I Work Out! Why Don’t I Have a Six Pack?

You are training super hard, eating squeaky clean and yet still there doesn’t seem to be a glimmer of the cheese grater stomach that you envisioned at the start of your journey. You might be thinking: Is this goal a realistic one to begin with? Does this measure how healthy I am? Why is it just not happening for me? Let’s look at the most common reasons you might not be getting a six pack, and some ways to tweak them to get closer to your goal!


Stress levels in our bodies can elevate levels of a hormone called cortisol. When we are producing excessive amounts of this, we are at risk of developing more body fat storage in the tummy region.

Also read: Successful Weight Loss Depends On Your Mindset

Focusing on Crunches

You cannot exercise only one area of your body and expect to notice a drastic change to the leanness of this area. Yes, you can make significant changes to your shape with particular exercises, but to attempt to ‘shave’ fat off the area is a pointless exercise.

Missing the Bigger Picture

Don’t assume that by performing lots of crunches, you can develop a gorgeous looking washboard stomach, this is not true. It is not possible to carve a six pack through just core work – you need to look at the bigger picture! Losing overall body fat should be the target.

Also read: 7 Tips for Achieving ‘SMART’ Goals

Overtraining Your Abs

You do not need to train abs every day and/or do hundreds upon hundreds of crunches to get a six pack. Our muscles grow/develop while they’re in a resting state, not while we are hammering them! Back off with frequency of your crunches and allow these babies some breathing space.

Wrong Type of Training

Finding the right type of training schedule to compliment your goal is important! Ensure that the correct level of intensity is applied and be consistent with your training.

Poor Diet

Sugar, processed food and alcohol in our diets can hinder how much body fat we can shift in total, so avoiding these as much as possible makes for a much quicker result when it comes to a flat stomach. Avoiding alcohol is a great idea if washboard abs are your goal, as drinking this can mean extra calories, fewer inhibitions and an increased appetite.

Also read: How to Beat Your Sugar Addiction For Good

Not Enough Sleep

Not enough shut eye can stunt the maximum cellular repair of muscles and throw fluid levels all over the place with cortisol (stress hormone) levels being out of whack. That ‘puffy’ look we get when we are tired is a clear sign that we need to take more rest.

Not Enough Water

If you’re dehydrated and are not operating at your optimum, your body responds in much the same way as your car would without enough fuel or oil and slows right down from the task at hand. Keep your levels up to keep fluid retention at bay, and reduce the chance of other factors that can lead to poor performance and results.

Also read: How Much Water Do You Really Need to Drink?


Getting your technique spot on is a valuable skill. Our abdominal region is a large part of our body and to make the most of our own unique shape, we need to execute correct form and target the right area of the body to provide a balanced physique and not a ‘hunched over’ one.

Changing Diet Too Often

Yo-yo dieting or bouncing from one fad diet to another at regular intervals can shock the heck out of your body.  Have your plan in place and stick to it. As Mish says, consistency is king!


Accept that you are designed a certain way and aim to be the best that YOU can be, with the frame and muscle type that you have. Keep it simple, be honest with yourself, stay consistent and… hello results!

Louise McDonald, Cert III & Cert IV Fitness
Louise has been a Trainer and Wellness Coach for almost 20 years and is one of our experienced Support Crew members in Fitness, as our Lean and Strong Captain! Louise has worked passionately with all levels of fitness over the years across both Australia and the UK, where she has specialised in competition training with athletes for the last decade. She has worked closely with top level competitors and even our own 12WBT peeps to bring home a National Trophy! She lives, breathes, eats and sleeps weight training and is super passionate about teaching others how to reach their full potential.

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