So how hard is it to keep abs anyways?

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slightlydead
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So how hard is it to keep abs anyways?

Postby slightlydead » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:09 am UTC

After like half a year of a low carb, high fat diet, IF and exercise, it seems like I've got abs now. The question is how long am I actually going to keep them there for and whether or not it's worth it. Abs has never been my goal, I hate cardio and I've always wanted to bulk up, but during these last few weeks I've been eating too little because of school and as a result I look at the mirror and I see a lot of my belly fat has disappeared.

I've always thought, to gain mass you need caloric excess so I always load up on the milk+ meat. This runs counter to what people do for abs it seems and well I don't want to change my lifestyle for something that I'm not seeing much use for at the moment. Sure it looks nice in the mirror, but how often am I going to take my shirt off? Does anyone have experiences with keeping abs? Is it worth it or should I just take a picture right now, guzzle down some delicious whole milk and wave them away?

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Nath
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Re: So how hard is it to keep abs anyways?

Postby Nath » Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:26 am UTC

Well, there are no hidden advantages to having abs. If they are not your goal, screw 'em, and enjoy your milk. On the other hand, if you enjoy having them, there's no shame in that either. But keeping them will slow down your progress in the weight room.

Mine come and go (depending on lighting and hydration), and they are completely useless. I'd gladly hand them over in exchange for another 30lb on my squat. Besides, you can always get them back later if you want them. Losing fat is much easier than gaining muscle.

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nightbird
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Re: So how hard is it to keep abs anyways?

Postby nightbird » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:45 pm UTC

Abs = low bodyfat (way more important than how strong your muscles really are), muscle gain = gaining weight. There's a reason many bodybuilders bulk and cut, getting both at the same time is possible but hard to do. The Warrior Diet and/or eating just a tad above maintenance allow you to maintain abs while slowly building muscle. Also, keep in mind that seeing very little of your abs does not mean you're very lean or ripped; it means you're reached a very high bodyfat level for an athlete (opposed to a sedentary person). Being ripped doesn't have to be your goal, but staying below 15% BF (for a guy) is a healthy thing to do.
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Jorpho
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Re: So how hard is it to keep abs anyways?

Postby Jorpho » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:00 am UTC

I'm very fond of a quote from Eric Bana, which I recounted in this old 6-pack thread:
Abs are for people with no friends. I don't do the ab thing. I've even had them once, actually, for a film, and they were always covered up. I just said to myself, 'Well, I'll just never do that again.' That was a waste of time. There's so much more to enjoy in life.
I am also reminded of the tale of the male model who was fired for eating a croissant, but that is Daily Mail, so treat it appropriately.

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Izawwlgood
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Re: So how hard is it to keep abs anyways?

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:36 am UTC

Basically what Nath said, but remember, as you get older, men store fat around their guts. So, I dunno, do what you will. It's just a metric of body fat, so if you're dropping weight for some reason, use that as a marker?
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Laserdan
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Re: So how hard is it to keep abs anyways?

Postby Laserdan » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:54 am UTC

If you want abs that are ripped and very visible even when not flexing, you're in for a lot of no-fun stuff. I kept it up for about 3 years and stopped then. Even a couple of days without iron-clad discipline (especially eating) can ruin it and you need a couple of days to go back. We're talking ~9% body fat here. It looks great (and, at least for me, I felt like, super sexy on the beach) but it's almost a full time job to keep your body there; my natural body fat is more around 18% - 20% and it's ridiculous how your body grasps everything it can to not go below that set point.

Chicken breast and tuna in water (avoid Casein-containing stuff like milk) pretty much every day was the regime, and though I actually love to eat both pure and as bought (maybe some pepper), it really makes you crave some gelato. Working out abs after every training session (be it cardio or weight training) was, imho, also important. And mind you, I have naturally very well developed abs. I can't begin to understand how somebody who has a harder time with that can muster enough discipline to keep it up.

I'm trying to go 12% over the summer, hopefully keeping it at about 12% to 15% for the long term.

PS: Counting kcal is quite important. I use Kaloma for that, it's free and comes with a huge database of foods, let's you keep diaries and report progress with graphs.

PPS: Keep in mind that no matter how hard you work out, how unbreakable your discipline is, you might not end up with classical abs because many people don't actually have 6 discernable packets. Some have none at all (a training partner I used to train with had 6.5% body fat and though his belly was rock hard all the way, it was just one big flat pack with slight indentation where the vertical line is. It's just genetic lottery.
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philsov
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Re: So how hard is it to keep abs anyways?

Postby philsov » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:12 pm UTC

(avoid Casein-containing stuff like milk)


edification, please? What difference would that make?
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Laserdan
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Re: So how hard is it to keep abs anyways?

Postby Laserdan » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:24 pm UTC

philsov wrote:
(avoid Casein-containing stuff like milk)


edification, please? What difference would that make?


There is anecdotal evidence that Casein causes subcutaneous water retention, and it can make you bloated.
The speculation is that higher sodium content with Casein is the culprit.

I don't know of any scientific studies (though I'd love to read some) - it's basically "gym wisdom" and can be wrong, but it's not hard or costly to avoid eating lots Casein proteins (imho), so why take the risk?

The bloating part though is most certainly NOT anecdotal. Especially if you're lactose intolerant - this can severely interfere with training and digestion.
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Jorpho
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Re: So how hard is it to keep abs anyways?

Postby Jorpho » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:47 am UTC

Were you careful to avoid other sources of sodium aside from just milk? (Apparently at the highest levels, certain brands of toothpaste are avoided due to their sodium content.)

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Nath
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Re: So how hard is it to keep abs anyways?

Postby Nath » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:31 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:Were you careful to avoid other sources of sodium aside from just milk? (Apparently at the highest levels, certain brands of toothpaste are avoided due to their sodium content.)

This seems like less of a concern if you don't eat toothpaste.

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Laserdan
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Re: So how hard is it to keep abs anyways?

Postby Laserdan » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:56 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:Were you careful to avoid other sources of sodium aside from just milk? (Apparently at the highest levels, certain brands of toothpaste are avoided due to their sodium content.)


Yes, I didn't salt any of my food and pretty much all of it was prepared freshly by me. However, as I said, it's anecdotal evidence - I can't prove it, and people should try for themselves if it's not much trouble.
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Idetuxs
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Re: So how hard is it to keep abs anyways?

Postby Idetuxs » Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:28 am UTC

Laserdan wrote:If you want abs that are ripped and very visible even when not flexing, you're in for a lot of no-fun stuff. I kept it up for about 3 years and stopped then. Even a couple of days without iron-clad discipline (especially eating) can ruin it and you need a couple of days to go back. We're talking ~9% body fat here. It looks great (and, at least for me, I felt like, super sexy on the beach) but it's almost a full time job to keep your body there; my natural body fat is more around 18% - 20% and it's ridiculous how your body grasps everything it can to not go below that set point.

Chicken breast and tuna in water (avoid Casein-containing stuff like milk) pretty much every day was the regime, and though I actually love to eat both pure and as bought (maybe some pepper), it really makes you crave some gelato. Working out abs after every training session (be it cardio or weight training) was, imho, also important. And mind you, I have naturally very well developed abs. I can't begin to understand how somebody who has a harder time with that can muster enough discipline to keep it up.

I'm trying to go 12% over the summer, hopefully keeping it at about 12% to 15% for the long term.

PS: Counting kcal is quite important. I use Kaloma for that, it's free and comes with a huge database of foods, let's you keep diaries and report progress with graphs.

PPS: Keep in mind that no matter how hard you work out, how unbreakable your discipline is, you might not end up with classical abs because many people don't actually have 6 discernable packets. Some have none at all (a training partner I used to train with had 6.5% body fat and though his belly was rock hard all the way, it was just one big flat pack with slight indentation where the vertical line is. It's just genetic lottery.


+Informative. That was helpful for me, I'm going for it in a couple of months.

slightlydead wrote:After like half a year of a low carb, high fat diet, IF and exercise, it seems like I've got abs now. The question is how long am I actually going to keep them there for and whether or not it's worth it. Abs has never been my goal, I hate cardio and I've always wanted to bulk up, but during these last few weeks I've been eating too little because of school and as a result I look at the mirror and I see a lot of my belly fat has disappeared.

I've always thought, to gain mass you need caloric excess so I always load up on the milk+ meat. This runs counter to what people do for abs it seems and well I don't want to change my lifestyle for something that I'm not seeing much use for at the moment. Sure it looks nice in the mirror, but how often am I going to take my shirt off? Does anyone have experiences with keeping abs? Is it worth it or should I just take a picture right now, guzzle down some delicious whole milk and wave them away?


First post was on Jun 14, so it would be interesting to know what slightlydead decided to do.

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Laserdan
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Re: So how hard is it to keep abs anyways?

Postby Laserdan » Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:38 pm UTC

Nath wrote:
Jorpho wrote:Were you careful to avoid other sources of sodium aside from just milk? (Apparently at the highest levels, certain brands of toothpaste are avoided due to their sodium content.)

This seems like less of a concern if you don't eat toothpaste.


Didn't see that post. They don't do it to get abs. In pre-competition you really, really try to dehydrate to the max to load on right before the show. That is the reason the pros look so incredibly dry. Ever seen a pro bodybuilder in real life? It looks as if the muscles actually shine through the skin and as if the veins are ready to burst and spurt blood to the other end of town. It's a special technique to draw out all water from the muscles so they're super defined and on the last day, pump that water into the veins. Don't do it. It's dangerous (potentially deadly).

Funny story: one pro bb (Paul Dillett), who is huge, cramped up so hard while posing on a show that he couldn't move out of pose. Three or four people carried this 130, 140 kg giant like a statue, still in his pose because the helpers couldn't unflex his cramping muscles. Some have died of dehydration (though they do use furosemide and shit).

Don't do that.

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