Abs don’t get made in 5 minutes.
Abs don’t get made in the gym.
They don’t even get made in the kitchen.
You can make them a bit bigger and stronger in the gym, sure. But, you already have them.
They get SHOWN via the kitchen.
There’s a layer of fat over the top of your abs, which is pretty damn normal.
Some peoples’ genetics lend themselves to having their abs show much easier than others. Some have to work harder to get their abs to show.
What does this mean?
Some people can stay fairly lean and have their abs on show year round. Some people struggle to get down to the bodyfat percentage required, eventually get their abs on show, but can’t sustain it. I’d argue the latter is the norm.
Does that matter? In my opinion, it shouldn’t.
If you wanted to get into physique/bodybuilding competitions, then yes, it matters. You’ll still be able to compete, but you may have to work a bit harder than some of your peers, and your hard work may only show for a short period around competition time.
If you wanted to be fit and healthy, a 6 pack on show doesn’t fit the prerequisites for that. It doesn’t matter. If you have an enormous belly, that’s a different story, as this may reflect someone who is at risk from a myriad of diseases, from heart disease, to diabetes. But having a 6 pack isn’t necessarily reflective of someone that is ‘healthy’.
For sports and performance, a 6 pack isn’t required either. It doesn’t mean someone will be good at a sport just because they have a 6 pack. More objective measures such as sprint times, vertical leaps and squat strength would be way more applicable to performance measures.
There are certainly sports out there that you will perform better at by being lean. If you are particularly overweight, then yes it makes sense to lose fat, but that doesn’t mean I’m saying aim to get that 6 pack. I would suggest you track your performance, and adjust accordingly in not only your training, but your nutrition (obviously for fat loss you have to be in a calorie deficit). Tracking performance for the average person will obviously depend on your goals, but a good start can be something as straight forward as tracking weights lifted, or distance ran.
I will finish this post with 2 quotes:
The first is one of mine and Cat’s favourite quotes from Bret Contreras:
“Train for performance, and aesthetics comes along for the ride.”
The second is a line I read in a T-nation article a long time ago (I forget the author):
“A 6 pack is the physical manifestation of someone on a calorie deficit.”