The reason having 6-pack abs is so attractive for most people is arguably purely biological; it indicates excellent health and metabolism.
Getting abs takes more than just some lifting repetitions to achieve. While some websites claim that you can make those abs pop out in weeks with some weight loss pill or that one exercise, this is actually far from the truth.
Are You Doing the Right Exercise?
It's a no-brainer that building up the right muscles is essential for getting those appealing lines on your stomach. But this is not the only type of workout you should be doing to get shredded; cardio and core exercise will be just as important in losing body fat and building muscle mass.
The main 6-pack muscle group you see on a ripped stomach is the rectus abdominis. The most popular exercises to work this muscle group are crunches, leg raises, and of course, planks. There are loads of exercises online for this muscle group (and every other muscle there is.)
The transverse abdominis is the muscle group that makes the V-lines near the hip bones. Some of the exercises you can do to exercise these muscles are the wipers and half wipers, plank rolls, and Russian twists.
Internal and external obliques are abdominal muscles that are on the sides of your torso. These can be exercised using side planks, toe taps, and elbow-to-knee crunches.
Do You Have the Right Amount of Body Fat?
Only two factors will determine whether you have visible abs: the strength of the muscle groups we just explained and your body fat percentage.
Regardless of how much you exercise these muscles and how powerful and clear-cut they become, if you don’t have the correct body fat percentage, they just won’t be visible.
The vast majority of our body fat lies just underneath the skin. This means that your skin has a layer of fat that covers these muscles. For the muscular look to be actually visible, this layer needs to be pretty thin.
For abs to be visible, you need to get your body fat percentage to be less than 15%. Be careful, though. There’s a minimum of essential body fat that you should never go below, and it’s different from males to females.
Female bodies need around 10% body fat to be functioning well, while men need about 2-4% at least.
Is Your Gut Health Setting You Back?
Not that having good gut health needs any more reasons to be a priority, but it plays a significant role in how your body handles food and exercise.
Reaching this body fat percentage means that not only does your body need the right food, but it needs to digest and absorb it efficiently. Studies have shown that poor gut health is linked to having excess fat. So if your gut health is in tip-top shape, it’ll increase your body’s ability to lose fat.
Improving your gut health will also have the upside of eating healthier foods, which means you’re that much more likely to lose body fat.
Are You Eating the Right Foods?
What you consume, your gut health, and your body fat percentage are very closely interlinked. Eating high-fat foods will either increase or sustain your body fat level, which means your abs are not getting more pronounced no matter how hard you exercise.
The tagline of how to get abs is “abs are made in the kitchen.” Of course, many will try to prove this sentence wrong or give your shortcuts, but the truth is that the only way to get and maintain that 6-pack is by eating a sustainably healthy diet with a caloric deficit.