Most people don't believe that they can have abs at higher body fat levels. This is simply not true and the myth needs to be dispelled in this article.
Whenever we think of abs, usually only one picture pops into our mind. That picture is of a highly shredded individual with very low body fat. This image that’s present in all of our minds hasn’t come from our own imagination. When I was a kid, I used to consume all sorts of content in the form of movies, cartoons, and comics where all the heroes had that iconic six-pack with broad shoulders and tiny waistlines.
People have come to associate abs with only the shredded gym bros because they’ve been fed that information. The reality is quite different and also quite simple if one takes the time to study and learn more about the body. Many people are surprised when they see a strongmen-like physique with a nice stack of abs despite having higher body fat. In this article, we’re going to settle the debate so that you don’t have any misconceptions about the most sought-after muscle group- the abs.
What are Abs?
The abdominal muscles. commonly known as abs among the masses are a crucial group of muscles for our survival. No, not only in the sense of attracting a potential mate but also to keep our internal organs in place. The thing with a six-pack is that everyone has it but only a few people are able to show it off.
Not everyone can walk around with a washboard for a stomach because of two reasons. The entire equation of bringing out your abs depends on two variables and we’ll understand how they affect us in detail:
This is the part that most people are usually familiar with, because of half-baked knowledge being served all over the internet and media. Getting rid of excess fat is only one-half of the entire equation and it’s not necessary for you to reach single-digit body-fat numbers. People have and people will always be able to make their abs show through even with a 15% body-fat content.
Most fitness newbies and the non-exercising population think of abs as a snowflake that suddenly grows out of your belly button. Abs aren’t that precious, in fact, all of us have a set of abs. Just like any other muscle, abs are also able to grow in size when you exercise them. If your abs are extremely well-developed due to exercising, you won’t have a problem making them pop out through the thick layer of fat.
Does Cutting Help Bring Out the Abs?
As we already discussed above, cutting is only one way to show your abs. For most people, this is a much better option because not everyone has well-defined abs to show through fat. Most people have a relatively undertrained set of abs which will show much easier when fat is shed.
However, if you’re from the extremely tiny minority of people who have Bear-Bods, you can start directly by training your abs instead of losing fat. Even though the abs will show because of their humongous size and definition, you’ll still look bloated with all that fat.
The best approach is to moderate everything and maintain a balanced approach. This is why it’s usually recommended to work your abs while reducing your caloric consumption. This strategy works well for all the different body types as you’re essentially building your abs while cutting out the fat.
Will I Have to Keep Cutting Forever?
Many people are worried if they’ll have to cut for extended durations of time as they’re afraid of losing their gains. According to most people who’ve cut for long durations in the past, you only start losing a significant amount of muscle mass if you stop exercising and cut for more than a couple of months.
What you can do instead is alternate between periods of gaining and periods of cutting, all the while maintaining your abs exercise routine. Once you reach a certain body fat target, you can stop cutting and focus on your strength gains once again. No matter whether you have a gym membership or a home gym, you can do ab exercises everywhere. The convenience of a home gym, however, allows you to work out more frequently rather than heavily, which helps greatly with developing abdominal muscles.
Can I Have Abs if I’m Not Skinny?
Let’s dispel a few misconceptions before we answer this question. Your abs are basically a group of muscles that work together to help you perform even the most basic functions. Most people misunderstand that abs are only one muscle and they can grow it with any exercise.
Actually, our abdominals are made of five different muscles including the Obliques (External and Internal), Pyramidalis, and Abdominis (Rectus and Transversus). If you want to achieve a visually pleasing set of abs that pops out from even a thick layer of fat, you need to develop them holistically. Try to incorporate variety into your exercises and you’ll be able to hot all the target areas in a single workout.
If you’re able to condition and grow your abs more than an average Joe, you’ll be able to make your abs pop out despite all the fat. Keep in mind that you might have to flex much more to show those abs than someone within a low body fat range.
We just thoroughly discussed how you can have abs even if you’re plus-sized because at the end of the day, it’s all just human anatomy and the human body is nothing if not adaptable. You might have your reasons to not want to cut and focus on growing your abs alone, however, do remember that cutting is a much more optimal approach that will not only save your time but also improve your physical health by controlling your body fat content.