I use to work out 5-6days a week, 80-90mins, where I did weight training. I have a good physique, however I never had well defined abs. Now I'm working hard towards abs. I do abs workout every other day and cardio after workout. Also started swimming once a week. My diet is healthy as well. Eating less carbs and more high protein foods. Protein shake after workout and early morning. I can notice the difference on my body with the abs workout and cardio.

I workout other body parts as well but not as often. Because I'm spending more time on my abs than other body parts and doing more cardio (25mins), I'm worried I will loss the muscles.

Are there any tips on how I could schedule my routine so I could keep my body muscles and have a good visible six-pack?

Food I should eat before going bed or any time during the day?

4 Answers 4


First you should have clear some concepts.

  • You don't burn fat on belly by doing abs, nor do you make ab muscles visible by doing abs. As it's said, abs are made in the kitchen.

  • Doing abs workout, what you do is make them bigger, as with other muscles.

You should focus your routine almost the same way you focus it for muscle gain, but introduce some more cardio. The really important part is the diet.

I would recommend you to read about basic nutrition and find established diets to take as reference.

Edit - Info

As additional info, here is a link to an article that talks about burning localized fat, and that quotes some studies, also providing the reason why fat can't be burnt locally. Here is a small quote from the article:

More recently, in a 2007 study led by the University of Connecticut, 104 participants completed a twelve-week supervised resistance-training program in which their non-dominant arm was selectively exercised. MRI assessments of subcutaneous fat before and after the program revealed that fat loss tended to be generalized, rather than only occurring in the trained arm.


It turns out that there are a few basic physiological reasons why targeted fat loss does not work. The fat contained in fat cells exists in a form known as triglycerides. Muscle cells, however, cannot directly use triglycerides as fuel; it would be analogous to trying to run a car on crude oil. Instead, the fat must be broken down into glycerol and free fatty acids, which then enter the bloodstream. As a result, the fat broken down to be used as fuel during prolonged exercise can come from anywhere in your body, not just the part that is being worked the most.

Edit 2 - Additional info

After providing this info that shows how burning localized fat is not possible, I have to clarify and also give part of reason to @DMoore, because in real terms, spot reduction is possible. This contradicts what I've just posted above, true? Yes and no. Spot reduction is possible but in a very very low way, let's say something around a 0.1%. So even this happens and even few people could have the genetics to burn a bit more localized fat, in general terms, this value is negligible to say that localized fat burn happens.

  • That said, size of the abs won't increase much unless the rep range is low (6-12) and the resistance is high.
    – Daniel
    Oct 21, 2014 at 14:03
  • 1
    You're right @Daniel, that was just a explanation to understand that you don't burn localized fat by doing abs
    – masmic
    Oct 21, 2014 at 14:18
  • If you starve yourself you will see "abs" - this isn't a revelation and everybody understand this but it doesn't provide an answer. I could show you pictures of myself at 250 eating ice cream like it was water, with 6 visible abs. This answer is way to generalized and geared towards someone who will never workout their abs enough to see these results. The OP appears to have a good workout routine and just needs help.
    – DMoore
    Oct 22, 2014 at 20:31
  • @Daniel - simply not true. I have more or less been doing same ab routine for 20+ years. My abs are abnormally large. The ab routine is high intensity, tons of reps (no weights), and little break.
    – DMoore
    Oct 23, 2014 at 18:24
  • @DMoore Definitely possible based on how anaerobic the exercise. Sprinter vs marathoner. I'd defer to my answer here for further explanation. However, let's remember that the plural of anecdote is not data. Maybe you just have a predisposition to abnormally large abs.
    – Daniel
    Oct 24, 2014 at 0:45

When it comes to weight training, one of the best ways to keep mass/strength as much as possible is to lift with less volume but try to keep up intensity. I'm cutting at the moment so I'm dropping the overall sets that I'm doing but trying to lift as heavy as I reasonably can. It's hard to progress on anything or get bigger on a cut unless you've just started trying to get fit, but you can do a bit to maintain what you currently have.


To make abs visible, the most important factor (and the faster one) is to lower your caloric intake but keep or even raise your protein intake.

Also long term usage of the muscle improves local circulation and improves fuel efficiency making your abs more "defined", local fat loss is possible but it's more of a long term thing, thus negligible.


First I would question your ab routine. Basically there are two ways to target abs.

1 - Using a high amount of resistance.

2 - Doing a lot of reps at high intensity.

Your abs are small muscles, especially if you have not worked them out very long. Every other day is probably a good routine amount. If you are in the beginning phases of ab workouts (first 2-3 months) then you should be a little sore to very sore the next day. Another tip for abs - if you are doing an exercise where your feet are on the floor or attached to something then a good amount of work is probably being done by other muscle groups.

Let's talk about some of the other things:

  • targeting a muscle group won't burn fat in that region. WRONG. Maybe not for everyone but for many people I have trained and targeted core they saw a higher decrease in body fat and inches from that region. If this weren't true then why does the phenomenon exist of the overweight biker with toned/skinny legs. This may take an amount of time but if you constantly work out a region more than others your body will change more in that region than others.

  • you are talking about your protein shakes and what you need to eat before bed. Quit eating as much. You will probably need to shed a few pounds before the abs come in. I am a former boxer and have had a 6 pack since 16 years old - highly visible when I went as high as 250 (6'3") and when I drop to 200 it turns into a 10 pack. Long-term if you hit your abs hard enough you could probably see a 6 pack at your current weight but this is very long-term. I mean you are asking an ab question yet talking about extra calories everywhere.

  • you need time and the right workout. You won't start to see a noticeable difference until 3-4 months of 4 days a week. At 8-12 months you can see "good results". The abs are barely used in everyday life so you can't expect too much growth from them right away.

  • there aren't a ton of things beyond core workouts to help your abs but there are some thing and you should be doing them. Squats put a great strain on your ab region, deadlifts not as much but a good second. Good mornings strengthen your lower back. Your ab workouts will get better as your lower back gets stronger. Side planks from a 45 degree bench.

  • cardio doesn't make abs. I got people jogging by my house all day long in all shapes and sizes. I bet hardly any of them have "6 packs". Low resistance cardio is great for your heart but does very little for your abs. There are two exercises that I have had great success with when working with people to shed ab fat. First ... sprinting... 60-80 yard dashes. Lots of them. Second ... jumping rope. Two feet up, two feet down (no skipping). Also I will mention if you are engaged in long cardio workouts it does burn a lot of calories but don't fail to understand the cardio deficit. In that your body after being adequately depleted from resources will crave to not only get those back but to refuel for the next session. So lets say you burn 600 calories on a stair stepper in 30 mins. You have one of those 400 calorie protein shakes. Then later on that night your body is wiped and you eat an extra 400. So now you did this work to cancel calories but you actually gained weight.

  • Well, I train also since I was 16, but for bodybuilding, I have trained several people and I have also competed. You talk about your experience, but not about scientifc research. There can be lots of reasons why people see decreasing their core bodyfat, but you can't affirm that doing abs burns localized fat. I see you've downvoted my answer. My answer just provides a true that anyone who lifts for years know: You don't need to focus that way on your abs, except if you need to strengthen them as in a sport like yours. Just train hard, eat well and they will come.
    – masmic
    Oct 23, 2014 at 7:49
  • @masmic - where is your evidence that supports (scientific not a talking head) that focusing on abs will not burn fat in that area at a higher rate? Not to be abrupt but you are trying to call me out while your answer mentions no scientific backing. I think your answer is not only wrong but detrimental because you are passing on a myth. We can compare abs to see whose method works best.
    – DMoore
    Oct 23, 2014 at 18:22
  • Compare abs? Do you really think that your abs shape is determined by your training method instead of by your genetics? My evidence is based in all I've studied, readed, learned and experienced with myself and other people. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and I'm sure that in your case, your abs are your strengths. I don't say that I have the true of everything, in this sport every body is a world. I just give my opinion, as you give yours. Is yours better than mine? Booth can be correct depending on the person. I remeber you that you have disqualify my answer first.
    – masmic
    Oct 24, 2014 at 8:49
  • 1
    @DMoore I respect your experience and your answers. Just wondering if you could give an explanation of the biological mechanism for body fat spot reduction. I'm not married to the notion that it's impossible, it's just that I don't understand how it's possible. Also: high-rep, high-intensity certainly induces hypertrophy if the stimuli can create enough of an anaerobic state. I don't disagree with you on that. High-rep, high-intensity also burns quite a bit of fat though.
    – Daniel
    Oct 24, 2014 at 15:23
  • @Daniel - Hypertrophy of a muscle group is exactly what I am talking about. If you want to know how to see your ab muscles losing weight is an option but it is short-term. If you want to "have" ab muscles then you need a long-term plan. I have turned many individuals from small belly to deep 6 pack (not the anorexic 6 pack) in 4-5 months doing the exact same ab routine plus jumping rope. The routine is all intensity, full range of motion, zero weights. I have had bodybuilders use it a month before a meet and they were so sore after the first routine they couldn't move the next day.
    – DMoore
    Oct 24, 2014 at 15:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.