T Nation

Plateaued Stomach



Hello all! I am posting this because I’m having a bit of an issue. About three years ago I started my fitness journey. Before I started I was a whopping 220lb. I’m five 5’ 51/2" and I had always been small. Since then I’ve lost 85 pounds. I did this through interval training, regular jogging, weight training and clean eating. Three years later I have muscle definition everywhere except that one spot. That’s right…MY STOMACH! It’s such a small amount that I want gone. I’m not concerned about losing weight just getting my stomach to be tight and lean. I have been told that for the amount of exercise that I do that I may not be eating enough. Even though I eat clean I may not be eating the right things but I’m not sure what the right things to eat are right now. I hope by posting this I will be able to find some direction. Thank you in advance for any information!


This could definitely have something to do with your diet but it’s hard to say without knowing much about you. Women tend to retain water and fat in that specific area so it could also have something to do with something hormonal.
Also just adding more muscle mass will help because if you aren’t overly muscular you can’t expect that you’re going to see a lot of definition especially if you’re carrying extra bodyfat/water/loose skin in the area. Therefore maybe adding some weighted ab exercises to your program is a good idea.

Supplements like Hot Rox and Indigo are very helpful if you’re looking for good supplements to help with fat loss. Indigo has really helped me get lean and keep fat off in the areas I usually have issues with.


I agree with the top comment. Most often times women won’t see the tight abdominal muscles, or slight abdomen veins until their bf% is well under 20% or even 19%. Although with getting there, most often times women will lose their hard earned gains just as fast as they retained them if not faster, with excess cardio, or intense dieting. For women it’s a bit of a structured guessing game, and it becomes increasingly challenging (not impossible), the more muscle you pack on. Ladies who juice can recomp like it’s nothing, but the natural ladies just have to know how to time feedings, carb cycle better, monitor water intake, monitor trainings according to our monthly Menstrual cycles, train effectively, etc.

Since you stated that you’ve lost 85 pounds, I take it your weight is somewhere around 135? Yes? I don’t know if you predominantly did cardio to lose the weight, or what your body fat is, but your best bet would be to gain as much lean muscle as you can. I wouldn’t suggest bulking just because you’ve done a great job of losing so much weight and it’ll probably dissatisfy you to see the weight go up again. So maybe a small increase in calories (maybe 100-200 calories every week?) and monitor your weight gain, and have a rough estimate of body fat, and see how your shaping up in the mirror, etc. And see how that goes. I’d also suggest maybe throwing in an extra heavy lifting day. That’s all the info I can give you without knowing more about your training, eating, and daily habits.


Congratulations on your success!

Regarding having a lean defined mid-section, unfortunately, especially for women, that takes extremely low amounts of body fat. I recently prepped my wife for her first show, and we didn’t start seeing her 6 pack until about 8 weeks before her show, when she was well below a healthy level of body fat for a female. Chances are if you see a female with a 6 pack, she’s been training a very long time, works abs a lot, and may not have a regular menstrual cycle.

If you could possibly post a picture, share as many details as possible about your current training and diet it would be easier to give more specific advice. But, general recommendations would be to train abs as hard and consistently as you train your other muscle groups, and get leaner. People all hold fat in different places, if your stomach is genetically where you hold it last, you may just need to get very lean in order to see the results you want.