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Men's Health

10 Reasons You Don't Have Abs

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If there's one fitness goal that almost every man goes to the gym in hopes of achieving, it's a ripped set of abs.

Whether you're trimming down or developing more muscle mass, there's no question that your abs are important. But you might have worked on sculpting an eye-catching stomach many times in the past without ever seeing the results you had hoped for. What is it that makes getting ripped abs so hard to achieve?

Let's take a look at the top 10 reasons you don't have abs.
10. Low-muscle tone

The first reason you don't have abs is simple: a shortage of muscle. While everyone has a degree of abdominal development, some people simply have very little of it. The larger your ab muscles are, the more the muscle will be able to show definition through your body fat, and therefore, the more ripped you'll look. Start performing heavy-weighted ab work to overcome this problem. Weighted decline sit-ups work perfectly

9. It's not in your genes
Another reason you don’t have abs is that you simply don't have the genetics for it. Some people are naturally prone to carry more abdominal fat, and even if they get down to leaner levels with ripped arms and legs, the abs still don't show through. Couple that with the fact that genetics plays a principal role in determining the shape of the abs and the way they look on the body, and you'll realize that if you have genetics working against you, toning your abs is going to be an uphill battle.

8. You're not drinking enough water
In today's world of fast food and excessively processed foods, water retention is the norm. If you have a high-sodium diet and you're not drinking enough water throughout the day, you can bet your looks will be hindered by what you consume. Up your water intake to at least 10 glasses a day and put down the saltshaker. You'll see noticeable differences in two to three days' time.

7. You're not sleeping enough
Do you find yourself staying late at work and vowing to sleep in on the weekend to make up for it? If you're hoping for six-pack abs, you'll have to rethink that strategy. Lack of sleep causes increased cortisol to surge through your system, and this potent hormone actually encourages the accumulation of stomach fat. Get to bed earlier. Not only will you see belly benefits because of it, but you'll be more productive during the day so you won't have to stay so late in the first place.

6. You need more carbs
If you're like many people, you think removing the carbs from your plate is the fastest way to get lean. Unfortunately, that's often not the case. Low-carb diets may be useful for fat loss, but following a very low-carb diet for a long time will cause you nothing but problems. Certain fat-fighting hormones begin to change when your carb intake is too low, and this actually causes your metabolism to shut down. When your metabolism slows, you end up burning so few calories over the course of the day that fat loss becomes next to impossible. Go high-carb once a week to keep the balance steady. Your abs will thank you.

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5. You're too focused on abs
Some men who have a six-pack as their goal focus the greater part of their workout on training the abdominal muscle group. Sadly, this focus only drives them further away from their goal. Since the ab muscles are very small, they're hardly going to burn any calories at all (per minute of exercise). Instead, try to focus on compound movements. These work the abs in the course of greater stabilization exercises, and, in the process, they burn 10 times the calories any crunch will.

4. You have poor abdominal control
Abdominal control doesn't end when you finish a workout. If you train your abs hard in the gym but then let them relax the rest of the day, you're making a critical error. Instead, focus on keeping them tight and pulled in at all times. Eventually it will become a habit and you'll immediately look leaner.

3. You drink too much
Headed out for another Friday night with the guys? Before you order another beer at half time, think about its effect on your six-pack goal. As soon as it enters the body, alcohol immediately puts the brakes on fat loss, which means each beer really slows down your progress. Drinking too much too often can also encourage fat to develop around the stomach area, making your job that much harder. While you may take some ribbing when you ask for water, you'll render your buddies speechless next time you cross paths with them at the gym.

2. You're too stressed
Just like lack of sleep, high levels of stress also induce the release of cortisol and quickly cause fat gain in the belly area. If you lead a high-stress lifestyle and feel chronic tension, not only are you encouraging stomach fat accumulation, but you're also risking the loss of lean muscle mass. If you want to stay ripped everywhere else and move closer to a six-pack, you must control your stress.

1. You binge eat
Even the best of us crack under the pressure of too long on a strict diet. If you're trying to stick with a regimen far too low in calories and carbs, it won't be long before you hit the buffet with a vengeance. When binge eating rears its head in your diet plan, have a good look at the regimen you're following and be sure you're consuming enough calories. A very low-calorie diet is the chief reason why most men binge. Your intake must be appropriate to your size and activity level. Low calorie is good, but too few calories will leave you hungry for a binge.