Why Is It So Difficult to Get “Six-Pack” Abs?

Obtaining the body type you want can be a lengthy and difficult journey. Many people desire super-defined “six-pack” abs, which are viewed as the epitome of “health” and “fitness.” The truth is, you may need help getting the shredded abs you want. The main reason why it’s so challenging is that too much fat covers the muscles. Men need to get down to between 6 to 9 percent body fat, while women need to be within the 16 to 19 percent range to get those  coveted contours. Patients who want to enhance the appearance of their abdomen  often come to Dr. Laura Gowen, an experienced plastic surgeon, and our Bryn Mawr, PA-based team at Cirillo Center for Plastic Surgery. Their hope is to finally sculpt the abs they’ve always wanted.

The idea that a tummy tuck will give you “six-pack” abs is sadly a myth. It’s important for patients to remember that while an abdominoplasty (as tummy tuck surgery is known) can dramatically improve the appearance of your belly area by removing stubborn fat, stabilizing core muscles, and tightening or removing excess skin—it won’t rapidly give you perfect ab definition. 

Still, there is hope! By improving the appearance of the midsection, a tummy tuck can give you the motivation and confidence to achieve your fitness goals. Not to mention, the removal of redundant excess skin and fat makes movement easier. If an aesthetically attractive abdomen is your goal, here are some additional steps you can take to finally build those “six-pack” abs:

Improve Your Diet

If you aren’t already doing so, aim to reduce your consumption of sugar, carbohydrates, alcohol, and processed foods as much as possible. 

Manage Sleep and Stress

Getting the right amount of sleep and decreasing stress can help to reduce excess weight.

Build Muscle Mass

Strength and interval training exercises that work the large muscle groups are ideal for building overall body mass, which helps with definition. 

Patients who already have visible abs but desire more definition can benefit from liposuction and EMSCULPT®, a nonsurgical treatment that builds muscle while promoting fat loss. 

For more advice on body contouring, contact Dr. Laura Gowen, a board-certified plastic surgeon, by calling 610.525.0500 or submitting a contact form online to request a consultation.

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