Why Can't You Define Your Abs Even Though You're Training?

There are many reasons for your abs not showing, despite doing lots of abdominal exercises and burning fat. Avoid mistakes that could prevent results from showing.
Why Can't You Define Your Abs Even Though You're Training?

Last update: 30 October, 2019

Having well defined abs is most people’s dream. But, it seems that it’s only meant for a few ‘chosen’ ones. If you can’t define your abs, no matter how much you work out, we’ll tell you why that may be happening.

Why is it hard to define your abs?

Even if you think it’s impossible to do, you can define your abs by following certain habits and above all, by eliminating other habits that aren’t helping you. Even if you do a daily exercise routine, the following reasons could be the cause of lack of definition:

1. You haven’t burned all of the fat

One of the main reasons that you can’t define your abs is that you still have some belly fat. When belly fat accumulates, your muscles remain ‘covered’ and hidden–even if you’re working them in every training session.

The best way to burn belly fat is by doing cardio, such as running, spinning or boxing. Once you eliminate remaining belly fat, you’ll be able to see a well defined six-pack in no time.

2. You’re focusing too much on your abs

That’s right! Focusing too much on a specific body part isn’t good, in fact, it’s actually the opposite. If all you care about is defining your abs and you go the extra mile at the gym to work them, you probably are neglecting other muscle groups.

The worst part is that when you have your mind set on something, it’s easier to feel disappointed when the results of so much hard work aren’t showing. Therefore, we recommend that you work your abs as part of your routine; make them one more exercise, and not the main focus of your training session.

Girl doing crunches to define her abs.

3. You’re not eating an adequate diet

Besides exercise, diet is essential in achieving your goals. Your eating habits may be keeping you from defining your abs. If you eat too much sugar, you’ll accumulate belly fat, and the same thing will happen if you eat too much junk food.

Remember to eat at least five times a day, eat more fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water (at least two liters a day) and complement your diet with legumes, dry fruit and whole cereals.

4. You work out every day

Did you know that your body needs to rest to repair the muscles that you worked? If you don’t, not only will you not see any results, you can also injure yourself or suffer from fatigue. Working out every day is not a good idea if you want to define your abs, define your biceps or lose weight.

If you do it, try to mix up your exercises and work different areas. For example, you can work legs one day, arms another day, etc. Regarding your abs, include them in your routine, but for no more than 15 minutes on each session. You can even chose exercises that work the whole body as well: squats, planks, mountain climbers, etc.

5. You don’t mix your workouts

If your muscles become used to a specific movement, they become ‘lazy’ and don’t work the way you want them to. When you work your abs, don’t just focus on the popular ‘crunches’. Design a varied routine that includes your sides, leg lifts, planks, and riding a bicycle, among others.

It’s important that you strengthen your lumbar region to avoid suffering from back problems. We recommend that you change your routine every four to six weeks. This way, your body won’t have time to get used and adapt to certain exercises. And you’ll make your muscles endure additional effort to perform the new movements!

Two girls doing planks.

Likewise, we recommend that you increase the difficulty of the exercises you do, once you master them. You can add repetitions, perform them faster or do them with heavy loads and weights. Don’t forget to stimulate your muscles all the time, if you want to define your abs.

6. You’re not hydrated

If you want to see results, water is essential. You should drink at least two liters of water per day to boost your training sessions. Even if you’re not thirsty, your body needs liquids. And if you don’t provide them, your body won’t function properly.

Lastly, it would be a good idea to forget about the ‘tricks’ and ‘shortcuts’ that people have told you to use to define your abs. Patience and consistency are your best tools to achieve your goals.

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