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Why Can't I Get My Abs To Show?
I am a 46 year old male who has worked out for about seven years. I am 5'9", 190lbs and work out to stay toned and in good health. I am satisfied with everything except my abs, I just can't lose that fat in the mid-section (size 32 waist). My wife and I workout 3-4 times week with weights, twice a week cardio, and ab work 4-6 times week. We are on a high protein and low carb diet. We take protein bars/drinks daily and watch what we eat. Take vitamins, creatine and Xenadrine NRG. My goal is to lose the inches on my sides and shape my abs to a six pack. What am I doing wrong? Have done the Body for Life program with good results, just can't lose that mid-section.
It would be even more helpful to know what your current bodyfat is so that I can get an idea of how much more work is needed. I get somewhat hesitant when someone states they are one a "high protein, low carb" diet. In actuality it should be seen as a higher fat diet than really protein. Many fail to take in adequate calories from good fats and end up feeling horrible. Make sure you are incorporating Flax Seed Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Fish Oils, etc. It would have been very helpful to see an example of your daily eating program. How many carbs are you taking and from what sources? If your goal is to break through a plateau I would completely cut out all breads, pastas, etc. Rely on fruits and vegetables for your carbohydrate sources. Also, are you drinking enough water? During this very hot summer time, hydration is very important and can even prevent men from retaining too much water. If you would like more detailed advice please provide an example of a whole day of eating. This would include the times you eat, the types of foods, amounts, and any supplements.
Since you are making progress, one question that comes to mind is if you just have to be more patient or have you plateaued? If you have plateaued I would start looking at both the nutrition/exercise program. Performing strength training 3-4 times a week should be adquate, however, you may have to do a little more work with different methods of cardiovascular exercise. If you have been doing the Body For Life Program then I would assume you had been utilizing interval training (please see my "Losing Fat Without Aerobics" article). I would use this no more than 4 times a week. However, you may want to incorporate some principles that are outlined in my "Getting In Shape" article series. I have found this style of training very productive in losing bodyfat, especially after people have plateaued.
I would still suggest that you make sure that your strength training program is centered around compound exercises and big muscle groups. Do not focus too much time on smaller muscle groups or isolation type of exercises.