3 Reasons Why You Still Can’t See Your Abs Despite Working Out

Man shirtless training outside

The first thing you should keep in mind is that you can love fitness and exercise without having a six-pack. It’s really not a must. Everyone has their own goal! But if you’ve been focusing on your abs and they still aren’t showing, you might be making one of the following three mistakes.

young lady doing sit-ups

1. You’re not eating properly

Abs are made in the kitchen. Without the proper diet, you’ll never see your washboard. A six-pack appears when your body fat percentage is about 12-15% (the exact number differs from person to person). How do you achieve this? With the right nutrition. You need to reduce your calorie intake by 300-500 calories per day while still eating a balanced diet rich in fresh foods. Avoid sugar, alcohol and other “fluid calories.”

Good to know:

Belly fat is often stubborn and hard to lose, so keep at it!

2. You’re not training properly

35 minutes of easy running followed by 100 sit-ups. Is this what your daily workout looks like? Adding variety to your training is very important because your muscles need to be challenged to grow. Of course, you have to work your abs to get a six-pack. But the focus of your workout should still be on engaging as many muscles at one time as possible. Feel free to incorporate some weight training, too. To burn fat, you should do some short, high-intensity cardio workouts or strenuous bodyweight training. The main thing is to mix things up and add variety to your workout routine.

a guy cutting pepper

3. You’re not resting enough

Overtraining could also be the reason your abs aren’t showing. Whether you want to believe it or not, recovery is an important aspect of training. You should make rest days a regular part of your training plan. Your muscles need time to recover in order to grow.

Adequate sleep is also essential for optimal recovery. Ideally, you should get seven to eight hours per night.

Now you probably know why your abs aren’t visible (yet!). Keep in mind that small changes can have big effects. You can achieve anything when you work hard enough.


Julia Denner Julia is a dietician and sports nutritionist. Before she began her position as Communications Specialist at Runtastic, she spent several years working as a dietician in the surgical department at Vienna General Hospital. Julia is passionate about inspiring others to eat a healthy, balanced diet. View all posts by Julia Denner