1. Focusing too much on cardio
People think if they slog away on the treadmill long enough, the stomach fat will melt away, and abs will magically appear. Too bad it doesn’t work like that. Abs are made in the kitchen (in conjunction with proper exercise). If you aren’t on point with your nutrition and in a deficit, then it doesn’t matter how much cardio you do. You need to be in a deficit to lose weight!
One hour of cardio burns roughly only 500-600 calories. That’s one meal. One meal can undue that boring, arduous time on the hamster wheel. On the flipside, you can save yourself an hour and just not overeat 500 calories. You decide. It’s always going to be harder to work off calories vs keeping your diet in check.
Oh, and if you decide on the first option on the treadmill keep in mind - the more cardio and the longer you do it, the more your body adapts. Once a couple weeks go by, your energy expenditure will be less than 500 calories for that SAME time. And you may also hold onto more fat. Go with option 2.
2. Over shooting the rate of weight loss
1-2lbs a week. That’s all you need to shoot for if you are trying to preserve hard earned muscle. More isn’t better! You can’t spot reduce either. Sure, you might be able to increase blood flow towards the abdominal area doing crunches, but it won’t be substantial enough to create any significant amount of fat loss. You can’t supplement your fat away either. Fat burners don’t work and waist trainers just make you lose water weight. It’s going to take consistency and dedication. Guys usually start seeing their abs at around 15%, and women 20%.
3. Progressive Overload
There are more to the abs than just the six pack. There are the obliques and transversus abdominis. You want to be hitting everything to have both a lean and functional core. Most people just crunch away and neglect the other muscles.
Try these: Do 3 sets 10-12 of any combo of three (try to hit different parts of the core). Use double progression. In other words, the moment you can do a given weight for 12 reps, move up the weight and shoot for 10 reps. Then work your way back up to 12 and repeat.
- Kneeling Cable Crunch
- Captain’s Chair Leg Raise
- Hanging Leg Raise
- Ab Wheel Rollout
They allow you to progressive overload the muscle and add weight over time. They also don’t require much technical skill. Working up to 100 reps isn’t going to be enough. You wouldn’t do that for your chest would you? It’s also worth mentioning that while its hotly debated of the effect doing heavy compound lifts like squats and deadlifts have when it comes to a shredded core, they should still be a part of your program anyway if your goal is to build a well rounded physique. They’ll have the added bonus of strengthening the core as well.