Generally, muscle definition is a sign of true health and fitness. But, ripped abs are the gold standard of weight room achievements. Most people don’t realize how much weight they have to lose to see their full 6 pack abs. In many cases, guys will fall short of appealing washboard abs because they assume they will be able to see all of their abs at an unrealistically high body weight.
Abs And Bodyfat Connection
If you want to see your abs then your goal should be to get lean, not a specific body weight. If you thought you’d see your abs at 180 pounds, and you get down to 180 pounds and you don’t’ see them. Then, that usually means you have to lower your bodyfat percentage to see them, plain and simple no magic trick to that.
The amount you weigh on a scale really doesn’t matter, it’s how lean you are that matters. You probably have a good idea of exactly how you’d like your body to look but only a vague idea if at all of what your weight should be. But if you’ve never seen your full six-pack abs before, i’ll bet you’re assuming the weight is much higher than what it actually should be. In general, that is.
Here’s the bad news, men hold the most fat in their abdomen. Even worse, you can’t spot-reduce body fat. Which means your only path to revealing your washboard abs is to reduce overall body fat. You will look a certain way at 150 pounds, and that particular look and leanness is different from the look you have when you are at 160 pounds or 170 pounds and so on.
You cannot force your body to have the 150-pound look when it is 170 pounds. Unless, you train to reduce body fat levels. Not specifically overall bodyweight. At the same time, aiming to keep or increasing muscle mass. So whatever weight you are at currently. If you can’t see your abs. You need to train to reduce your overall body fat percentage.
Now, if your full 6-pack was visible when you were at 150 pounds and not visible now at 170 pounds. It doesn’t mean you can’t have ripped abs at 170 pounds. it just means that the last 20lbs you gained wasn’t very lean weight. So, it’s now concealing your six-pack.
The Ideal Body Fat Percentage For Ripped Abs
18 to 24% body fat is considered healthy by the American Council on Exercise. But, your abs will be barely visible at this level. If you trim it down to 15%, you’ll start to see the upper two abs, but you’ll need to lean out even more to see washboard abs.
Trim off just two or three more percent from there, and voila! You’ll have ripped abs!! So, if you’re anywhere from 6 to 13% body fat, you’ll definitely have a six pack.
4 Key Steps To Lower Your Body Fat Percentage
You are what you eat. If you eat a lot of junk food, guess what. You’ll look junk, feel junk and carry around a spare tire instead of washboard abs. So, stop eating junk food or at least cut it back, a lot. Avoid foods with added sugars, sugar-sweetened drinks, processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, etc.
Examples Of Junk Food: Candies, cookies, cake, ice cream, donuts, soda, juices with added sugar, etc.
Try to eat food that is closest to it’s natural state. For example, no processed meats or canned items. Which are usually higher in saturated fats and calories. Canned fruits are usually high in added sugar and coated with heavy syrup. Excess dietary sugar= High body fat levels.
2. Do Some Resistance Training
Aim to include compound exercises such as the bench press, squats and deadlift into a workout. Compound exeercises are all you need. Of course, you can do some isolation exercises to target specific muscles, such as arm curls or shoulder presses. But compound exercises have proven to be highly effective multi-muscle exercises to tone and build muscle.
You don’t have to use heavy weights to lean out. Just use a weight to give you some resistance. 30%- 50% of your maximum weight resistance is adequate. Aim to workout 3- 4 times a week. Optionally, you can do bodyweight exercises instead of using weights.
For example, instead of the bench press, you can do pushups. Read THIS ARTICLE I wrote on bodyweight workouts for more guidance to become physically fit. Finally, consume .5- 1 gram of protein per pound of your bodyweight to conserve and build muscle while leaning out.
3. High Intensity Interval Workout (HIIT)
Include high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts if you want a leaner body faster. In fact, I would include an HIIT workout regularly for added fitness benefits inside and out.
Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training:
- You’ll Keep Burning Calories Hours After A Workout
- It Will Help You Lose Fat
- HIIT Can Improve Oxygen Consumption
- HIIT Workouts Can Improve Your Endurance
- It Can Reduce Heart Rate And Blood Pressure
- HIIT Is More Time-Efficient
- You Might Gain Muscle Using HIIT
- Blood Sugar Can Be Reduced by HIIT workouts
You can complete a HIIT workout in just 10 or 15 minutes and get the same or even better results than a traditional 30 minute cardio workout. It’s all about alternating the intensity of the workout for a specific amount of time. For example, run or sprint all out for 15 seconds and then walk for a minute. Do this through 6-8 cycles for a highly beneficial HIIT workout.
4. Sleep Well
When it comes to having a lean body. Nutrition matters the most. Followed by having an active lifestyle. But, many people underestimate the importance of good, recuperating, deep sleep when it comes to optimized health. Studies show that not getting enough sleep specifically boosts belly fat, so aim for a solid 7 to 9 hours a night.
If you want to uncover your washboard abs, you need to perform exercises that efficiently burn body fat. Science has consistently shown that cardio plus resistance training is the best way to burn fat, and any plan dedicated to revealing your abs should incorporate them.