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BendtheBar 07-26-2012 01:00 PM

Muscle Mass, Abs and Bodyfat
Chasing abs when you are lean without much muscle might require unhealthy weight loss because of the lack of muscularity. Sometimes we like to think that the only part of the equation that matters is fat loss, but muscle mass also plays a very important role.

Here is an example of 2 physiques with 10% (approx) body fat levels:

ricka182 07-26-2012 01:28 PM

Weighted crunches FTW!

Fazc 07-26-2012 01:38 PM

If anyone's interested I sent this to someone that contacted me on FB today:


For the most part there's two parts to getting "some cuts" as they say. Firstly; a low percentage of bodyfat. Secondly; the other part of that equation is to actually have some muscle. This will push through your skin and make you look muscular.

So to look athletic and cut you need a bit of both. There is a lot of conflicting advice about this on the net but in my opinion typically the first part of the equation is best served by diet. The second part of the equation is best served in the gym. On the flip side of that is that you can't train for a low bodyfat. Also you can't just eat sloppily to get muscle.

So here's what I would suggest, firstly on diet:
  • 1) Eat three to four square meals a day. In addition try and consume some milk if it agrees with your stomach and also some nuts either cashews, roasted nuts or whatever.
  • 2) Drop the protein shakes. There's very little need to waste money on that stuff.
  • 3) Make sure you eat your fruits and veggies, despite what people think they will actually help your digestion and allow you to utilise what you eat more effectively.

I know that's very bland advice compared to the flash promises in the industry and in the gym but good advice isn't always as glamorous or as expensive as the supplement companies would have you believe!

In terms of training, we are going to let diet take care of bodyfat and we are going to train for muscle:
  • 1) A simple full-body routine done 2-3 times a week is optimal for someone at your stage. For example:

    Seated Press - 3 sets of 8
    Chins - 3 sets of 8
    Squats - 3 sets of 8
    Bench Press - 3 sets of 8
    Stiff Leg Deadlift - 1 set of 8
    Curls - 3 sets of 8

    So that same routine would be done 2-3 times a week. Even Arnie started off on something like this for his first few years, despite what is commonly thought. He only went to split routines after he built the bulk of his muscle.
  • 2) Focus on progression, if you can manage 20kg for 3 sets of 8 then make sure you try 22.5kg next time and so on. Bigger muscles are stronger muscles and vice versa.
  • 3) Once you have made sufficient progress on the above routine we can then consider a split routine, for now this is the best thing to do for the fastest progress.
Hope that helps!

5kgLifter 07-26-2012 06:07 PM

What about seemingly ripped/cut bodybuilders in competitions that appear to have no discernible 6-pack, or even 4-pack but decent muscle formation elsewhere? Is it possible that some people cannot develop an abs pack at all, or are they just approaching things the wrong way?

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