Once upon a time, I was pretty in shape. And by that, I mean I was only a few months removed from competing in a bodybuilding competition. Casual, right? But even when I was in the best shape of my life, I swear I couldn't get visible abs.
I worked out for hours a day, I was on a strict (but nutritious diet), and yet, my stomach was absent of the peaks and valleys that are a six pack—and I wasn't happy about it. To this day, there is literally only one picture where, if you squint your eyes and tilt your head, it kinda looks like they're there (it must have just been the light).
But I swear they were in there somewhere. I could feel the individual muscles under my skin, but they never came out to play. So why, after months of hard work, was I not able to manage a visible six pack?
According to one source, there are multiple contributing factors. From not honing your diet, to not mixing up your exercises enough, to not targeting the right muscles, to not getting enough sleep. Another source claims not training heavy enough and frequently mixing up your diet (especially when it comes to crash diets) could also have an impact.
But at the end of the day, it most likely comes down to body fat (especially in women). One source claims a woman needs to have less than 20% body fat in order to have visible abs. Now, I'm no stranger to consistency and discipline, but there's more to this than meets the eye.
Having less than 20% body fat could mean you're sacrificing shape in your hips, thighs and butt. Considering how many squats and lunges I do in order to get a butt, I'm not exactly looking for even more ways to lose it.
Unfortunately, there is no satisfying answer here. Want a six pack? Give up the booty. Want a booty? Say good-bye to your six pack. Want a cheeseburger? Meet me outside in five minutes.
Now, this isn't the case for everyone. Some women are able to manage having both a visible six pack and a booty that pokes out and has the heads turning at the gym—and to those women, I applaud you.
No matter what, as long as you have a body you're comfortable in—whether that does or doesn't include a six pack you could grate cheese on—you're winning. The end.