CoryG's 3 Part #Truth On Abs
The MISCONCEPTION OF WATER & ABZ
Here are some of the typical things that I hear people say:
- I am holding some water in my abs, so that’s why I don’t look that great today.
- I just need to drop that water weight.
- Can I drop some water before I hit this vacation?
Earlier in my life, I weighed 240 lbs. I also have been on the other end of the spectrum at 165 lbs. I have had no abs, I’ve had cellulite, and on the other hand, I now have abs that are cover ready, deep and absurd. Water retention is definitely going to play an integral part in how cut your abs turn out.
It’s important to note that most of the time that I hear these statements in the gym, I usually will hear the same question of “what is your diet and conditioning like?” Unfortunately, most of the time people are impatient with the process, and I try to tell them in a nice way that they just aren’t lean enough yet.
This being said, I know how to manipulate my water weight to be bloated to be stronger, or to be dry and ripped. The key prerequisite that everyone seems to be missing is that your body fat has to be low enough to achieve that chiseled look. There is no question that if you eat high carbs and sodium, that you will retain much more water than normal, and the final result is you looking puffy. Sure there are other diet choices that will do this too, but these two factors are worthy of pointing out.
Dropping water weight is generally not a smart idea, and in most cases is a temporary fix to an issue. One particular instance would be prior to vacation. Most people drink alcohol on vacations. Pairing together drinking alcohol along with cutting water weight is going to end up with you being severely dehydrated. So, what I would suggest is to get your diet and conditioning tightened way up way beforehand, because this will make you look and feel even better.
Properly using this concept is crucial to understand and should not be abused. Dropping water for a shoot or powerlifting competition is obviously an exception, but it is not something that should be occurring regularly. You should evaluate your body first, focus on body fat, and then finally get into the subject of water retention. Please use caution with your water balance in your body, and remember if you eat well and keep your conditioning up, things will take care of themselves.
If I eat fat, I will be fat and my abs won’t show.
I have used a high fat diet comprised of consuming quality fats for the majority of my life. Dietary fat does not raise your insulin, and even though it is more calorically dense, it does not turn into body fat. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but if you are eating properly it will give your body an abundance of energy, curb cravings, and even make your skin feel great.
On the other hand, some of the culprits of accumulation of body fat are bread, pasta, potatoes and even some fruit if you eat it at non-strategic times of the day. Once the body has to raise its insulin level to metabolize a food you ingest, your glycogen stores start to spill over because they are full, and the end result is……… you guessed it: stored body fat.
I mentioned the concept of glycogen, which is the sugars that are stored in the muscle like a beaker. Training fasted (on an empty stomach) will result in the contents of the beaker becoming depleted. Then, once you replenish your glycogen stores with food to get back to the top level, you need to stop filling the beaker because if not, it will end up spilling over and becoming body fat.
In summary, eat less carbs and sugars and eat more quality fats. Train and stay active. Eat well so that you don’t “spill over”, because the end result will be a blanket of fat on top of your abs.
If I train abs heavy it will make my midsection look thick.
I have done nothing but train my abs with weight for years to achieve the thick “brick check” look. What I am referring to is slang for muscle thickness and density, not overall waist thickness, which many people confuse it for. The main component here is to train your abs this way, but NOT your obliques. When I spoke to Frank Zane years ago, he explained how the Golden Era bodybuilders never trained their abs for thickness, but they would instead do countless reps.
I have trained my abs heavy as did Arnold and Franco, using weighted cable crunches and “moon boot” crunches hanging upside down to help sculpt that thickness we’re all after. I have also adopted a nightly routine to incorporate training abs daily, and it has produced some clear differences in my midsection. Doing just one set of 200 weighted crunches per night has yielded some crazy results.
Over time I have built such a thickness that my abs always kind of show no matter what the number on the scale is. That being said, when I’m really lean it has the look that they are cut out of rock, which is my ideal goal to hit. If you want to have “bricked out” abs, you have to train them heavy. Plain and simple.
A few exercises I definitely recommend are ab wheels, weighted crunches, and finally cable crunches to thicken them up. These three exercises will give you that sliced and diced, bricked out ab look that you want.
Here is a sample AB Workout:
Weighted Crunches - 25 reps
Cable Crunches - 10 reps
Toes 2 Bar - 10 reps
Ab Wheels - 25 reps
Repeat for 3-4 sets
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