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  1. #1
    Registered User jaywolves90's Avatar
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    Abs while gaining muscle? Help please

    Hi guys

    Just wanted a bit of advice please as ive read so many different things.

    Ive recently staryed gym and my goal over the next 6 months or so is to gain and show more muscle aswell as showing my abs and not a belly.

    Im 160 pounds, 5 foot 10. Not sure what my belly fat is at the min but i can see my abs slightly when i tense my stomach.

    Ive worked out that i need around 2400 calories a day to MAINTAIN my current weight.

    My question is, if i add 200 or 300 calories onto this total would it still be possible to get my abs to show through while gaining muscle mass?

    Everywhere i have read says to reduce the calories for abs to show but surely then id also lose weight and muscle mass?

    Or is it possible to continue to just keep taking my maintanence calories and gain both muscle mass and abs?

    Btw im not looking to get massive or rock hard abs, i just want to be able to see i have muscle and look toned

    Any help is much appreciated
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  2. #2
    GOT LEGS? 1MANU's Avatar
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    Too many factors to consider. Whether your abs will show or not during a surplus will be primarily genetic.

    You can control somewhat by doing a small surplus. If gaining mass, maintaining abs should last on your list.
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  3. #3
    Registered User jaywolves90's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 1MANU View Post
    Too many factors to consider. Whether your abs will show or not during a surplus will be primarily genetic.

    You can control somewhat by doing a small surplus. If gaining mass, maintaining abs should last on your list.


    Thanks for the reply. At the moment i would rather make my abs show through more than gain muscle mass. Just slightly toning my biceps, chest etc while trying to get abs is my ideal goal.

    Im just confused on wether i would still need to lower my calories to achieve this as i dont want to lose any weight in the process
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    GOT LEGS? 1MANU's Avatar
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    Yes, you will need to reduce calories to make your abs more prominent.

    Being that you are 5ft 10in and 160lbs, how much do you have to cut from? What is your base? Post a pic.

    You plan on going into the 150s just for abs?
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    Registered User jaywolves90's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 1MANU View Post
    Yes, you will need to reduce calories to make your abs more prominent.

    Being that you are 5ft 10in and 160lbs, how much do you have to cut from? What is your base? Post a pic.

    You plan on going into the 150s just for abs?

    Ah i didnt think of it that way. So you would suggest me to say go a few hundred calories above my maintanence weight for a few months at least before thinking about abs?

    Is it possible to have extra calories but without putting extra belly fat on?
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    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jaywolves90 View Post
    Ah i didnt think of it that way. So you would suggest me to say go a few hundred calories above my maintanence weight for a few months at least before thinking about abs?

    Is it possible to have extra calories but without putting extra belly fat on?
    Trying to gain muscle for a few months is pretty pointless... you'll just have to cut after that anyway.

    You'll end up looking better overall if you focus on gaining muscle.

    Abs may become more visible simply due to having more core muscle tone, but you're not going to lose actual bodyfat if you're in a surplus.
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Pick one endeavor and stick with it. Gain some mass and focus on that. Several months. In order to make appreciable gains you will likely put on some fat. Who cares. It is temporary and once you cut you will have an improved physique to reveal WITH DEFINED ABS.
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    Trying to gain muscle for a few months is pretty pointless... you'll just have to cut after that anyway.

    You'll end up looking better overall if you focus on gaining muscle.

    Abs may become more visible simply due to having more core muscle tone, but you're not going to lose actual bodyfat if you're in a surplus.

    To be fair the goal i had pictured in my head would to be of similar build/tone to your current profile picture.

    I just worked out my current body fat is 12%

    If i were to stick to maintenance calories for a few months would my abs start to show through? Or would i need a calorie defecit to lower my body fat percentage even more
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    Originally Posted by jaywolves90 View Post
    To be fair the goal i had pictured in my head would to be of similar build/tone to your current profile picture.

    I just worked out my current body fat is 12%

    If i were to stick to maintenance calories for a few months would my abs start to show through? Or would i need a calorie defecit to lower my body fat percentage even more
    uh, im underweight and recovering from an eating disorder...

    might wanna shoot for something different.
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Harsh Truth Distributor xsquid99's Avatar
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    You can get bigger or you can get leaner, but you can't get bigger and get leaner at the same time. Don't chase abs at the expense of gaining muscle everywhere else.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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  11. #11
    Registered User jaywolves90's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by xsquid99 View Post
    You can get bigger or you can get leaner, but you can't get bigger and get leaner at the same time. Don't chase abs at the expense of gaining muscle everywhere else.

    Would it be possible to get leaner while staying roughly the same weight and eating my maintanence calories? My body fat is around 12%

    Or would i definitely have to lower my calories
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    I gained muscle and improved the visibility of my abs over he course of 2019. Just stayed the same weight and worked out a lot.
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    pay the iron price SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    OP, this sounds like the typical pattern of a guy who comes back after 6 months or a year having not achieved anything.

    If you try to shortcut the process, you will just end up getting nowhere. Just to re-iterate what was said above, pick one of the following:
    1- getting more muscular while maintaining bodyfat (it may creep up, this is hard to avoid completely)
    2- lose fat at the expense of building any muscle (if you haven't already built muscle, you may not achieve any definition)
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    Registered User jaywolves90's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Kewbrah View Post
    I gained muscle and improved the visibility of my abs over he course of 2019. Just stayed the same weight and worked out a lot.
    Cool. For example if i slightly upped my calories by 200 a day for lets say 4 months and gained 10lbs. If my body fat went higher than the 12% it is now wouldnt i lose all that 10lbs ive put on while trying to tone up for say 1 month
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    OP, this sounds like the typical pattern of a guy who comes back after 6 months or a year having not achieved anything.

    If you try to shortcut the process, you will just end up getting nowhere. Just to re-iterate what was said above, pick one of the following:
    1- getting more muscular while maintaining bodyfat (it may creep up, this is hard to avoid completely)
    2- lose fat at the expense of building any muscle (if you haven't already built muscle, you may not achieve any definition)

    If i was to aim to get more muscular and maintain body fat. If for example i increased my cals to 200 above my maintanence for lets say 4 months and i gained 10lbs. If my body fat went above the 12% it is now would you say just keep going or to lower my calories for a month to lower the body fat?
    If i did lower the calories wouldnt i just lose most of the 10lbs i have put on?
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    Originally Posted by jaywolves90 View Post
    If i was to aim to get more muscular and maintain body fat. If for example i increased my cals to 200 above my maintanence for lets say 4 months and i gained 10lbs. If my body fat went above the 12% it is now would you say just keep going or to lower my calories for a month to lower the body fat?
    If i did lower the calories wouldnt i just lose most of the 10lbs i have put on?
    If you're in a caloric surplus and lifting with progressive overload you will gain muscle AND fat both, that's unavoidable.

    If you're in a caloric deficit and keep lifting thats how you reduce fat while generally keeping the muscle that you have. Building muscle is possible in a small deficit (recomposition), but this is usually more the case with brand new lifters and people with higher bodyfat that is used to fuel the muscle growth.

    If you're eating at maintenance and lifting (your weight remains the same), sure you might see some level of recomposition (fat loss and muscle gain), but more often times than not people end up just spinning their wheels doing this as it is extremely time consuming and a slow process.

    People have this strange fascination with abs way too early in their lifting careers and sacrifice lots of muscle gain at the expense of chasing abs, putting themselves in a cycle of not building muscle because they're constantly trying to cut down too quickly. Most of the guys in my gym that have abs are so skinny and built like women because of this...
    Last edited by xsquid99; 01-14-2020 at 02:50 PM.
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    Originally Posted by xsquid99 View Post
    If you're in a caloric surplus and lifting with progressive overload you will gain muscle AND fat both, that's unavoidable.

    If you're in a caloric deficit and keep lifting thats how you reduce fat while generally keeping the muscle that you have. Building muscle is possible in a small deficit (recomposition), but this is usually more the case with brand new lifters and people with higher bodyfat that is used to fuel the muscle growth.

    If you're eating at maintenance and lifting (your weight remains the same), sure you might see some level of recomposition (fat loss and muscle gain), but more often times than not people end up just spinning their wheels doing this as it is extremely time consuming and a slow process.

    People have this strange fascination with abs way too early in their lifting careers and sacrifice lots of muscle gain at the expense of chasing abs, putting themselves in a cycle of not building muscle because they're constantly trying to cut down too quickly. Most of the guys in my gym that have abs are so skinny and built like women because of this...


    Ah i see, so probably the best thing for me would be to eat clean food and about 250 calories above my maintanence for several months to gain muscle and then decide wether i want to keep going with the calorie surplus or cut down to get my body fat down?
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  18. #18
    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jaywolves90 View Post
    Ah i see, so probably the best thing for me would be to eat clean food and about 250 calories above my maintanence for several months to gain muscle and then decide wether i want to keep going with the calorie surplus or cut down to get my body fat down?
    Your food can be as 'clean' as you feel like....
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    A lot of talking, zero pictures.

    Without having seen pictures, at 5'10 160 pounds you're probably better off thinking about gaining muscle than about getting abs.

    Do you have any pictures? Upload them to your body space.

    What are your lifts? Bench squat etc
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    Stick with gaining muscle first along with weight for a long period of time and the abs will come in once you cut as long as you continue to have ab workouts as a staple within your regime even while bulking
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