If "abs start in the kitchen" then...

I've always heard the phrase "abs start in the kitchen". So if I eat a calorie deficit and do a lot of cardio (so I lose weight)... can I still get muscle definition without lifting weights / doing strength training? (I'm female if that matters)

Replies

  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,262 Member
    I have come to loathe that saying.

    Muscle definition is the result of low body fat and a good muscle base. Eat in a deficit to shed the fat but you have to have that muscle base. Cardio is not going to help you build ab muscles. You likely will get skinnier and skinnier and just look like a smaller version of what you look like now, with no muscle definition, if you follow your plan because not only will you not build any muscle, you will lose more muscle than necessary due to providing it no stimulus to stick around.
  • cgvet37
    cgvet37 Posts: 1,189 Member
    If you eat in a deficit with cardio only, you are going to loose muscle. As muscle requires more energy to maintain. The phrase "abs are made in the kitchen", means you have to be at a certain body fat percentage to have visible abs. You loose weight with your diet. Cardio increases your aerobic capacity. Strength training increases your anaerobic capacity.
  • mom23mangos
    mom23mangos Posts: 3,070 Member
    I lift and have low BF and I still don't have a ton of ab definition (as much as I would want), because I do not have enough of a muscle base there to really stick out. Some women tend to naturally have a good core muscle base due to their everyday living/occupation, in which case the answer would be yes, just losing the BF covering it would be sufficient. But for most women, no.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,879 Member
    Muscle definition is a result of low body fat and having the muscle to begin with...if you don't have the muscle though, you're not going to have the abs to show even at a low BF%.

    The phrase simply means that you have to make yourself lean in order to reveal the muscle...and leanness starts and ends in the kitchen.

    Cardio is going to do jack for building your muscles...you need to do resistance training as well...you have to build them to have them and cardio doesn't really build muscle.
  • pianoplaya94
    pianoplaya94 Posts: 185 Member
    Ah okay! I think I understand it now!
  • stealthq
    stealthq Posts: 4,298 Member
    In regards to 'only cardio + diet = losing muscle mass', studies indicate that if you eat sufficient protein that doesn't happen to any significant degree.
  • rileyes
    rileyes Posts: 1,404 Member
    Circuit training might be your style.
  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,139 Member
    jemhh wrote: »
    I have come to loathe that saying.

    Muscle definition is the result of low body fat and a good muscle base. Eat in a deficit to shed the fat but you have to have that muscle base. Cardio is not going to help you build ab muscles. You likely will get skinnier and skinnier and just look like a smaller version of what you look like now, with no muscle definition, if you follow your plan because not only will you not build any muscle, you will lose more muscle than necessary due to providing it no stimulus to stick around.

    i would say this ...but you do need proper diet, nutrition, and macro adherence, as well as progressive lifting program, and dedication to your calorie goal. genetics is also going to play a large role in when your abs "show"...
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,262 Member
    ndj1979 wrote: »
    jemhh wrote: »
    I have come to loathe that saying.

    Muscle definition is the result of low body fat and a good muscle base. Eat in a deficit to shed the fat but you have to have that muscle base. Cardio is not going to help you build ab muscles. You likely will get skinnier and skinnier and just look like a smaller version of what you look like now, with no muscle definition, if you follow your plan because not only will you not build any muscle, you will lose more muscle than necessary due to providing it no stimulus to stick around.

    i would say this ...but you do need proper diet, nutrition, and macro adherence, as well as progressive lifting program, and dedication to your calorie goal. genetics is also going to play a large role in when your abs "show"...

    Agreed. I thought of that earlier today when I glanced at the photo with this article.
  • TrailNurse
    TrailNurse Posts: 359 Member
    Diet > weight training > HIIT.