I don't ever feel sore though. I'm afraid that I'm not seeing the gains and muscle definition I want too because of these training style. I should have abs, but don't see them. And before anyone says diet, I'm a vegan who eats whole foods and barely ever anything processed. Any advice?

  • 1
    Vegan or not, abs are about definition, and definition comes from reducing body fat percentage. Have you seen any fluctuations in your body weight?
    – Alec
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 19:45
  • 5
    In my opinion, you're over training. Training more is not necessarily better. you need to give yourself time to recover.
    – rrirower
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 20:13
  • 1
    Is your question how to increase your ab definition? How long have you been doing your training? Commented May 22, 2017 at 20:38
  • When someone says you need to diet to see abs he doesn't only mean you have to eat healthy. Eat less than you need. Doesn't matter if you eat healthy. You need to reduce body fat percentage to see abs. You could get abs eating junk food every day. Abs aren't about eating healthy.
    – MattSt
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 18:44
  • 1
    "don't waste time with silly ab exercises either" vs "I should have abs, but don't see them" if you want a muscle to grow and develop, directly train it.
    – John
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 6:54

3 Answers 3


To gain muscle you need progressive overload. By the looks of it you train very intense, but in a different way.

If you want to gain muscle, you should train a bit less, I'd say 4 to 5 days a week, and go heavier on your lifts. You should try a 5x5 program on your compound lifts, this is highly effective. Resting periods and a proper diet are as important if not more than the lifting itself, keep this in mind.

You say you're vegan, which is great! But you need to make sure you are getting enough nutrients to gain muscle, if you're eating 2000 calories a day but also burn that much, your body doesn't have anything to build muscle from. I would suggest a lot of lentils, beans, chickpeas, broccoli, that kind of foods.

Also, abs are made in the kitchen, as stated before. As for building the actual muscle, my opinion is that heavy compound lifts like squats or deadlifts are more beneficial than doing an endless amount of crunches or leg raises.

  • I'm going to second this. I think your program may be a little too much for your diet. Vegetarian and especially vegan diets take more work in terms of getting enough protein, but it can be done. Peas, lentils, beans, and various nuts are a good source of protein for vegans, but you need to be eating enough. Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 23:40
  • thanks for the tips and advice guys. I guess a lot of it is psychological for me and I know I should rest. I go about as heavy as I can and I've found that 5x5 isn't challenging enough for me. I prefer doing a little bit of a variation with volume and weight. I eat very well so that doesn't seem to be my concern, but I totally agree with both of you that more calories is important. I just still get confounded about my abs, even though I recently learned I have very tight hip flexors and an anterior pelvic tilt so any ab work I attempt to do is fruitless : (
    – marisa
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 15:17
  • @marisa How come you find 5x5 not challenging enough? If this is the case, you probably aren't going heavy enough on them. If you can do more than 5 reps per set, you aren't going heavy enough :)
    – MJB
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 6:01
  • I mean I guess challenging is the wrong word; boring maybe? My body is very good at adapting and I find that I need change and different rep schemes. I swear sometimes I think I should get studied or genetic testing done because I do not fit any fitness or exercise science paradigms!!
    – marisa
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 22:08

Take a week off from all training. Come back the following week with a written workout plan that is progressive in weight and intensity.


Generally you'll have to put in enough intensity, volume, and time-under-tension to feel sore the next day. If you're just going light on these, then that's just a lightweight workout you can do everyday.

Lots of people go out on a walk and/or a short run on a daily basis too -- it just depends on how hard your workout actually is!

  • My work outs are very intense lol and I am constantly walking with my job and I run 5 miles about 2x a week... I think I might just be one of the genetically unlucky ones
    – marisa
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 21:25
  • But how much weight you actually lift on the crossfit exercises? Intensity is a very relative/subjective measure --- but actual amount of weight is a lot more objective. Do you deadlift 100 reps of 400 lbs every day? Also -- my coworker runs 7 miles a day in the morning before work, 5 days a week! No issues on his side, either!
    – ManRow
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 22:32
  • Anyone who has seen me workout knows I'm intense. And I lift as heavy as I can for a 5'3 petite female. And what do you mean about your coworker? No issues? As in not sore everyday or he also is genetically unlucky?
    – marisa
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 17:04
  • Well, since you clearly do not want to publish any hard numbers here (and your whole workout in general), then this seems to be a very self-conscious issue for you. So, don't get mad if I suggest that your perceptions of the intensity and difficulty of your workout may well be quite over-exaggerated!
    – ManRow
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 23:23
  • 1
    "soreness" is a bad flag for amount of effort put into something. How you feel afterwards (rate of perceived exhaustion) is a better measure.
    – John
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 6:40

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