How do you have visible abdominal muscles?
How do you have well-defined abdominal muscles? We must first understand that there are two main factors that prevail: the size of the muscle but also and above all the rate of fat mass. For both of these factors, mistakes are sometimes made. We will try to explain to you how it all works.
Big muscle size but high fat mass rate
As you can see in this picture, the muscle is present but it is hidden by a large reserve of fat cells. Depending on the phenotypes and genetics of each individual, we store fats (adipocytes) in different places in the body. For many of us, the abdomen is the primary storage site for these fat cells.
Therefore, diet is very important to get clear abdominal muscles.
How do you reduce body fat percentage?
Inverse the ratio "calories in - calories out"
The body works logically. If you ask him to store a lot and your energy expenditure is not too high (lack of physical activity), your body fat will increase.
How do you do that? Eat a reasonable amount while limiting sugars and fats as much as possible and at the same time engage in significant and regular physical activity (at least 3 hours per week) by alternating effort in HIIT (high intensity interval training) and endurance efforts (running and cycling), elliptical trainer, swimming rowing machine, etc.).
Fasting (also called intermittent fasting)
This eating habit consists in not forming new energy reserves for 16 consecutive hours.
For example, eat your last meal of the day at 4 p.m. (a snack) and then eat nothing until 8 a.m. the next morning. Fasting appears to improve our metabolism. It can be advised to improve weight loss but also to maintain good general health.
As we said before, you will need to limit foods that are high in carbohydrates and fats. On the contrary, promote vegetables, white meat, seeds, nuts, etc.
Decreased muscle size and lower body fat percentage
In this photo, the model appears to have a low fat mass (certainly around 8-10%) but the volume of the abdominal muscles is not very important.
Note that the muscle shape is still more prominent than in the previous example. So it appears that the "fat mass" factor is particularly important.
What mistake do those who exercise their abs regularly but without an effective increase in size often make?
We've explained this in an article dedicated to Basic Principles of Gaining Muscle Mass Gaining (Basic Link to Muscle Gaining Principles): Exercises must lead to a slow contraction of 80% of your maximum muscular strength (RM) to produce effective muscle hypertrophy.
In practice, if you perform sets of 100 abdominal muscles, the muscle contraction is necessarily much less than 80%! You then do an effective job of improving the endurance of your abdominal muscles, but you do little work in treating the hypertrophy.
If your goal is to increase muscle size, you will need to change the way you train your abs. The series should be shorter (8 to 10 repetitions) but the intensity of the contraction should be greater so that the last repetitions are difficult to achieve.
Great muscle size and low fat mass
Unsurprisingly, the combination of the two key factors will be crucial.
Work out your muscles effectively, at least 3 times a week. In parallel, practice regular physical efforts to promote lipolysis: effort in HIIT and pure endurance efforts.
Finally, adjust your eating habits to limit excess fat storage.