“How come the strongest men in the world don’t have six packs?” This question came up in the newsletter of my former nutrition school, the BTN Academy. Bellow I share highlights from the very complex answer of the head tutor, Tom Bainbridge.
Apart from low body fat percentage there are other factors that play an important role in having a six pack or visible abs.
The size of the abdominal muscle
This will determine whether the muscles of your stomach are visible or not at any given body fat percentage. If you want visible muscles you need to train your abs in the same way that you train other muscles – with increasing amounts of weights/tension over time. You don’t get big legs by doing bodyweight squats forever, and you don’t get bigger abdominal muscles by doing unweighted crunches forever.
The body fat percentage of two comparable individuals will look different because of their specific body fat distribution. Some people will have visible abs at a given body fat percentage while others won’t. It is just an unfair fact.
So why are people who are trying to get a six pack not seeing results?
– They haven’t spent enough time developing those muscles by eating enough to grow and training in a way that promotes muscle growth over time because they are too busy trying to get leaner to show their abs! You cannot build muscle and get lean at the same time!
– Keeping body fat at a healthy but low enough level to have visible abs is not easy at all – so they aren’t following a well-built diet with a specific macro nutrient ratio that is required.
– They don’t have the genetic makeup for easily maintaining a low level of body fat while remaining healthy.
Having visible abs is possible for everyone BUT for some people it would necessitate a level of leanness that may not be healthy long term.
Put as briefly as possible Tom says:
“Everyone can get a six pack. All you have to do is build the muscle then get lean enough to show it… but that’s not to say that everyone should do that”.