When Sit-Ups Don’t Work
What Do I Do When I Can’t Lose Weight And My See Abs
Recently I got this question.
It’s a fairly common problem so I thought I’d share it here so you could benefit from it too.
Hi Jason, I have a question.
My problem is my abs, I can’t get the fat off.
I’ve tried everything from working them every day to working them every other day. Nothing works. I’ve tried all kinds of fat burners and diets and I can’t get them to show like they did when I was in high school.
Do you have any suggestions?
Here’s my answer:
The midsection or ab area is a tough spot for many looking to drop that last bit of unwanted fat.
We all struggle with slightly different areas.
- Women often have trouble with the hips and underarms.
- For guys it’s the beer belly and low back love handle area.
Interesting enough. Regardless of your trouble spot, the plan of attack remains the same.
It all comes down to creating a caloric deficit.
it’s not what you’re looking to hear. After all, TV is full infomercials promote gadgets, potions, and pills all of which promise to banish the belly or any other trouble spot. And they claim it can be done fast without diet or exercise.
Unfortunately. Getting a great set of abs isn’t as effortless as they make it out to be.
But there is some good news.
Your abs are there.
This is especially true if you’ve been doing heavy compound lifts and the other methods outlined in The Athlete’s Physique™.
The problem is nutrition.
If your diet hasn’t been on point, you’ll have some stubborn belly fat covering up your hard work.
The only way to flatten your stomach and to get those abs to pop is to get tough fighting fat. And that requires a calorie deficit.
Direct ab work is a great way to add those finishing touches. The problem is that sit ups, crunches, and even the most difficult ab exercises don’t burn many calories.
That means doing all those ab exercises in an effort to spot reduce is an exercise in futility. It’s never going to happen.
Stop Focusing On The Abs
In The Athlete’s Physique™ the majority of your ab work comes from doing high intensity compound exercises. Not only are your abs getting the work they need. You’re blasting away the fat to reveal your hard work.
Adding cardio to the mix is always an option. That doesn’t mean you have to go for long runs. If that’s what you like go for it. But I’m going to tell you that there are many other options available.
The most effective is high intensity intervals. They’re short. Yet effective. It takes a fraction of the time and they allow you to hang onto your muscle.
If you don’t like cardio, you can always structure your workouts a little differently. Jam more work into less time.
Enter… Metabolic resistance training
This is a great way to build lean muscle while you boost your metabolism. Watch the video below for more on metabolic resistance training.
In the video Craig covers the basics of metabolic resistance training…
heavy resistance training with incomplete rest periods.
Resistance training doesn’t have to be with weights. Bodyweight exercises are perfect for the beginner, or times when equipment is limited.
If you want to try this out for your next workout make these small adjustments:
- Use heavy weight
- Decrease rest periods
- Superset all your exercises
Two Post Weight Training Cardio Methods
If you’re not into changing your workout, add some cardio to the end of your workout. Going this route isn’t as efficient. So expect to take longer before you reach your weight loss goal.
At the end of your workout add in either: Incline cardio – I like this method. It’s simple yet effective. Perfect for someone with a decent amount of muscle and wants to keep it. Basically all you do is walk on an incline for 15 minutes after you finish your strength training routine.
If you’re looking for more variety high intensity burners work well too.
Again go for about 15 minutes doing things like sled pushes, farmers walks, battling ropes, kettlebell swings, or any other high intensity activity you can think of.
Keep the intensity high to help maintain muscle mass.
A work to rest rest ratio of 2:1 works well. (eg… 20 seconds of work 40 seconds of rest) For something like the sled a heavy push for 30 seconds with 90 seconds of rest will definitely get the heart racing and the fat burning.
For more examples click here – https://jasoncscs.com/goto/burners/
The previous methods are effective but slow. If you really want to get lean quickly, nothing beats old school cardio. Ignore those who say that cardio will make you fat. Yes, people do say that.
Nothing like old school cardio to melt away the fat.
My favorite method is intervals. You’ll never see an overweight sprinter. Show me someone who can do 400m under 60 seconds and I’ll show you someone with a great set of abs. Side note: 400m is a 1/4 mile. That’s one lap around around a regular sized outdoor track.
400m repeats are tough. Not something I recommend for the beginner. Start short and build yourself up. If you’re looking for some secret ninja stuff you’ll want to check this out…. http://fitnessdoctrine.com/read/chapter-7-sneak-peak/
There you’ll get a sneak peak of a chapter in my buddy Rusty’s cardio manual. In this leaked chapter Rusty explains what additional steps you need to take to target stubborn body fat. Chapter 7 goes deep into what happens when you deplete your glycogen levels and how to take advantage of this to really ignite that fat burning furnace.
You can check it out here… http://fitnessdoctrine.com/read/chapter-7-sneak-peak/
Things wouldn’t be complete without a short discussion on nutrition. This is where you’re going to have the greatest impact on your abs. Remember, it’s not about the ab exercises. It’s about reducing body fat. Nothing combats body fat like the combination of exercise and nutrition. Watch this short video as I talk to Kirk about a couple basic nutrition concepts.
Short term approach to calorie reduction.
Keep track of your calories and macronutrients.
If you’re working out start around 15 calories/lbs of bodyweight.
Weight yourself everyday. At the same time. Do this for two weeks. Take a look at the trend. If you are losing, good. Keep at it. If the weight isn’t coming off drop your calories by 10%.
Weigh, track, and record for another two weeks. If still not losing drop another 10%.
Repeat whole thing again.
If still not losing double check your math. If all that is right get a food scale and weight your food. This will give you a more accurate count.
Many think that eating healthy has to be bland and boring. In the past this may have been the case. Now, there’s no need for tasteless diet food.
Do yourself a favour. Ditch the boring diet foods and download a few recipes…
For a flat stomach and great abs…
ditch the direct ab work.
Look at doing metabolic resistance training workouts with a 15 minute caloric afterburner.
If that isn’t your style. Do some old school cardio. Sprints if you can.
Most important factor in a killer 6 pack… is calories.
If you don’t get that right you’ll find yourself spinning your wheels. Calories consumed have to be less than calories burned. The best way to do that is through nutrition.
That about does it.
Thanks for the great question.
Keep them coming,