Have you ever wondered what percentage of body fat you need to be at to see your abs? If you are into fitness, or have ever cut weight to achieve your best look, then you have likely pondered this question. And although this number and exact percentage is different for everyone, there are some good general guides to get you close. This article will cover those.
As a general rule, 10% body fat for men (14-17% for women) is the key number to really show your abs. You will start to see the definition of your abs before you get down to 10%. However, to really see the definition of your 6-pack, then 10% is your best target number.
Getting to 10% is simple, but it’s not easy. And always keep in mind that most of the work and heavy lifting is done in the kitchen, not in the gym.
Many people have the opposite perception of this important fact. You can do ab work and core work every day for hours, but if your diet is full of fat and unhealthy foods, then it’s a nearly impossible journey to get to 10%.
The Fundamentals of Getting to 10% Body Fat
Reality is, to cut weight and get to 10% body fat you simply must lose excess fat on your frame.
And the most effective way to do this is to consume less calories than you burn over a given period of time. And that period of time of course depends on your starting point.
If your body fat percentage is 25% or higher, then that is defined as obesity. So the journey will take longer but it’s still totally achievable. Whereas if your body fat is 15%, then you are very close to your target and it will not take as long.
However, if you have ever cut weight and reduced your body fat to 10%, then you likely know that the last 5% are oftentimes the most challenging. If you are obese, or severely obese, the weight falls off rather quickly when you start dieting and cutting weight. The first few months it’s possible that you might lose 5 pounds a week just with small changes.
But as your body adapts and becomes more efficient, and your metabolism changes to adjust to the reduction in calories, it is natural for the process to slow and become more challenging. But look at this as a positive thing, as your body is becoming more efficient.
Check out our friends at A Lean Life for more info on the process of getting lean.
Reduce Carbs…But Not Entirely
Most people trying to get extra lean need to reduce their carbohydrate intake. Carbs are a major stumbling block for many people, and the key to getting to 10% body fat is reducing carbs.
Cutting back on carbs has plenty of health benefits like losing weight, and it can also get you closer to getting your target % body fat. But how does one actually do this when most of us have diets that include a lot of carbs?
Here are some Diet Tips to get you to 10%:
1 – Enjoy healthier drinks.
Sugar-sweetened drinks like soda or iced tea are high in sugar and carbs. If water quenches your thirst, but not your craving for something tasty to drink, add lemon or sugar-free sweeteners like Stevia, Erythritol, or Xylitol. This will make your iced tea or water pretty tasty!
Also, fruit juices contain lots of carbs and so much sugar. Even those that claim they’re 100% fruit! So, you might as well eat the actual fruit so you can have some fiber too.
2 – Low-carb snacks can also make you feel full.
If you get really hungry a few hours before a meal, enjoy a quick fix of low-carb snacks like nuts and cheese—make sure you have them in small servings! Protein bars (100 to 250 calories) also work really well.
3 – More veggies, less bread and potatoes!
Especially when eating out, a lot of meal choices include bread and potatoes. Check with the restaurant if you can replace these high-in-carbohydrate foods with healthy vegetables instead. White bread and pasta are considered simple carbohydrates, and are on the no-go list when you’re cutting to get shredded. Not to be mistaken with complex carbs, such as brown rice and whole wheat bread (which are healthy and necessary).
4 – Load up on protein.
This will make you feel full because of the “fullness hormone” PYY that’s released by protein. It reduces the feeling of hunger, and can help stop certain cravings of more food. Have at least one of these with breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Lean meats (sirloin steak)
Poultry (white meat chicken – grilled, no skin)
5 – Read food labels and count carbs!
Choose food items that have lower carb and sugar content, and also watch your calorie count. A good target is a calorie deficit of 200-300 calories per day.
You’ll lose fat, but not too fast where you start to lose muscle also.
You can even try out using nutrition trackers – look for available apps on your phone. These trackers will help you keep count of your carbohydrate intake.
The Bottom Line on Body Fat for Abs
If you want to see your abs, then you need to be 10% body fat (or at least very close). It’s not an easy journey, but it’s very doable with some discipline and a lean diet.
Of course, we all want to build a pair of sexy six-pack abs. The problem is, that it is not easy! It takes hard work, dedication and time. But if you can stay focused, then you, just like anyone else, can get ripped! You just have to lose that belly fat and get those ab muscles bulging! This article will teach you how to do it best! Then you can get those ab muscles bulging in time to show off your summer beach body!
We all want those nice-looking, six-pack abs that everyone stares at. However, few people know how to get them. There are just too many ab myths around to sort through for people to really the truth of how to get a nice pair of abdominals.
Some people say it’s all diet, while others say diet doesn’t matter. And too many people believe that if you just do a bunch of abdominal exercises you will get those abs popping. While others say you don’t need to train them at all.
A lot of people also believe it is all about genetics, and how fit your parents were.
So with all these beliefs, which one is it? How do we get those nice looking six-pack abs? How do we get ripped?
The truth is, most of those beliefs are true. However, doing only one of those things will not give you those nice looking six-pack abs we all want. It takes a lot of things added together to get yourself a pair of ripped abdominals that really show.
It takes a lot of things added together to get yourself a pair of abdominals that really show.
Exercise for Six Pack Abs
First and foremost, many people believe that weight loss is 70% diet and 30% exercise. This is absolutely NOT TRUE.
How can it be? Diet only adds in calories while exercise takes away calories. Plus, exercise gives you long-lasting benefits, including metabolic effects that can continue burning off calories long after your workout ends. Read more on this here! >>
Therefore, the main piece to any weight loss, or transformation plan MUST BE EXERCISE.
By exercising often, especially on a daily basis, you are constantly burning off calories and gaining the muscular benefits of exercise. And, when training that frequently (5+ days per week), you should do moderate-intensity exercise.
Moderate Intensity Exercise
The minimum amount you need to do is 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise daily. Also, make sure to keep your heart rate up to where it is difficult to breathe the entire time. Examples are running, cycling or a circuit at the gym with minimal rest periods.
You can also do bodyweight exercises or any other form of exercise that keeps you moving the whole time. But focus on keeping your heart rate up.
High-Intensity Interval Training burns the most belly fat the fastest!
If you have a lot of belly fat to remove in order to see your developed abdominals, you should consider doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) 2-3 days per week.
High-intensity training done 2-3 days per week, in the form of sprinting, burns the most belly fat the fastest. And, therefore, is the fastest way to get RIPPED six-pack abs! The problem is, most people are unwilling to put in that kind of work.
It is best to do sprints, but you can also do other forms of high-intensity cardio training such as cycling or jump roping. But, with any exercise you do, it MUST BE INTENSE.
An example is sprinting for 20-30 seconds, then resting for up to a minute. You can also do shorter and longer rest periods, but a 1:2 work to rest ratio works well with high-intensity exercise.
Again, this should only be done 2-3 days per week. And it replaces your moderate-intensity exercise for that day.
However you choose to do your daily exercise, just remember that it is the main piece to any weight loss, transformation or six-pack abs plan. However, there is still more to it.
Diet for RIPPED Six Pack Abs
You simply cannot eat your way to a six pack.
The next important piece to getting ripped is diet. Your diet is important and plays a major role in fat loss. But, it is not the main piece.
You cannot eat your way to a 6-pack from a high body fat state, without the use of exercise. Again, diet can only add in calories, it does not take them away.
Also, there is nothing magic about your diet that is going to suddenly make you lose fat or weight. It is as simple as calories in, versus calories out. If you eat more calories than you lose from exercise, you will gain weight. If you eat fewer calories than you use daily, you will lose weight.
However, when you lose this weight, you are more likely to lose muscle than fat. That is unless you give your body a reason to maintain the muscle mass you have.
This is because muscle is hard for your body to maintain. So your body tries to get rid of any extra muscle mass that is not important for survival. That is why it is important to do some amount of strength training, or resistance exercise, while on your diet. This will give your body a reason to maintain muscle mass and just burn off fat.
Strength Training for Six Pack Abs
The strength training you do does not need to be highly intense. And can be done as part of your training circuit at the gym.
A third and smaller piece to the puzzle is Genetics. Diet and exercise are the main pieces that take up most of the efforts. But you also need to think of other factors.
Genetics is an important factor. Some people are more predisposed to have less muscle growth and more abdominal fat. While, some people have very clean cut looking abs, almost naturally while others may not ever see them.
The genetics we have effect our metabolism to some degree and also shape how our abs look. So genetics is mentionable as a factor.
How To Train Your Abs
Train your abs for size, not endurance!
Also, you should train your abdominals for hypertrophy (size), if you want them to stick out more. If you train them for endurance, you are more likely to make them shrink than stand out.
They need to be built, not just worked!
Even through layers of fat, large abdominal muscles can give you some base look of a six-pack. So train your abdominals. Not so much with high repetitions like a cardio session, but more like other muscle groups; such as the biceps.
Do 3-4 sets of 10-15 repetitions of abdominal exercises that are difficult for you, 3-4 days per week.
Sleep is very important for not only recovery from exercise, but also to regulate your hormones and rid you of unnecessary stress.
The final extra piece that needs to be mentioned is sleep.
Sleep is very important for not only recovery from exercise, but also to regulate your hormones and rid you of unnecessary stress. Stress leads to increased abdominal fat. And sleep alone can help greatly in decreasing your stress levels.
So make sure you are getting an absolute minimum of 7 hours of sleep daily. However, 8-9 hours per day is best.
Of course, there are many other small factors that can be added into your ripped six-pack plan, but these are the main ones:
So there you have it! Your very own guide on how to obtain those sought after ripped six-pack abs. Now all you have to do is apply it!
You have to choose to go out and exercise on a daily basis. You have to choose to make a change in your diet and eat only what will help you reach your goals. Then you have to choose to put all the pieces together, such as getting to sleep on time every day. And you have to choose to go after the goals you set and achieve them.