I hear it all the time — “Coach Wayne, I’ve lost a lot of body fat everywhere except the lower abs. What do I need to do to get rid of that stubborn belly fat?” They want the washboard abs!
Believe me, we ALL want them. That’s what sells! 90% of those gimmicky infomercials you see on TV are selling some sort of machine to give us the abs we’ve always wanted. But guess what? You can do ab exercises till the cows come home, but if your awesome washboard is covered with fat, it won’t look any different!!
And how do you get rid of that “stubborn belly fat”? The same way you get rid of any fat — NUTRITION!!! That’s right! I’m back to nutrition again! “Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym”. Have you heard that quote? Well, it’s true! Your abs will start to show up once your body fat drops below about 10%, and you will see more and more as the body fat continues to drop. You will go from a KEG to a 2-PACK to a 4-PACK to a 6-PACK, and even the illusive 8-PACK if you get your body fat very low. It’s really that simple! No crazy machines needed.
So in summary, there is no way to “spot lose” body fat — we all have it, we all store it, and some areas of our body store more of it than others. For guys, it’s usually the lower belly, under the belly button and the love handles. For ladies, it’s hips and thighs. So as we lose body fat, those areas are losing as well, but since we have more fat stored there, it will take longer and more body fat loss before those areas look “ideal” to us. And it’s a lot easier to lose the first 2% of body fat than the last 2%, so it will seem harder to get that last bit of fat to melt off than it was when you first started losing body fat. But it can be done. It just takes 100% dedication to the Ab Belt (haha just kidding — making sure you are still reading!). It takes 100% dedication to the NUTRITION! Lower body fat means you can see the underlying muscles better. If you want to see your abs, you MUST be very committed to the nutrition because that’s the only way to get your body fat down to the elite level where abs pop out!
And of course I must also remind you that it’s still very important to work the abs and core muscles as part of your workout routine, because core strength is the key to balance and control while doing other lifts / movements. So don’t think you can just skip that Ab Ripper X or Cardio Abs in exchange for skipping a meal!
How often should you workout the abs? This is a GREAT question, and I’m asked it quite often. I think Tony Horton nailed the answer to this question on his 1-on-1 video called “Killer Abs”. In that video, Tony is asked by Mason (his cameraman):
Mason: “How often should you do an ab workout like this?”
Tony: “Once or twice per week. That’s all you need.”
Mason then responds with a quesion: “You don’t need to do abs every day?”
Tony: “That’s stupid! Do you do chest every day? Do you do back every day? Do you do calves every day? NO, NO, NO! So why would you do abs every day!”
Mason: “Well, I shower every day!”
Tony: “Thank God!” … and then he proceeds to begin the second half of the Killer Ab workout!
Classic! It leaves me laughing out loud every time!
That conversation pops into my mind every time I am asked about how often to do ab workouts, and it’s PERFECTLY TRUE!! Plan on 2-3 ab days per week. No more, no less. More is overkill and won’t give you better results. Less will lead to a weak core.
I love how Tony makes things simple for us … and funny too!
I would like to get my abs more defied.. Also my ab workouts are getting easy ,, If i add weights (ankly) to my ab workouts will that help my abs bigger??/
Max, if you want your abs more defined, lose more BF. BF is what really controls your abs. As for their strength and endurance, you can definitely add weights! Like any workout, keep pushing it.
tx for the reply coach,
Im with in 1% of my body fat goal !! a lot of hard work but DEF. worth it !!
I was just trying to see if I can make my abs bigger by adding weights to have them bulge out a little more??
I am about 8% body fat after doing a body fat calculation. I am currenlty on the fat shredder plan and on a deficit. Unfortunatelly I still have that stubborn belly fat around the belly botton area but I do have a 4 pack if i flex.
Do you think i should now go to energy booster and go to a maintanace calorie goal since I am 2%with in my goal. Or energy booster with a deficit?
Joe, nice work man! I would start going to 40/40/20 and inching up to your maintenance. It will take you a few weeks to bring your calories up. You can stay at a slight deficit if you want to lose BF a little faster, but you will love the extra energy from more fuel and carbs! Check out: http://teamripped.com/finding-your-maintenance-calorie-needs/
tx for the reply coach. Hopefully the last 2% that will be lost will come around my lower belly. Its amazing how everyone's body is dfferent. I am at 8% body fat, which I know is a big accomplishment from the 20% I was at, but the lower belly fat is so stubborn.
This is why I am tempted to stay on a deficit to see if that'll be the way to lose the lower belly fat.
Any other thoughts on staying on a deficit on the fat shredder or energy booster, even if your close to your goal, to try and lose the lower belly fat??
Joe, just normally your energy levels really start to tank and your workouts suffer. If you still have enough energy to push hard, you can stay at your deficit. Don't be scared of moving up though. You've earned it.
Lately I have been getting tired earlier in the day than before. I used to get tired around 9:30pm now its around 6pm.. I'll take that as a sign to move up to energy booster and also start upping the calories.
Truth be tolled that I am a little worried to move up just because of the fact that I want to lose this subborn belly fat..
Joe, make sure to check out: http://teamripped.com/finding-your-maintenance-calorie-needs/
I am currently 165lbs at a 9% body fat and my goal is to be at 7%. After using the pinch method and also the Jackson/Pollack 3 to measure my body fat, I am with in 2% of my body fat goal (give or take for error) . I am on a calorie intake of 1900-2000 on 50/30/20 split and doing insanity/p90x hybrid.
If I currently lean back and flex I can def. see a 4 pack. However I still have the stubborn belly fat that does not expose the 6 pack. Also, if I do not flex the 4 pack is not shown.
My ultimate goal is to start gaining the lean muscle and get back to about 180lbs.
Can you help me with 2 questions?
,1. Would you recommend still being on my 1900-2000 fat shredder plan since I'm with in my 2% goal or start raising the calories on a 200 calories block going to a 40/40/20 split??
2. Is it possible to be at a 6 % body fat % and not have defined abs/ 6 pack??
Thanks for the inspiration Coach !!
David, if your energy levels are fine, I would stick with FS and your current deficit. That will give you the best fat loss. It really depends on the structure of your abs. You will definitely be more defined at 6% but without flexing most people's abs don't show as well. If you have naturally bigger/bulgier abs that helps.Also, some people only have a 4 pack. It depends on the structure of the ligaments that are what are separating your abs. Some guys have a very flat lower ab region and will not have a clear distinct 6 pack.
I am 5ft 9 and 169lbs.. I havent achieved the 6 pack yet. But if I flex I can see the 2 pack and a little of the 4 pack. And the lower stuborn belly fat is stil there. I am about to do aP90X/INSANITY Hybrid. I would like to gain mass and still try and get the 6 pack.
What are your thought on eating a 2400 -2800 calorie diet but on the Fat Shredder Diet in achieving my goal???\
Thank you in advance.
Pete, as soon as you move into a surplus, you will stop losing BF. You have to be at a deficit or at most maintenance to lose BF. If you try to lose fat on maintenance, be aware that is a SLOW process. I would stick with your deficit and get to your BF goal the fastest. Then switch to maintenance and work on added calories and mass.
Tx for the reply Coach... What do you think of running a deficit on the energy booster as oppose to fat shredder? Would that also lead to losing the BF?
Pete, that would be fine. I would shoot for around a 600-800 calorie deficit (to still keep protein up at 40/40/20). As long as you are at a deficit, you'll lose BF. And as long as you have enough protein, you'll maintain/build musle with your lifting.
It just get a little frusturating when your dialing in the nutrition and "bring it everyday" and the bottom belly doesnt want to go away which gives you the great results that we all work hard for.
With that said with me weighing 169lbs, do you think I should be on 1900 calorie plan or 2400 calorie plan like P90X nutrition guide recommends?? I am currently doing the p90x/insanity hybrid
Pete, use www.teamripped.com/calorie-calculator to find a target calorie goal. Use that 600-800 calorie deficit. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither are our bodies. Stick with it and be consistent!
hey wayne my name is will im 15 and a freshmen. what foods should i eat if i want to get rid of the lower belly fat. im very active but its just that one part i need help on
regards, yall great articles, please direst me where can i find that video mentioned above, 'killer abs' by Tony Horton? thanks in advance, keep bringing it! :)
Hi Coach, Is it okay to stick with the fat shredder diet 50/30/20 (P/C/F ) throughout the whole time doing p90x? On phase 2 and I lost alot of weight but the abs are not fully visble....I want to see my abs first before I move on to the 40/40/20 plan....or even 30/50/20...thoughts? thanks coach!
Dan, that is exactly the right idea. Stay with Fat Shredder until you are satisfied with your BF%. Then you can move to 40/40/20 at the same deficit even and still have great fat loss.
coach wayne i have a question...do you run also while doing p90x??if so how many times a week and do you do it on days where your not doing a leg workout??
No running Michael. I only do one workout a day. If you were going to run, a lot of people add in the morning before their lift days.
Thanks Coach. I will be emailing you Sunday with my round 2, 30 day results and I'll go into more detail about my possible caliper snafu
Coach this may be a dumb question but is it possible to be under 7% body fat and only have a 4 pack? I think I have been using my calipers wrong (thats a story for another day) and I may be a couple of percent lower than I thought. Instead of 9.5 I think I may be closer to 7 but I still have that fat round my belly.
Hey Matt, yes it's possible depending on where you store body fat and the shape of the abs themselves. If you store the most of your body fat in the lower abs and if your abs are relatively flat (little definition) then you'd have to get really low on body fat (5% or so) to see the full 6 pack. I can see my 6 pack at 7% body fat cuz my abs are big in shape (if that makes sense). They aren't flat.
Thank You - I just joined MyFitnessPal and will track my calories over the next 90 days. Looks like I have a target of about 2100 calories a day - I've never done a great job at logging my food, so that may be the real issue. I tend not to vector off my caloric intake during the week but the weekends are not as strict. Thanks again
Hey Coach - I continue to be stuck at a certain weight and I'm not sure what to do. I started P90X almost 2 years ago, doing 2 Classic Rounds, 1 round of P90X Plus and a Hybrid Round. When I started, my weight was 254 and today I weigh 236, so I almost lost 20 pounds! My goal is to get into the mid to low 220's, but can't seem to get there. My diet is good, as I'm taking in 1900-2100 calories a day at a good carb to protein ratio - any suggetions? Additionally, I've added a round of M100's at the end of each weight day (arms, shoulders, back, tris etc) to help with my cardio. Thanks in advance
Hey Scott! Congrats on the progress you've made so far. But are you sure about the calories? It would be impossible for a person to weigh 225 on a 1900 cal diet for long. If you've been at this for 2 years, and you weren't cheating on your diet, a 1900 cal diet would have resulted in a lot more weight loss. Someone your size would need about 3000 cals per day to maintain weight, so I'm left wondering how honest you are being with yourself on nutrition. Are you tracking what you eat every day using MyFitnessPal?
My biggest challenge as I go through the fat shredder phase to get to 8% is the mental aspect of my changes. I see changes in all areas except around my belly and I have to keep telling myself that 13.5% (my current %) is going to look a lot different than 8%. I just need to keep going and get to the 8%.
I was reading Rafael's comments. I think for me, it's genetics. I am down to 5% and I know at that point most people's abs are completely chiseled. Not me. Plus, I actually don't have a 6 pack. I only have a 4 pack and my lower abs are just one solid piece. I have been going crazy over this and asked my girl to measure and re-measure and I even measured myself many times. But I agree with Coach Wayne, it took me longer to go from 8-5 that it did from 15 to 8%.
Coach Wayne, On week 3 of foundation phase, after my hybrid round of p90x/insanity and at 7% bodyfat. I had to take measurements two days in a row, as I didn't believe it. My only issue is the "stubborn belly fat", as my highest mm reading was in abdomen. I can see my abs, but not where I want to be yet, as I want Coach Wayne abs!! At about 163 lbs running fat shredder at about 1700-1900 calories (over 5 months or so) and 1700 on non W.O. days, 1900 on W.O days, to mix up and help confuse my body. I cannot figure out how else to reduce that area, as I think running below those calories will do more harm than good at this point. I know nutrition is key, but any suggestions, as I want to go to building mass soon, but what my bf% to about 5% or so, where my abs should be defined. It amazes me how 9 months ago I would have laughed at tracking calories! Now it is my daily routine. Thanks Coach!!
Hey Rafael, you are doing great! The lower abdomen is where I get the highest readings too, and it's the area I monitor most closely because it's the last to go and the first to come back. I don't think you are doing anything at all wrong. It just takes a LONG time to get the body fat from 7% to 6% (a whole lot longer than it takes to get from 15% to 10% for example). But keep it up! I feel ya! I'm the same way. Remember how my body fat was up after the vegan round. I am still working to get it back down to where I want it :-)
Following your advice about stuburn belly fat, I set myself for a 2000 cal diet and I am tracking what I eat using an iPhone app. Every day I ingest around 1900 calories, but once the app subtracts the Asylum workout calories burned (according to my HRM, 800 to 1400 depending on the workout) I am left with only a few hundred consumed. Is that the way it should work? I also noticed that I am eating more carbs than protein. Should I change that?
Hey Mario, I don't input exercise or factor in extra cals to make up for exercise. And yes, if you are eating more carbs than fats, you are way off on your fat shredder %!!! You want 50% protein and 30% carbs like my sample diets outline.
Hey coach, I'm skinny (in clothes) but I'm soft and I was wondering if I need to do a fat shredder diet to melt off some of the excess goo or if i should just start a maintance diet and go from there? My only concerns are if I'm on a fat shredder diet will I still be able to improve in the workouts and gain muscle?
Hey Anthony, first get the body fat where you want it, even if you think you are "skinny fat" right now. Then you can more effective build muscle. Read this = http://teamripped.com/big-ripped-or-small-ripped
Coach, as same as some of the members who posted comments here I have done P90X, P90X+, Insanity, The Asylum and up to a week ago the first month of Pump. Although I changed my physic substantially and got my abs to show, I never got rid of the "stubborn" fat around my stomach. I gave up milk, sugars, rice, bread, etc. as the nutrition guides recommended, my only problem is that I travel every week so I do not have the option of cooking my own meals. All the nutrition guides are great for what I call a "not-so-normal" person since, unless you have enough time in your hands, you still have to prepare and purchase the correct ingredients, but going to the main subject: what would you suggest for an individual who is forced to eat at hotels and restaurants? How can I track the amount of calories I eat? How can I get rid of the stubborn fat under these conditions?
I totally agree with you Mario! That's why I don't follow the nutrition guide. Traveling is no problem if you plan ahead and take your own foods with you. I've done it several times. Check out my sample diets, and look at my articles on tracking your nutrition (rather than following the meals from the guide). It's all in the "nutrition all in one" section = http://teamripped.com/my-nutritionsupplements/nutrition-all-in-one
I was just wondering how to calculate calorie deficit, as well as the total number of calories burned if you bring it on plyo and kenpo?
Awesome Michael, looking forward to having you on the team! The best way to know the amount of cals you burn with each workout is to have a Heart Rate Monitor, which will calculate (or at least give you a very good estimate) based on how hard you work, how high your HR gets, and how big you are. Without that, all you can do is use the "guesstimates" that Beachbody gives you, which is 500-700 cals. As a big guy who works really hard on the workouts, I know that I burn over 1,000 cals on Plyo. And calorie deficit is simply the amount of calories you take in per day compared the amount of calories it would take per day to maintain your current body weight. My maintenance level is in the 3000-3200 cal per day range. When I need to drop some body fat or weight, I run a deficit to make that happen. When I want to add mass, I go higher than that.