The Great Abs Mistake - Crunches And Situps And Still No Abs

Tom Venuto
Written By: Tom Venuto
May 13th, 2010
Updated: March 18th, 2021
Categories: Articles Nutrition
711.9K Reads
Woman doing crunches on an ab mat in a gym.
Want great abs? Desperate for a shredded six pack? Tom Venuto shares his ab secrets, and provides specific workout plans and nutritional guidance.

After 18 years in the fitness business, “How do I get great abs” is still BY FAR the most frequently asked question I receive out of the 30,000+ emails that come into my office every month. No doubt, it's because abs are the one body part that most people are the most frustrated with. Although their questions are often phrased differently and each person’s situation seems unique, my answer to “how do I get great abs” is almost always the same… and you’re about to hear it...

One question I received recently REALLY got my attention because a young guy told me he was doing 1,000 crunches and sit ups a day and said he still couldn’t see his abdominals. He wrote:

“Tom: I have been working out for around a year now and I cannot get my lower abs into any type of shape. I'm starting to see my upper abs a little bit, which is great, but despite doing 900 various crunches, ab roller, and 100 sit-ups four days a week, along with my regular workout on the weights, I still have a tire around my waist. What else can I do?”

What did I tell him? Well, I gave him the same answer I’ve given thousands of people over the years, which is the only true “Secret” to great abs...

It takes training to increase strength, build endurance and DEVELOP the abdominals, but to SEE the definition in your abdominals - or any other muscle group for that matter - is almost entirely the result of low body fat levels.

This may sound counter-intuitive, but if you can't see your abs, it's not an issue of “muscle development” at all. You simply have too much body fat covering up the ab muscles. The lower abdominal area also happens to be the one place that most people - especially men - store the body fat first.

Belly Fat - A Big Problem

Most people don't have their fat distributed evenly throughout their bodies. Each of us inherits a genetically determined and hormonally-influenced pattern of fat storage just as we inherit our eye or hair color. In other words, the fat seems to "stick" to certain areas more than others.

There's a scientific reason for this. Your fat cells are not just inert "storage tanks" for excess fuel. They are actually endocrine glands which send and receive signals from the rest of the body. You could say that your fat cells "talk to your body" and your body "talks to your fat cells." This occurs through a hormone and receptor system.

For body fat loss to occur, you must first get the fat cell (adipocyte) to release the fat into the bloodstream. THEN, the free fatty acids must be delivered to the working muscles where they are burned for energy.

For fat to be released, the hormone adrenaline (epinephrine) must be secreted and send a signal to your fat cells. Your fat cells receive this hormonal signal via adrenaline receptors called adrenoreceptors.

Fat cells have Beta 1 (B1) and Alpha 2 (A2) receptors. B1 receptors are the good guys. They activate hormone sensitive lipase, the enzyme that breaks down the fat and allows it to be released into the bloodstream to be burned. A2 receptors are the bad guys. They block the fat-releasing enzymes in the fat cell and encourage body fat formation.

Body Fat Affects Ab Visibility

What's the point of all the physiology? Well, it turns out that in men, the lower abdominal region has a higher concentration of A2 receptors, so this gives us one possible explanation of why the lower abdominal region is often the first place the fat goes when you gain it, and the last place it comes off when you're losing it. (Incidentally, the fat in women's hips and thighs is also higher in A2 receptors). This situation is dictated by genetics and by the hormonal and enzymatic pathways we discussed.

Think of ab fat like the deep end of the swimming pool. No matter how much you protest, there is no way you can drain the deep end before the shallow end. However, don't let this discourage you. Lower ab fat WILL come off, it will simply be the last place to come off. First place on - Last place off.

This helps to explain why abdominal exercises have little impact on body fat loss. It's a huge mistake to think that hundreds or thousands of reps of ab exercises will remove lower abdominal fat, except to the degree that it burns calories and contributes to the calorie deficit. What removes the fat - all over your body - is a calorie deficit and that comes from decreasing food intake, increasing activity, or a combination of both.

What I suggested to this young man was cutting back the ab training, spending the time he was wasting on excess ab exercises for more intense, calorie-burning cardio and weight training for the rest of the body. I also suggested he do an accounting of his food intake, get his nutrition in order and decrease his calories slightly if necessary.

As it turned out, his diet was a mess, and as nutrition experts like to say, "You can’t out-train a lousy diet."

It's a monumental error to think that 1,000 reps of ab work a day will make your abs finally "pop" when your diet is a disaster and that's leading to fat storage. It’s not that ab exercises aren’t important. But all the ab exercises in the world won't help as long as you still have body fat covering the muscles. You can't "spot reduce" with abdominal exercise and YOU CAN'T SEE YOUR ABS THROUGH A LAYER OF BODY FAT!

Man doing russian twist with medicine ball.

My Championship-Winning Ab Workout Routine

Personally, I only do about 15 minutes of ab work two times per week, with anywhere from two to four exercises for about 10-25 reps per exercise. Forget about thousands of reps of sit ups – it’s a waste of time. The reason my abs look the way they do is not from endless repetitions, but because I get my body fat down into the single digits with a highly specialized fat-burning diet program.

Here’s a recent ab routine that I've used (for bodybuilding/ ab-development purposes). I do this routine only twice a week and I change the exercises approximately every month so my body doesn't adapt. I prefer slightly higher rep range than other muscle groups, but as you can see, it is far from doing a thousand reps a day.

Do not rest between supersetted exercises (for example, 1a and 1b). Rest 60 seconds between supersets.

Exercise Sets Reps
1a. Hanging Leg Raises 3 15-20
1b. Hanging Knee Raise 3 15-20
2a. Cable Crunches 3 15-20
2b. Incline Bench Reverse Crunches 3 15-20

How To Use Cardio For MAXIMUM Fat-Burning

Times have changed since the Aerobics revolution of the 1970's and 1980's. For years, aerobics was the darling of the fitness world. Then scientists began to acknowledge the benefits of weight training - for everyone, not just for bodybuilders.

Recently, the pendulum has swung the other direction and we've actually started hearing fitness "experts" suggesting that cardio should be kept to a minimum or even avoided completely. That's the way things tend to go in the fitness world - they swing back and forth in trends, from one extreme to another. Lots of cardio or no cardio.

I suggest you avoid trend-hopping and pay close attention to what actually works, by people who know what they are talking about (such as bodybuilders, who are the leanest muscular athletes in the world). Doing nothing but cardio is a mistake. But cutting our cardio completely is also a mistake. The truth lies in the middle. Maximum fat burning occurs when you combine cardio training and weight training together.

Those who are genetically gifted with above average metabolisms will find that a slight drop in food intake and just a few days a week of cardio will usually do the trick. However, most people who are struggling with fat loss (sometimes referred to as "endomorph" body type) are simply NOT burning enough calories to get the results they want. The answer for them is more activity to burn more calories.

For health and weight maintenance, I would suggest 3 short cardio workouts per week, about 20-30 minutes per session. But for maximum fat loss, I recommend 4-7 days per week of cardio or other physical activity for 30-45 minutes (based on results), at a moderate pace. You can mix up the type of cardio you do, or choose the type you enjoy the most - stationary cycling, stairclimbing, elliptical machines, aerobic classes and other continuous activities are all excellent fat burners (it doesn't have to be indoors or on a cardio machine).

If time efficiency is a concern for you, you could do 2-3 of those cardio workouts as high intensity interval training and you'll achieve very good results even with briefer workouts. Even as little as 20-25 minutes per session can get great results IF your intensity level is high enough. Remember, seeing your abs is about low body fat. Low body fat is about burning calories and creating a calorie deficit. The calorie deficit is created by increasing the number of calories you burn and or decreasing the amount of calories you take in from food. Increasing intensity is one way to burn more calories in less time.

NOTE: To reach the "ripped" 3.7% body fat level you see in my photos, I do cardio 7 days a week for 30-45 minutes per session, in addition to my 4 weight training workouts per week.

7 Nutrition Secrets For Great Abs

That leads us to nutrition. Many people say that "abdominals are made in the kitchen, not in the gym," and there's a lot of truth to that. You can do thousands of reps of ab work every week, but if your nutrition is not in order, you can forget about getting a great set of 6-pack abs.

  1. Eat about 15-20% below your calorie maintenance level. If you use a more aggressive calorie deficit of 25-30%, then do not keep calories too low for too long; increase calories to maintenance or maintenance +10-15% 1-2 days per week.
  2. Spread your calories into 5-6 smaller meals instead of 2-3 big ones. Be very conscious of portion size. If you eat too much of anything (even "healthy" food), you can say goodbye to your abs. Period.
  3. Eat a source of complete, high quality lean protein with each meal (egg whites, lean meat, fish, protein powder, etc)
  4. Choose natural, complex carbs such as vegetables, oatmeal, yams, potatoes, beans, brown rice and whole grains. Start with aprox. 50% of your calories from natural carbs and reduce carbs slightly (esp. late in the day) if you are not losing fat.
  5. Avoid refined, simple carbs that contain white flour or white sugar.
  6. Keep total fats low and saturated fats low. Aim for 20% of your total calories from fat (and no more than 30%). A little bit of "good fat" like flax oil, fish fat, nuts & seeds, etc is better than a no fat diet. Essential fatty acids actually assist the fat burning process.
  7. Drink plenty of water - a gallon is a good ballpark to shoot for if you are physically active.

1000+ reps of daily ab work is an amazing feat of endurance, but that’s not how you get visible, 6-pack abs! If you were to do 1,000 reps of ab exercises every day, you would have outstanding development in your abdominal muscles and you would definitely have great muscular endurance. Unfortunately, if your abs are covered up with a layer of fat, you will never see them even if you do 10,000 reps a day!

The Secret To Seeing Your Abs Is Reducing Body Fat!

I once saw a photo of a man who broke one of the Guinness World Records for sit ups. It was the most paradoxical thing, but this man did not have any abdominal muscle definition. He was not obese or overweight at all, mind you, but he had a small enough layer of body fat that the muscular definition did not show through. I've never seen a better real life example which demonstrates the basic principle discussed in this article:

You get great abs from reducing your body fat, and you reduce your body fat by creating a caloric deficit through nutrition and metabolism-stimulating and calorie-burning exercise.

I've spent my entire career - through more than 18 years and 28 bodybuilding competitions - studying the science and practicing the art of body fat reduction. I speak from experience and I walk my talk as you can see from my pictures.

Andrea Mittasch
Posted on: Sun, 10/15/2017 - 23:06

Hi, I'm a 18 year old woman and have been overweight practically my while life. I just recently started dating a guy who is stick thin and I can't help but feel insecure. I want to get a flatter stomach or at least get into shape. I find it highly difficult for me to exercise since I don't like to. What should I do to help motivate me to get into shape.

Posted on: Wed, 11/26/2014 - 11:22

Hi! I am a lady who does not have a problem with weight cos am really thin. So I am not looking to shedding any. The problem is with the abs that everyone seems to be talking about. I dont think my stomach is flat enough to match my thinness. Do I still need to go on with the high intensity exercises and diet that you recommend. I really like to have the abs. Thank you

Posted on: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 22:51

Curious as to where this information is coming from. I'm not doubting it, I just want to look at the actual research/studies that back up your information.


Posted on: Fri, 09/19/2014 - 07:48

Hi Steve, am 37 year old and have a lean muscular built with 8 pack abs, i do cardio and weight training daily for approximately 2 hours,am on a strict no fat diet.To maintain this i do workouts everyday no matter how tired i am,but now i feel exhausted in mornings and wake up with a really sore body,i do my workout in the night after work, i do anything between 500-1000 crunches daily but now am getting cramps in my stomach while walking,talking,even breathing,my abs feel like sucked in and even my obliques are always sore,my question is should i cut down on doing abs everyday? how many times a week is good enough to maintain the physique i have? are the cramps in my stomach due to doing excess crunches? I feel scared of losing these abs and muscles and putting on fat,i have had a tough time achieving this and dont want to waste all efforts,but at the same time i cant carry out my routine smoothly with cramps in abs and a really sore body,please advice.

Posted on: Sat, 02/20/2016 - 04:50

Mohit i would go see a doctor. If you are experiencing these cramps enough so that you are having shortness of breath it could be from refeeding syndrome. Even though i assume your eating good amounts of protein you may have low levels if albumin (hypoalbuminemia) or possible electrolyte imbalances from kidney dysfunction. The pain from breathing could also be from pulmonary edema or weakening of your diaphragm muscles. This can also be a manifestation of having a very low fat diet or no fat at all. Our cells use cholesterol and fatty acids to form the plasma membrane of each cell. Think of it as a barrier to each cell that allows it to function properly. Without adequate fats in our body the cells die and in the process release potassium which itself could lead up to muscle cramps. When you go to the doctor make sure to fast for 12 houra before hand (water is okay) so that blood can be drawn and they can do a full lab work up in now. Good luck i hope all is well and your symptoms subside with time

Posted on: Thu, 09/04/2014 - 14:56

This has to be one of the most stereotypical things i have read in a while. Of course everybody ASSUMES cutting calories and exercising more will lead to losing body fat (and sure it may work for a very small minority of people), but the fact is that not everybody has amazing metabolisms or converts fat the same way as others. This is absolutely wrong for the masses and majority of average people. DO NOT, i repeat, DO NOT CUT CALORIES! If you want true results that last, you need to INCREASE YOUR CALORIC INTAKE! If you are constantly in a caloric deficit (and doing cardio training on top of it) your body is going to think it is being starved. Sure you are going to lose weight. But most of it is going to be MUSCLE LOSS! Since your body thinks it is being starved, it is going to start feeding off of itself. What is more nutrient rich? FAT or MUSCLE? MUSCLE! so your body is going to store fat as a reserve for when your body needs it and is going to FEED off of your muscle to fuel it for every day tasks. HEED WARNING and DO NOT listen to what this article reads. PLUS when you start eating a decent amount of calories again, guess what. you are going to put all of that weight back on. i am sick and tired of "bros" telling people to eat less. If you want real results, then figure out what your resting metabolic rate is, find out how many calories your average workout burns, an consume enough calories in a day that will "break even" or consume MORE than you burn. A REAL body builder and a REAL athlete would tell you this.

Posted on: Thu, 09/04/2014 - 09:18

This was my problem. I was 33% when I started hitting the gym. I came to the gym to get abs so I worked them hard like the guy in the article. I eventually researched why I wasn't SEEING results and found out its body fat that makes them show.

This however lead to my second problem. I decided well if I can't see them there's no point in working them. Wrong again. Working abs/core muscles is important no matter what BF % you are. You'll need that strong core especially if your lifting weights.

Morale of my story, cut your body fat but just because you may not see them develop for some time doesn't mean stop training them.

Jan 1st 2014 I was 33% BF and 255 lbs
Currently as of September 4 I am 20% BF and 197 pounds. Almost 60 pounds lighter using proper diet and exercise alone

Posted on: Tue, 08/19/2014 - 23:10

Hi good article but i i don't understand some think like colorie what's 17-30% colorie ... Please i'm not a english men and i want a good die plan for gain Great abs !!!! if you can give me link because :)

Posted on: Sat, 05/30/2015 - 04:07

What he means by 10-15% calories is 10-15% of your daily value of calories for example if you look on the back of a food container and they say like 10% saturated fat it means 10% percent of your daily value

Posted on: Wed, 07/23/2014 - 08:14

Hi Steve
I have a 14 year old niece who is very active in ballet, tap and she is and has been in jump rope competitions. The one problem she has is that her tummy is very poochy. She is only about 5 foot tall and comes from a short family but she is very active. Would you recommend these exercises and work outs for her besides working on her diet or what would you recommend. I've noticed that she eats pizza and hamburgers and sweet stuff and McDonalds a lot also. Thank you concerned aunt!!

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2018 - 18:58

Almost certainly the pooch is from bad food. McDonalds and pizza have very little nutrition and loaded with fat and tons of calories. Check out the nutritional value of this food and you'll see why she's having trouble

Anujit Nath
Posted on: Wed, 04/02/2014 - 03:23

Great people, great advice...........................

Posted on: Tue, 03/11/2014 - 22:25

I ve been training consistently for about 1 year now but now i want to cut, i have 15 years old and i ve gone from 17.2 % bf to 11.4% in 8 weeks and i can see my 2 upper abs. My question is if i m still far away of getting a ripped 6 pack? At which bf% you think i would see a very define 6 pack? Do you think at my age i could take fat burners? Great post by the way.

Posted on: Wed, 01/29/2014 - 07:27

great article, thanks for the advice hope those who are serius about their abs follow though this. thx

Amber Jones
Posted on: Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:32

Hi ok I'm dieting no more than 1200 calories per day first of all is under 1200 calories a day ok? I'm losing weight everywhere in my body my legs are slimmer my arms are slimmer my butt had even gotten smaller but I can't get rid of my belly how do I control my bday fat how can I get rid of my belly faster?

Alyssia Alexandria
Posted on: Thu, 11/14/2013 - 21:31

Hi Mr. Venuto:

Thank you for this great informative thoughtful article.
I used to be a lean mean running machine and then I started to write - I love it but started to gain weight. I went from a lean size eight and ballooned up to a size twelve. Yee-ikes I thought how to get this fat off ( I hate it ). Then I got my carbs under control and started walking now I alternate between walking and jogging at a local track and I feel much better. i do miss my small six pack ( I was doing 250 crunches five nights a week ) but know i will see my great tummy again - a woman's body is her best accessory. Thank you for being an inspiration!
Happy Holidays -

Posted on: Sun, 07/14/2013 - 18:07

Hi Steve,
I'm just starting out, I just want to have a decent build for my age since I'm only 15. I know I can't do as much as a guy that's 20. I try to watch what I eat. I eat plenty of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, and I try to cut bread or unhealthy foods out of my diet. I run so much everyday and I do average exercises with weights. I do so many sit-ups a day and try to define my stomach, but from this article I'm questioning myself. I'm an average weight but i still have some fat on me. So should I keep up what I'm doing or adjust to something else to gain more definition and tone for myself.

Posted on: Mon, 07/08/2013 - 19:49

Hi Steve, I was just wondering if you can help me to find a workout schedule that is good for teens. I am mainly trying to get cut so I guess losing excess fat would be the main goal. I do have access to a gym so if you could help me out, that would greatly be appreciated. Thanks

Sandeep Kashyap
Posted on: Wed, 05/22/2013 - 15:45

simply amazing!!!!

Posted on: Sun, 05/19/2013 - 00:07

Tom, which steroids do you do and in what quantities? How do you cycle off and on?
with a documentary such is harder, bigger, stronger, I think the stigma of steroid use is
going away.
is there a good solid information source on the quantity and type of steroids to use in order to accomplish your body building goals?

Posted on: Sun, 03/31/2013 - 18:51

Can i build my muscle while losing fat?
This is my weekly routine
Monday Chest
Tuesday Fat Losing exercise
Wednesday Shoulder
Thursday Fat Losing exercise
Friday Arms Tricep\Biceps Both
Saturday Fat Losing exercise
Sunday Rest

Posted on: Thu, 02/07/2013 - 23:39

i have some questions to Tom or Steve..:) :
when can i make an abs workout..shoukd i do it after eating or after sleeping or before sleeping..?? and can i eat and make it or make it and eat..which before and which after ?? and should i drink something like redbull or a protein powder or anything else before doing the workout or after it ?? can you plz answer my questions cuz i am really confiused :/ thank you :)

jeric q giron
Posted on: Thu, 01/17/2013 - 23:18

i'll try this type of exercises to gain more about in abs exercises..tnx for the good advices to all constituent to learn about some techniques to produced and get more high quality of training program..

George Vlachos
Posted on: Thu, 01/17/2013 - 13:38

Hello my name is george i am 17n years old.I do sports that 3 years and i get amazing change in my body but i still stuck.My abs i cant see them my v is close to ripped but my abdorminals all is still hide but i have flat stomach.My bodyfat is arround 13-15(max) fat and i am in that level for 2years in 70-72 kg do u know what i can do?

Ps.Sorry for take your time read all that things.

Posted on: Sat, 12/15/2012 - 08:55

iam doing body bulding befor 1 year iam not over weight but ido not have abs iam doing every think abs work out and cardio and i eating low fat diet but my abs is not clear my hight is 5.10 and wight 75 so what i do now can i use fat burner

Posted on: Sat, 12/15/2012 - 08:55

iam doing body bulding befor 1 year iam not over weight but ido not have abs iam doing every think abs work out and cardio and i eating low fat diet but my abs is not clear my hight is 5.10 and wight 75 so what i do now can i use fat burner

Posted on: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 22:34

Hi Steve,
Great advice so far. I did see that you reccomend to do cardio after weight lifting. I push fairly hard on cardio, about 30 - 40 min high intense, is this a waste after any specific muscle group workout? will it negate one or the other?

Posted on: Wed, 10/31/2012 - 16:35

Hey Steve

I am working out for six months now, not much weights (almost none, prefer push-ups for arms) mostly abs, but no results, I understand the article of Tom Venuto about the need to lose body fat and I am going to start with intense cardio (mostly indoors) and a diet. Is it better to just eat a lot less(I tend to skip meals alot of times) or eat 6 times a day? I did athletics and cross country 2 years ago, while doing that I did not lose weight, why is this? I want my 6-pack (8-pack if possible) to show as quick as possible, I am 20 years of age and weigh 70 kg (a few to much). If you have any advise that can help me to get my 6-pack to show quickly, please give any advise. I am not afraid to do intense cardio.

I also want to inprove my chest if you have advise.

I am sorry if I wasted your time. Will apriciate it very much if you can help.

Thanks again


Posted on: Fri, 10/12/2012 - 22:14

What about no or low card diets I've been on low card about 20 a day. In two months dropped two size is this recommended as well or just low calorie?

varun shrivastav
Posted on: Wed, 10/10/2012 - 11:14

well the problem with me is that doin abs excercizes from the past 5 months and my abs are pretty visible though yet not in the perfect shape body fat% is 6.7% and i recently joined the gym and my trainer is telling me to put on some fat but im scared that that will mean loss of abs ....what should i do ?

Cindy Moustafa
Posted on: Fri, 10/05/2012 - 10:05

This is a great article. As both a fitness and nutrition professional, I see way too many people doing crunches (mainly the wrong way) and complaining that it's not doing anything for them. When I dig deeper, I often find that the wrong kind of crb consumption is at the heart of the problem. The only thing I would add is to eat around your workouts. Many people eat a large meal before a workout, and a shake right after which is another reason they are not seeing results. Unless you're working out for 2+ hours, you don't need to eat a heavy carb load before a workout when you're coming to an aerobics class. Thank for this article, I'm sharing it :)

Posted on: Fri, 10/05/2012 - 08:01


Posted on: Thu, 08/02/2012 - 10:02

Does doing to much cardio burn muscle though?

Posted on: Wed, 08/01/2012 - 20:47

Hi steve, I would like to kno wats da best way to burn fat? N trim&tighten your belly, thighs, n butt I am 5“8 165 pds with flabby legs n belly I don't kno if its loose skin r fat??I been jumping rope at fast pace-10sets of 50 n also I do quats 5sets of 10each round with 10pdweights also I do leg raises. Do I need to just try to burn the fat off 1st? Because I am trying very hard with no results I eat boiled n baked chicken a lot like one thigh n a serving of greenbeans! Also activia n apples plenty of water thruout the day. Please give me sum ideas that may help me looks like I have more fat r loose skin on my body how can I get started to loose sum r tone it I am really flabby n loose with dimpled skin. Waiten patiently thanks so much tweety bradford

Posted on: Thu, 07/12/2012 - 21:11

I am a 19 year old female. I do work out doing primarily weight lifting and some cardio when I have to. I have a huge appetite and I'm also a vegetarian. I eat a lot of unprocessed veggies and carbs and very moderate dairy. If I eat a lot of these foods (snacking heavily during the day) will it negatively impact fat loss or do I need to cut back on these foods as well? However, I find that if I keep myself from eating as much as I want to my metabolism slows down, the only thing that makes a small difference is not eating before bed. Would a diet that leaned more heavily on just protein be better for a vegetarian? What do you think the best.

Posted on: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 14:41

Hey steve great post, was wandering what the best rep range for weight training while cutting, currently beeen in the 10-12 range since ive started, should i switch to 4-6 range to keep strength ? or does it not matter? cheers

Posted on: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 12:56

As a biochemist, far too often I see people acting like they know these things when really they have no idea. Great job on being completely accurate with your information. It is a nice surprise to read an article on weightlifting where the person actually knows how the body really works! Awesome!

Posted on: Tue, 05/01/2012 - 09:07

Hi Steve! I got a question which is really bothering me. Basically, I want to have good abs. I am training my abs at present but a little worried about the cardio. I just want to ask, can cardio result in burning of muscles and stuff from my arms and other places? I am already very skinny so don't want to be looking like a skeleton by the time I have good abs. I also want to gain lean muscle mass but thought I should work on my abs a bit first. Hope you can help. Thanks!

Posted on: Sat, 04/28/2012 - 18:08

I am confused about the building muscle and stripping fat thing. Can one still get cut all over the body because they are lifting while dieting and doing cardio? In other words will fat fall off while the muscles are getting cut? Are you saying that one cannot get big while stripping fat?

Posted on: Fri, 04/27/2012 - 12:47

This was a great article! But I was wondering if you could reccomend some other exercises ( arm and legs) to do while on this program?

Posted on: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 02:07


After gyming almos for a year now,I have seen change in my arms and leg,but,doing a lot of cardio and crunches my stomach just seems not to get were I want it to be,don't know what to do no more,and really trying to get this fat around my stomach are to go flat.any help?

Posted on: Wed, 02/15/2012 - 16:14

Great article.

Question: Is the A1 workouts to be done one day, and B1 a day later during the same week? Or is it A1 for a month, then swtich to B1 the next month?

Michael Eaton
Posted on: Thu, 01/12/2012 - 17:28

Great article!

Posted on: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 07:39

you know how you spoke about nutrition above the 7 secrets can you give me a daily eating diet of what to eat because i'm finding it hard to lose my belly fat

Posted on: Wed, 09/14/2011 - 04:09

Hi steve,

Im 20 years old - 5'11, 160 lbs. I have always been very athletic by playing sports and being very outdoorsy. I have just recently wanted to get definition on all my muscles but getting a 6 pack is my main priority. I know you have said you cant gain muscle mass and and lose body fat at the same time.

I am currently doing the "insanity" work out by shaun T. My maintenance calorie intake is around 3000 and i have been taking in only about 2000. The insanity work out provides plenty of cardio and i feel confident i can drop the body fat, but what im wondering is if i should hold off on the dieting and cardio and try to make the muscles huge first, or if its ok to drop the fat and then gain the muscular abs.

What should i do first? Im afraid that if i drop all the body fat first, that my abs still wont look how i want them.


is it possible to gain muscle mass while still only ingesting my maintenance calorie intake?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 09/14/2011 - 11:22

Hi Kendall,

It is possible to gain muscle mass while adding a very minimal amounts of fat. The key is training hard. You need to get that locked down and eat a little above maintenance. This will not cause you to add a lot of fat.

Posted on: Wed, 09/14/2011 - 17:28

Thanks for the reply steve,

What i got from your message is that its ok to cut first and then i can later add on muscle mass without adding on fat ( if i do it properly). What do you think is the ideal body fat percentage i should aim for, before i go back to adding on muscle mass?


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 09/30/2011 - 16:24

I would say 15% is a good number to aim for.

Posted on: Mon, 06/06/2011 - 11:42

Hi Steve,

I'm 20 years old - 6'1, 190lbs. I feel and look as though I am in incredibly good shape. I do a 5 day split of chest/shoulder/tris, back/biceps, legs, and repeat. However, I'm having the age-old issue of how to get rid of the pesky stomach fat to show off my abs.

I'm aware of good workout routines to work on abs a couple times a week, but I'm more curious as to what advice you can give me on the diet side of things. I'm completely oblivious as to portion sizes, foods, etc that I should be eating.