem: I guess I've been not eating enough calories and I workout 5 days a week (cardio = 30 min, weights= 45 min, and abs everyday).

    I need encouragement and diet tips too.

    Here's what I've eaten today:

    Breakfast

    Kashi - Organic Promise Cereal - Strawberry Fields, 1 cup
    Twinings - English Breakfast Tea, 2

    Lunch

    Chicken Caesar Salad, 2 cups 306 10 16 29 remove

    Snacks

    Fresh - Fuji Apple, Medium
    Fruit Cup
    Zone Perfect bar

    According to a calorie counter, that's about 1003 calories so far of a 1970 calorie diet.

    Help!

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    Jul 31, 2008 9:40 PM GMT
    Yes, to what Texan and Altnv both said.

    Your metabolism is caught right now between trying to keep things going with your cardio/weightlifting and being starved for calories. It's like a squirrel frantically trying to stash every nut it gets its paws on since it doesn't know when the next one is coming around.

    None of your weight training is building muscle because you're burning too many of the precious few calories you're getting on cardio.

    Very counter-intuitive but you need to stoke the furnace.
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    Jul 31, 2008 9:47 PM GMT
    Gigadu saidYes, to what Texan and Altnv both said.

    Your metabolism is caught right now between trying to keep things going with your cardio/weightlifting and being starved for calories. It's like a squirrel frantically trying to stash every nut it gets its paws on since it doesn't know when the next one is coming around.

    None of your weight training is building muscle because you're burning too many of the precious few calories you're getting on cardio.

    Very counter-intuitive but you need to stoke the furnace.


    D'oh!
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jul 31, 2008 10:19 PM GMT
    Carbs... Carbs... Carbs .... Carbs

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    Aug 01, 2008 2:01 AM GMT
    I eat carbs for breakfast and lunch, no carbs 6 hrs before bed. Again look up South Beach Diet...no carbs while eating high fat foods makes no sense, but eating a ton of carbs before bed is not smart either.

    I focus on weighted crunches to define muscle but I also run, Im 9% body fat in those pics and right now...7% would be nice again...icon_eek.gif
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    Aug 01, 2008 3:06 AM GMT
    Hey guys, I really appreciate the feedback. Yeah, I realized when I typed in "1500" after calculating how much I was eating, ... "Hmm ... maybe more than anything the amount of food I'm eating is too low." It's just so tough to think about these things when you're in the middle of it all, making sure to eat 6 times a day, getting up first thing in the morning to run, going to the gym, cooking healthy food so you don't have to go out ... etc. It's hard doing it by yourself and that's why appreciate the time you guys take to post something.

    It's frustrating, cuz I feel like I can anticipate some of these comments cuz I do a lot of reading on this stuff. But when stuff isn't working, you wonder if it could be this, if it could be that. I'll probably start posting more cuz the year is starting to get towards its end and I really want to meet my resolution this time!

    As for meals, it's usually this:
    1. Fried egg whites, fiber cake
    2. Baked Lamb, Chicken, Beef or Pork; apple or sauteed vegetables
    3. same as 2.
    4. same as 3.
    5. Fried egg whites or Baked Lamb, Chicken, Beef or Pork
    6. Fried egg whites or Baked Lamb, Chicken, Beef or Pork

    As for cardio, I know that is ridiculous. It's just that I'm an impatient person, and if I can burn more fat calories by adding an extra hour or two and some days, I'll make that sacrifice.

    My goal is to get a six-pack; I'm willing to lose muscle mass to get that (for now).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 01, 2008 3:15 AM GMT
    The focus on diet is good, and I won't add to the good advice already given (especially the part about starving yourself actually working against you). It's 99% of the time the primary issue to deal with if you want visible abs.

    One thing that hasn't been brought up tho: when you feel underneath the surface, how easy is it to feel the rectus muscles? How sure are you they are developed enuf to stand out?

    One problem I had is that even when I dropped a bunch of body fat, I realized that I really hadn't developed the rectus abdominis nearly enuf for them to show thru even my lowered bodyfat. I had to really change what I was doing there -- in particular, for me (may not be true for you tho), I slowed down my reps and moved to exercises where I could progressively add more resistance. I'm still working on that!

    Anywho, just a thought.
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    Aug 01, 2008 3:58 AM GMT
    GQjock saidCarbs... Carbs... Carbs .... Carbs



    Yes, I think I know about carbs ... only get them in the form of veggies and/or complex carbs? I hear mixed things about different types of grains or wheat though ...
  • ROYCE13

    Posts: 315

    Aug 01, 2008 4:23 AM GMT
    ABS, ABS ABS, WELL EACH BODY IS DIFFERENT, THE GENES, FAT %, DIET, METABOLISM ETC.... SO THE ABS ARE COMPLEX AND SIMPLE, WHEN I HAD ROCKIN ABS, I SPENT 6 MONTHS ON THE 6 MEALS A DAY ONLY CHEATED ON SATURDAY, NO DESSERT AND NO WINE. BUT VOILA THEY CAME , I GOT TO 9% BODY FAT, THEN I SAID WOW LOOKS GREAT BUT TOO MUCH WORK FOR A FOODIE WHO LOVES FRENCH FOOD, FOIS GRAS AND WINE AND DESSERT. THERE IS A HAPPY MEDIUM, NO STANDARD FORMULA FOR THE MASSES, EACH BODY IS DIFFERENT, IT IS HARD AND SIMPLE DEPENDING ON GOALS, NOW WHEN I WANT THEM BACK IT IS ONLY A 2 MONTH GOAL, BECAUSE I AM USUALLY AT 10-11% FAT MAX, AND STRONG CORE.

    GOOD LUCK
  • TexanMan82

    Posts: 893

    Aug 01, 2008 4:23 PM GMT
    dr_jackl saidHey guys, I really appreciate the feedback. Yeah, I realized when I typed in "1500" after calculating how much I was eating, ... "Hmm ... maybe more than anything the amount of food I'm eating is too low." It's just so tough to think about these things when you're in the middle of it all, making sure to eat 6 times a day, getting up first thing in the morning to run, going to the gym, cooking healthy food so you don't have to go out ... etc. It's hard doing it by yourself and that's why appreciate the time you guys take to post something.

    It's frustrating, cuz I feel like I can anticipate some of these comments cuz I do a lot of reading on this stuff. But when stuff isn't working, you wonder if it could be this, if it could be that. I'll probably start posting more cuz the year is starting to get towards its end and I really want to meet my resolution this time!

    As for meals, it's usually this:
    1. Fried egg whites, fiber cake
    2. Baked Lamb, Chicken, Beef or Pork; apple or sauteed vegetables
    3. same as 2.
    4. same as 3.
    5. Fried egg whites or Baked Lamb, Chicken, Beef or Pork
    6. Fried egg whites or Baked Lamb, Chicken, Beef or Pork

    As for cardio, I know that is ridiculous. It's just that I'm an impatient person, and if I can burn more fat calories by adding an extra hour or two and some days, I'll make that sacrifice.

    My goal is to get a six-pack; I'm willing to lose muscle mass to get that (for now).


    That's quite possibly the most boring diet of all time. Change it up man, or you'll never last.

    You do realize that by working out for that long you are more than likely burning off muscle, right? Especially with the low amount of calories you are consuming. It's not about sacrificing an extra hour of cardio to burn more fat, you're sacrificing your muscle.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 01, 2008 5:47 PM GMT
    Buy the South Beach Diet cookbooks! Im too lazy for a while to cook but when I do its exciting and good. icon_lol.gif
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    Aug 02, 2008 2:29 PM GMT
    iguanaSF saidOne thing that hasn't been brought up tho: when you feel underneath the surface, how easy is it to feel the rectus muscles? How sure are you they are developed enuf to stand out?

    One problem I had is that even when I dropped a bunch of body fat, I realized that I really hadn't developed the rectus abdominis nearly enuf for them to show thru even my lowered bodyfat. I had to really change what I was doing there -- in particular, for me (may not be true for you tho), I slowed down my reps and moved to exercises where I could progressively add more resistance. I'm still working on that!

    Anywho, just a thought.


    Oops, yeah that's a good catch I missed out on. I do abs on Mondays and Fridays, and lower back on Wednesdays. Haha, when you said that I should feel my rectus muscles, I thought you were talking about a different type of muscle, icon_razz.gif.

    Hmmm, under the fat, I can feel hardness when I flex, but no bumps I would envision if I were feeling up some guy with a six pack. Probably have to work the core more too huh; yeah the progressive thing for abs makes sense ...
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    Aug 02, 2008 3:13 PM GMT
    So given the amount I work out (cardio 5x/wk for 1.5-2.5 hrs, weights 3x/wk for 1-1.5 hrs), how many calories would you recommend, given that my goal is to lose fat? We already know 1500 is too low ...
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    Aug 02, 2008 4:19 PM GMT
    I know I'm in the minority but I think uber-defined six-packs are overrated. Nothing is sexier to me than a flat, tight tummy that looks like it got that way from outdoor athletics rather than gym sculpting.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Aug 03, 2008 9:58 AM GMT
    dr_jackl said
    GQjock saidCarbs... Carbs... Carbs .... Carbs



    Yes, I think I know about carbs ... only get them in the form of veggies and/or complex carbs? I hear mixed things about different types of grains or wheat though ...


    If you Really want that tight sixpack

    3314839_ac1210ca88.jpg?v=0

    You have to get rid of the subcutaneous fat that lies between the skin and the muscle wall of the abdomen
    .. sorry to say that this is where men First place fat in their bodies as a reserve
    and it's the last to go when you diet
    another added benefit ... and I'm being sarcastic when I say that... is that when you eat carbs
    When you eat carbs... you're body produces insulin to sequester those carbs in the form of glucose (sugar)
    into the cells
    a byproduct of this insulin sequestration is sodium
    which causes water to be retained
    it's just how the body works
    water retention - when you get down to such minute amts when you're trying to show off your abs
    will hide them and frustrate you all to hell

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 04, 2008 3:18 AM GMT
    GQjock said
    You have to get rid of the subcutaneous fat that lies between the skin and the muscle wall of the abdomen
    .. sorry to say that this is where men First place fat in their bodies as a reserve
    and it's the last to go when you diet
    another added benefit ... and I'm being sarcastic when I say that... is that when you eat carbs
    When you eat carbs... you're body produces insulin to sequester those carbs in the form of glucose (sugar)
    into the cells
    a byproduct of this insulin sequestration is sodium
    which causes water to be retained
    it's just how the body works
    water retention - when you get down to such minute amts when you're trying to show off your abs
    will hide them and frustrate you all to hell



    GQ, were you planning to edit this post? I must say this is the first post by you I don't think I really understand. Also, what's the bottom line? You're not saying don't eat carbs at all right?
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Aug 04, 2008 10:48 AM GMT
    Sorry if I got a little lost in the Scientific jargon on that post
    No... I'm not saying that at all
    But you will need to seriously restrict the one's that you do eat
    .... ALL processed carbs should be avoided
    simple sugars are less water retentive than the complex ones
    so some fruits and starchless vegetables are ok
    and so breads and cereals should be avoided too
    think of it like a modified Adkins diet
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    Aug 04, 2008 10:57 PM GMT
    Oh my god you go away for a few months and the urban myths and misinformed take rampage on the boards!!!!!!!

    Training aside how many threads have I seen now stating that 1500 calories is starvation mode. For a start there is no such bodily process as starvation mode, but numerous studies have shown that 950 is when bodily processes start to slow and can begin to cease to work.

    OK that aside add back in to the equation that way way way excessive training regime of wishful abbing and you may get close to the post exercise figure of 1000 calories

    Now lets look at your strategy hmmmm guess whats going in, since when have we ever got it accurate, if you never had the abs in the first place guess is you never got it right before so dont assume you can now.
    Dr Jackl I am shocked, I remember what I said to you ages ago get a symbiotic training plan and diet dont guestimate it rely on what works and what sits well together.

    At this present moment in time the type of carbs you are consuming is totally insignificant until you address that consumption v output. get that right then start worrying about the sources kep it simple and you will succeed start worrying about macro types and food timing etc and you will lose track of the bigger picture which you most definitely have

    One would ask though is all this cardio sport specific? Your glycogen levels must be so low its amazing that you have any energy to get out of bed in the morning!
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    Aug 05, 2008 1:12 AM GMT
    bfg1 saidOh my god you go away for a few months and the urban myths and misinformed take rampage on the boards!!!!!!!...

    I KNEW bfg would show up eventually!!! Just like the cavalry!
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    Aug 05, 2008 1:36 AM GMT
    bfg1 said
    OK that aside add back in to the equation that way way way excessive training regime of wishful abbing and you may get close to the post exercise figure of 1000 calories

    Now lets look at your strategy hmmmm guess whats going in, since when have we ever got it accurate, if you never had the abs in the first place guess is you never got it right before so dont assume you can now.
    Dr Jackl I am shocked, I remember what I said to you ages ago get a symbiotic training plan and diet dont guestimate it rely on what works and what sits well together.

    At this present moment in time the type of carbs you are consuming is totally insignificant until you address that consumption v output. get that right then start worrying about the sources kep it simple and you will succeed start worrying about macro types and food timing etc and you will lose track of the bigger picture which you most definitely have

    One would ask though is all this cardio sport specific? Your glycogen levels must be so low its amazing that you have any energy to get out of bed in the morning!


    I swear, is it just me? Whenever I feel like I'm put on the spot, I cannot understand a single thing the other person is saying. But honestly, it goes the other way too; people who are critical, or shocked or whatever don't seem to be able to make sense. But maybe it is just me.

    Anyhow ...

    I don't understand what you are saying at all. If the type of carbs I'm consuming is not important, what is? Yes, bfg, I talked to you ages ago, you gave me advice, I've also done a lot of other research in the meantime. This seems like a good point for me to review all these success stories because I'm actually doing something now and struggling. What exactly are you so shocked about?

    I don't even understand why you're asking the last question. In my first post, I told you what kinds of cardio I have been doing.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 05, 2008 1:51 AM GMT
    This is a type of water manipulation used by bodybuilders for shredding water weight before competitions. My uncle did this and got good results but it is meant for in shape people who have water retention.

    http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=1957070

    Also do not play with diuretics that is just dangerous, do salt baths instead, I remember my uncle would take me to the beach all week before a competition: salty ocean water would drain his water stores.

    Good luck and keep us posted on results.