5 Minute Cookie Cutter Ab Workouts Won’t Give You Abs…

Are abs built in the kitchen or the gym?

Photo by Karolis Milišauskas on Unsplash

It’s that time of the year again… Everyone wants to look good on the beach and so as a result, the YouTube algorithm starts pushin the “Get abs in 5–15 minutes” ab videos.

When you click on these videos, some super shredded phenom will proceed to do a singular ab circuit leading many people to believe he or she is shredded because of it.

that is almost completely untrue… But the real way that person got abs just isn’t as marketable as a 10 minute ab workout…

The Real Way

As is common knowledge among many people that are into fitness, ab exercises don’t heavily contribute to the visibly shredded physiques you see online. Most of these people have abs due to what they’re doing in the kitchen.

To make abs visible, you have to be in a calorie deficit and reach a low body fat percentage. Depending on your abdominal genetics and development, they will become visible anywhere from 10–12% bodyfat.

Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t train abs. It’s still important to have a strong core and training them will somewhat contribute to well-defined obliques and a visible serratus. But you shouldn’t train them more than 1–2 times a week. This is because fatiguing your core will negatively affect your other workouts because of how heavily involved your core is. Many bodybuilders skip core all together and rely only on developing the core alongside other muscle groups. Some of these compounds include the squat, Bulgarian split squats, pullups, bench press, and shoulder press.

The main takeaway here is that if you want abs, concentrate more on staying in a deficit. To make that deficit sustainable, include some daily exercise. It’s always beneficial to strength train and build some muscle as having more muscle will increase your metabolism. You can also do several different forms of cardio including jump roping, biking, and running.

Calculate your maintenance calories which is how many calories you need to consume just to stay the same weight. After you have that number, subtract 200 from that number and consume that much while exercising everyday. Try not to lose more than 1–2 lb a week depending on where you are currently, or you might reach a catabolic state and start shedding muscle. If you aren’t overweight and are just looking to get leaner, maybe even go for slightly under 1 lb a week. Eventually your body will reach homeostasis (adapt to the 200 calorie deficit). At this point you either increase the deficit by another 100–200 calories or increase the amount of exercise you are doing. Keep doing this until you reach your desired bodyfat percentage.

If you reach a bodyfat percentage at which you start to have no energy and are constantly hungry, stop. Don’t go past a 600–700 calorie deficit and don’t over-train. That isn’t healthy. Whether that percentage is 12 or even 16, you’re body wasn’t meant to go any lower. Some people are genetically capable of carrying less bodyfat or if they have more muscle, it’s more manageable. If you’ve reached this point, you can maintain your body weight, or start a bulk to put on some muscle. I recommend a lean bulk.

My Experience

If you’ve read this far, thank you! If by chance you already knew the basic information I talked about, I hope to have reaffirmed what you already knew. If you want to ad something or have a different method, comment it and let’s talk about it. If you’re learning for the first time, welcome to the fitness club! I hope to see you as a reoccurring reader and gym goer.

Personally, I’m an aspiring natural bodybuilder. I can’t help but admire the concept of sculpting the human body like a statue or piece of art. I live by the quote “It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”- Socrates.

I trained as a serious track athlete through high school only lifting recreationally on the side. I didn’t start taking bodybuilding seriously until last year in August when I started my Freshman year of college. Over the course of 7–8 months, I bulked up from 145 lbs (sub 10% bodyfat) to 180 lbs (around 14% bodyfat) while training 6 times a week on a Push/ Pull/ Legs split. Starting March 7th, I started my cut and I am currently at a bodyweight of 165 lbs with around 11.5% bodyfat. For reference, my height is around 5"10 to 5"11. For the sake of my confidence, let’s just say 5"11 :).

If you or anyone you know is looking to optimize physical performance, check out my injury prevention brand at www.creativefix.io to buy a high quality brand foam roller for a deep tissue massage on the go to promote positive blood flow, decrease inflammation, improve recovery time, and most importantly prevent injury (I wish I bought one in high school before suffering through a bad back injury!). Support a small brand started by a university student. Thanks for reading!



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store