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  1. #1
    Registered User CarliAlice's Avatar
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    Question How long before you start seeing ab definition?

    I've looked for this answer twice but couldn't find it so thought I'd ask....how long before you start seeing ab definition (like a 2 pack)? I'd eventually like a six pack...would settle for a four pack. I'm not sure that I'll genetically be able to get a six pack. Right now I have an empty case .

    I've been training hard since October and I'm not saying I should see that by now but want to understand how long it took others. I just want to be realistic and not wake up and be disappointed when I don't start see one. I'm thinking it might take a year but am hoping to hear something sooner....however will understand if it takes longer.

    I'd especially be interested in hearing from the women who've had children as clearly this makes a difference in our bodies.
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  2. #2
    Registered User smdiskin's Avatar
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    It all depends...
    on
    Body Fat levels.... are they low enough...
    and
    whether ther is any muscle under the body fat to show through...

    How long depends on you current body fat and how much effort you are putting into reducing it and whether there is any muscle to show...
    That last little bit of fat below the navel is one of the hardest to lose for women (and maybe men too... )
    Getting there slowly.... and slowlier

    OK... so all my stats are rubbish at the moment...


    DL - 220lbs.... finally... still aiming for 330....
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  3. #3
    Registered User CarliAlice's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by smdiskin View Post
    It all depends...
    on
    Body Fat levels.... are they low enough...
    and
    whether ther is any muscle under the body fat to show through...

    How long depends on you current body fat and how much effort you are putting into reducing it and whether there is any muscle to show...
    That last little bit of fat below the navel is one of the hardest to lose for women (and maybe men too... )
    I'm working on both...I just started working on the muscle's in the abs more because I am concerned that it's just all empty in there (I've had a hysterectomy and I have a severe hiatal hernia and almost my whole stomach is above my diaphragm. So somehow in my mind I've decided that I need to put on more muscle in the abs since there is nothing back there to hold it out Ha!Ha!)

    Not sure what my body fat percentage is...I do have a handful of fat below my abdomen and so I figuer I'll just keep going until it's not there anymore. Not sure if getting my body fat measured would really motivate me in any way. I'm more defined than I've ever been and had my body fat measured about two years ago when I was close to this and it was 17%. Of course there is the error margin because it was with calipers but I used to have it measured regularly. And I know that I am smaller and more "cut" (if you can call it that) than I was then.

    Sorry, I’m a talker
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  4. #4
    Registered User Amanda76's Avatar
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    Everybody has a six pack. If you can't see it, it's because it's covered in fat.

    I have a 15 year old daughter and have always been a "skinnyfat" person (small but soft...nowhere near having a 6 pack). I've never focused on getting super lean (would probably have better showing abs faster if I had), but have always focused on maintaining mass when I lean up for vanity's sake over the warmer months. I've had people ask what I do for abs since after the first year I started to really focus on lifting over watching my weight/size (2005-ish). It was a couple of years (2007) before I could get a picture of my abs starting to look nice, though. It wasn't until last summer (2009) that athletic men started comparing their abs to mine. More people asked about how I work my abs at 125-ish pounds than 110! So overall lean body mass makes a huge difference in ability to get bodyfat low enough for abs to show.

    Ab development in and of itself helps as well, of course. I personally don't work abs very regularly, but they'll get sore when I move up in weight/reps with squats and deads. As I got better at chins, pullups and pushups, I could feel them being challenged a bit stabilizing as well. I do have favorite ab exercises (hanging leg raises, ball leg raises, ab wheel, SLOW DB pullover crunches, floor windshield wipers), but I do them extremely infrequently.

    If you look at my pics, ab development for me started with that middle line and obliques starting to show, and then the faintest hint of the "blocks" starting to come in. Nutrition is everything in getting them to stick around once they start to show, though. Not only does your bodyfat have to be on the lower-side, but you have to be eating things that don't make you bloat, small enough meals that your belly doesn't pop out, stay hydrated and so forth to get them to show more often than not. All habits you can form as you continue to lean up.
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  5. #5
    Registered User krazy_kurly's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Amanda76 View Post
    Everybody has a six pack. If you can't see it, it's because it's covered in fat.
    .
    Some people don't! I know a couple of gals who've competed and at their leanest they didn't have the horizontal striations, just the vertical. Although some lucky people have 8-packs! But yeah, everyone's capable of getting a toned, flat, flab-free tummy I've only ever had abs once, and I was sick, so I'm waiting for my healthy abs to appear. Getting there CarliAlice, hang in there and keep kicking butt, you'll get them
    The vision of a champion is someone drenched in sweat, bent over from exhaustion, when no one else is watching. ~Anson Dorrance
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  6. #6
    Registered User CarliAlice's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Amanda76 View Post
    Everybody has a six pack. If you can't see it, it's because it's covered in fat.

    I I've had people ask what I do for abs since after the first year I started to really focus on lifting over watching my weight/size (2005-ish). It was a couple of years (2007) before I could get a picture of my abs starting to look nice, though. It wasn't until last summer (2009) that athletic men started comparing their abs to mine. More people asked about how I work my abs at 125-ish pounds than 110! So overall lean body mass makes a huge difference in ability to get bodyfat low enough for abs to show.

    Thank you so much Amanda! This was very helpful...as well as your progress pics. I guess I'll keep going trying to get leaner and work on my ab muscles (I only recently started putting work into it) and maybe in a year or two I'll get to what I'm looking for. Great abs!
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  7. #7
    Registered User justass's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by krazy_kurly View Post
    Some people don't! I know a couple of gals who've competed and at their leanest they didn't have the horizontal striations, just the vertical. Although some lucky people have 8-packs! But yeah, everyone's capable of getting a toned, flat, flab-free tummy I've only ever had abs once, and I was sick, so I'm waiting for my healthy abs to appear. Getting there CarliAlice, hang in there and keep kicking butt, you'll get them
    They are still there. The muscle may be slightly underdeveloped so even when lean the sections aren't standing up quite well enough to see them, but if you had no rectus abdominus (it's actually one muscle) then you wouldn't be able to articulate your spine forward.

    In addition to the factors listed above, how much they show at a certain body fat level is somewhat dependent on genetics, too (people carry their body fat in different places). I can get the top four "blocks" to show at about 18%, but my ass and legs are still pretty chubby in that range.

    Now that I'm keeping my bf% a little higher for football there's no chance for abs. I used to have 6 that showed...now I just have one big one from my sternum to my pelvis.
    Last edited by justass; 03-11-2010 at 08:00 AM.
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  8. #8
    Registered User CarliAlice's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by justass View Post

    In addition to the factors listed above, how much they show at a certain body fat level is somewhat dependent on genetics, too (people carry their body fat in different places). I can get the top four "blocks" to show at about 18%, but my ass and legs are still pretty chubby in that range.
    This is not the first time I've seen someone say that they've had a higher bf% and still could see abs. So it sounds like I need to focus equal amounts of time/effort into building the ab muscles and leaning out. I've only recently incorporated things like hanging leg raises and am starting to add weight to crunches and such (I work out at home so cable crunches are not an option). Would you all agree with that?

    As far as the genetics part...I really don't know because I've never had abs before. My dad was always ripped with very little effort on his part but my mom and her mom are both obese. So I feel like I won't know the answer for two more years!
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  9. #9
    Registered User Amanda76's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by krazy_kurly View Post
    Some people don't! I know a couple of gals who've competed and at their leanest they didn't have the horizontal striations, just the vertical. Although some lucky people have 8-packs! But yeah, everyone's capable of getting a toned, flat, flab-free tummy I've only ever had abs once, and I was sick, so I'm waiting for my healthy abs to appear. Getting there CarliAlice, hang in there and keep kicking butt, you'll get them
    Maybe I should rephrase that as everyone has the Rectus Abdominus underneath it all? I think justass clarified for me though.

    Originally Posted by CarliAlice View Post
    Thank you so much Amanda! This was very helpful...as well as your progress pics. I guess I'll keep going trying to get leaner and work on my ab muscles (I only recently started putting work into it) and maybe in a year or two I'll get to what I'm looking for. Great abs!
    Thanks...like I said, I'll need to get a bit leaner before having a hardcore six pack but the pictures show improvement just from the improvement in overall body composition (minus the pics of me being too skinny, I'm about 125 pounds in all the progress images from year to year).

    Originally Posted by CarliAlice View Post
    This is not the first time I've seen someone say that they've had a higher bf% and still could see abs. So it sounds like I need to focus equal amounts of time/effort into building the ab muscles and leaning out. I've only recently incorporated things like hanging leg raises and am starting to add weight to crunches and such (I work out at home so cable crunches are not an option). Would you all agree with that?

    As far as the genetics part...I really don't know because I've never had abs before. My dad was always ripped with very little effort on his part but my mom and her mom are both obese. So I feel like I won't know the answer for two more years!
    I wouldn't consider 18% to be "higher" bodyfat. It's actually on the lower side for a woman (who at an average body composition at a healthy weight would be hovering around 23%) and is considered within the "athletic" range. I'd estimate myself to be around 18% bodyfat in my avitar picture and pics from summer 2008.
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  10. #10
    Registered User CarliAlice's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Amanda76 View Post



    I wouldn't consider 18% to be "higher" bodyfat. It's actually on the lower side for a woman (who at an average body composition at a healthy weight would be hovering around 23%) and is considered within the "athletic" range. I'd estimate myself to be around 18% bodyfat in my avitar picture and pics from summer 2008.

    Oops! I didn't mean that the way it sounded. I've just always read that you can't see a women's abs until they are at or below 13%....but I'm hearing from some folks that this is not necessarily true.
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  11. #11
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    I hate to admit it, but I really love these threads. I get this little glimmer of hope after hearing everyones stories and hope that maybe someday I will have some semblance of "abs" too.
    Hard work = Hard body.
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  12. #12
    Registered User CarliAlice's Avatar
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    Need to be patient

    Ok...so I did a little "research" this morning and reviewed progress pics on bb.com from women who took from the start of their journey until now. It looks like the average to for most of them to get their abs the way I would want mine is about two years. I am the most impatient person in the world so this is a bit discouraging. On the other hand, it is encouraging because I now understand that maybe I'm not as far behind in my progress as I think I am.

    I'm taking new progress pics this weekend (I'm going to a once a month progress pic) so we'll see if I've done anything. I don't see much if any change in the mirror (except my back) but a pic will help tell the difference.

    Thanks to everyone who answered. They were all very helpful.
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by justass View Post

    In addition to the factors listed above, how much they show at a certain body fat level is somewhat dependent on genetics, too (people carry their body fat in different places). I can get the top four "blocks" to show at about 18%, but my ass and legs are still pretty chubby in that range.
    I'm similar, I would guess I'm at 20-22% BF right now and I can see the upper 4 ab sections and I have decent oblique definition. From the hips up actually I have kind of a soft muscle definition, but my lower body is mushy. Yay for my Sicilian booty!
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  14. #14
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    Originally Posted by CarliAlice View Post
    Oops! I didn't mean that the way it sounded. I've just always read that you can't see a women's abs until they are at or below 13%....but I'm hearing from some folks that this is not necessarily true.
    I didn't think you meant that negatively. A lot of women come in here with an unrealistic view of what "lean" is and how lean they are (methods typically used to measure bodyfat are normally way off).

    Originally Posted by Glamorous View Post
    I hate to admit it, but I really love these threads. I get this little glimmer of hope after hearing everyones stories and hope that maybe someday I will have some semblance of "abs" too.
    There are a lucky few, but abs take work for most people. All you have to do is look around to see that. What makes things especially difficult is that most products marketed toward getting abs to show act like you can start from about anywhere and have them in 1-3 months (small print = results not typical). No wonder people give up when they're mentally set up to fail like that.

    Originally Posted by CarliAlice View Post
    Ok...so I did a little "research" this morning and reviewed progress pics on bb.com from women who took from the start of their journey until now. It looks like the average to for most of them to get their abs the way I would want mine is about two years. I am the most impatient person in the world so this is a bit discouraging. On the other hand, it is encouraging because I now understand that maybe I'm not as far behind in my progress as I think I am.

    I'm taking new progress pics this weekend (I'm going to a once a month progress pic) so we'll see if I've done anything. I don't see much if any change in the mirror (except my back) but a pic will help tell the difference.

    Thanks to everyone who answered. They were all very helpful.
    You planning on your life ending in the next couple of years or something? You'll have plenty of time to enjoy your abs once you have them. Meanwhile, focus on your overall fitness lifestyle instead of getting hung up on what one bodypart looks like. Be consistant in improving some aspect of your health and fitness as a LIFE GOAL and your abs will improve along with the rest of you.
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    My abs show when I get around 12%. Other then that, I have to flex them in order to see them.
    www.iron-kim.com
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  16. #16
    Registered User CarliAlice's Avatar
    Join Date: Dec 2009
    Location: Union, Missouri, United States
    Age: 44
    Stats: 4'10", 103 lbs
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    Originally Posted by Amanda76 View Post
    I
    You planning on your life ending in the next couple of years or something? You'll have plenty of time to enjoy your abs once you have them.
    I'm at work and feeling crappy (actually getting ready to go to the doctor). This made me laugh! No..it is not in my actual plan at this point !
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