The rectus abdominis; the muscle that makes the stomach look defined as hell, is typically covered by fat (because that’s how humans are made) and isn’t affected by things like crunches and planks. “You can work your abs all you want, but if you have a layer of fat over them, the ‘pack’ can’t be seen,” Ball says. And FWIW, that’s not a bad thing or something to feel bad about. “It’s very unrealistic for most people to have body fat percentages low enough to see the abs.”

So, no, the odds are not in your favor, but you can work toward a more defined midsection by developing core strength and reducing overall body fat. Although everyone responds differently to diet and exercise — and you should consult with a healthcare provider before changing things up — here are the lifestyle tips that have worked for three trainers who have particularly chiseled abs:

Lift heavy weights. Gozo says she strength trains at least four days a week to increase overall muscle mass, and focuses on full-body moves. “Building muscle helps you burn calories more efficiently, resulting in more abs definition,” says Gozo. And, since lifting sessions also raise your heart rate, they can double as cardio, she says.

Eat carbs. Though protein is a big part of her diet, Gozo says she doesn’t shy away from carbohydrate-packed foods like fruit, rice, and other whole grains. That’s because these foods are also rich sources of fiber, which aid in digestion and reduce bloating.

Don’t follow a restrictive diet. Though her meal plan is a bit involved, Victoria says she follows the 80/20 rule, meaning 80 percent of the foods she eats are from non-processed plant and animal sources, and 20 percent are more indulgent. This is a trick many nutritionists use to teach their patients moderation.

Don’t worry about big vs. small meals. Though many trainers say their abs are a result of eating small frequent meals, Anna says she doesn’t stick to a certain number of them per day. “At the end of the day, the total calories you consume and the macronutrient content are what matter,” she says.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.