T Nation

Body Fat Estimate and Help Getting Abs


#1

Hi, I need some help on to how achieve my goal the fastest way. I want to get abs in less than 2.5 months. Hopefully this is a realistic goal. Problem is that I’m not sure if I have underdeveloped abs, or if I still have some bodyfat to lose. What do you guys think I should do? Should I keep cutting for maybe a month or two? What do you guys estimate is my bodyfat percentage? Here are some pics:


#2

You definitely have more fat to lose. Why is 10 weeks your time frame? You also probably don’t have particularly large abs as you’re not muscular.


#3

10 weeks because my girlfriend is coming back from an internship around that time. I kinda wanted to impress her. I’m here for the long term though. Ideally I’d like to get them by the time she’s back, but if it’ll take more time, then so be it. Right now I’ve been eating at maintenance, hitting the gym hard and started doing direct ab work (never did them before). I’ve been doing knee raises, weighted sit ups and cable crunches. High weight, low reps. Only cardio I’ve been doing is like 10 mins warmup in the treadmill, and then 10 mins cooldown (walking, not jogging/ running). I’m not sure if I should keep what I’m doing and see where it takes me, or if I should go on a slight calorie deficit to lose the remaining fat I have. I think I only need to lose like 2-3% body fat in order for my abs to show. Not sure. Thoughts? After I cut, and the 10 weeks are over, I’ll be starting my new goal (gaining muscle), so I’ll he doing a clean bulk


#4

The shorter your time frame the more cardio you need to do.


#5

Got you. Yes, in that timeframe you’ll need to drop your calories. Nothing extreme. I’d suggest starting 200 cal/day below where you’re at. Ideally that’ll be enough for the duration. If things stall for a couple of weeks, drop another 200 cal/day as long as you don’t go below 11xbodyweight in lbs.


#6

Thanks, man. I’ll be doing that. I’ll make sure to update you guys if I get stuck or something


#7

You definitely have to cut more fat if you want abs. You will literally never see abs at your current bodyfat level. You’re not terribly far away from it though, and 10 weeks is enough time to get there with smart dieting. I agree with Mark’s assessment.

I don’t believe your ab work in the gym will benefit you at all. I haven’t done sit ups, leg raises, or any direct ab work in many many years. I squat, deadlift, and overhead press. Obviously I do other things as well, but those 3 lifts have the most direct impact on the core overall. Center your workouts around these movements, and if you want to, keep doing the ab work as well. But remember that the direct ab work is secondary, and not as effective as these bigger compound movements. And aside from that, compound lifts like these will stimulate your metabolism better.


#8

I’ve been doing all of the compound movements you mentioned. I have a solid gym routine, so no worries about that. I’ll be definetly be eating at a calorie deficit + be doing cardio. What body fat % would you estimate I’m at, by the way? I’d say around 14%, but I’m no expert, so I could be wrong


#9

Years back this would spawned an angry mob.

Ugh.


#10

Heavy compound movement work (big 3 or a strongman event) then a circuit of compound movements (pullups, dips, barbell rows etc).

Not crossfit, you cant train if you are injured and time is a factor.

Then if you want to do cardio later in the day fine.

And eat clean AF in a deficit.

The kitchen will be the real results but if you dont have anything to show nothing will be seen.

Gram of protein per pound of body weight and I think higher carb is better for athletes rather than high fats no carb.


#11

I use to do fasted cardio in the morning.
Then strength training (compounds) after work.
Then I would add a second cardio session after my afternoon strength session.

This is pretty gruelling. Especially in a deficit. And you might have to work up to the 2nd cardio session. But I did have nice abs after a few months.


#12

Fasted training is one of the principles Sumo Wrestlers have used for hundreds of years to perfect fat gain.

The other is huge meals rather than smaller.


#13

And body builders have been doing for decades to get shredded.

Do you need to do fasted cardio?
HELL NO!

Is it an easy way for some to get an extra cardio session in?
You bet.


#14
  1. Body builders are enhanced
  2. Just because something has been done doesnt mean it is optimal.

Try semi fasted, pound a protein shake or eat a piece of chicken before doing the cardio.


#15

I mean, I tried fasted cardio a while back, and it did work wonders. I lost a lot of body fat. I’m not sure if it was because of doing it fasted though. Perhaps I would have had the same result by doing it after eating. A year ago I used to have a very big belly. I feel proud of the amount of fat I’ve lost. I stopped the cut a couple months ago. Here’s some pick of how I used to look:

As you can see I was fat as hell lol. I’m not sure if I can do fasted cardio this 10 weeks though. I go early to the gym (about 6AM) because it gets crowded and I’m busy during the day. If I were to do fasted cardio I’d have to wake up like at 5AM, and do it before my lifting, which I’m not a fan of. I don’t want to do cardio before the gym as I feel it will mess up my lifts since I’ll be tired. Right now I’m planning on doing 15 min walk on treadmill before working out as a warm-up, and then after the workout do a 30 min jog on treadmill as a cool-down (could also use stationary bicycle/ elliptical machine). Then in the afternoon I could probably add some 30 more mins of jogging. Perhaps replace the 30 min jogs in the afternoon 2 times a week with HIIT. I also have a jump rope, which I may use instead of the 30 min jogs. Thoughts?


#16

https://www.t-nation.com/training/tip-burn-fat-faster-than-ever-before


#17

I wouldn’t really do ab work with heavy weight/low reps, especially for a short term aesthetic goal. That type of training is geared towards strength building, and is better suited for compound lifts (squat, bench, deadlift). That said, for the long term I’ve found powerlifting and focusing on strength helps people build a solid foundation of muscle mass, and makes it easier to see your abs, even at higher body fat percentages.

But ff you have 10 weeks to get shredded before your girlfriend comes home, I would focus primarily on MRT workouts and density training, while adding things like rope crunches a few days a week for 3 or 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps (to get your abs to really pop). You need to drop your body fat % to at least 12% (most people with less muscle mass will need to be less than 10%).

At the same time, you need to be in a caloric deficit. Mutliply your bodyweight by 10 to 13 - this is your calorie range. Split your week into about 4 low calorie days, and 3 high calorie days. The high calorie days should fall on your hardest training days.


#18

This - plain and simple…

You’re also saying you’d have to get up at 5am to do fasted cardio - not true at all and you’re overthinking this whole thing… 15-20 minutes is all that is required and it can be brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or even using light weights and doing a circuit (my wife has some 15lb dumbbells I use and will do a brisk full-body circuit to get my morning fasted cardio in)…

To add in a session of steady-state AFTER strength training = godlike… This is the time you WANT to do cardio, as your muscle glycogen stores are depleted so your body has to turn to body fat as an energy source…

Thumbs up Phatso - that was a great post and the total solution for this guy… No to see if he follows the advice…