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  • Waist circumference needed to see abs?

    I’m a guy in his 20s training to slowly get stronger, lean out, and gain LBM. I like having numbers to set as goals even if they’re a bit inaccurate - it keeps me motivated and excited as I track my progress. I know body fat percentage measurements are unreliable and don’t necessarily align with the real metric people are often tracking unconsciously (being happy looking at themselves in the mirror or in a swimsuit).

    That being said, have you observed whether there’s a range of waist measurements in men where they start to see abs or at least have a flat, muscular midsection? I’m at 34.5 inches, measured according to your video, and wondering how much farther I have to go.

  • #2
    I don't think waist circumference reliably correlates to abdominal aesthetics. Bodyfat would be a better correlate. How much do you weigh and how tall are you?
    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
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    • #3
      5’10”, 185 lb.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by beefcake99 View Post
        5’10”, 185 lb.
        If you can't see your abs at that weight/height you either carry a lot of body fat in your trunk and/or haven't been training that long. For reference, at that height/weight my waist was 30" and I was very lean (too lean for PL perhaps). So, I'd guess too much body fat in this case, but I could be wrong.
        Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
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        • #5
          Yup on both counts, I am quite lean outside my trunk but also not very muscular. I’m guessing your rec would be to continue training using BBM programming (have been for about 4 months) and maintain weight?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post

            If you can't see your abs at that weight/height you either carry a lot of body fat in your trunk and/or haven't been training that long. For reference, at that height/weight my waist was 30" and I was very lean (too lean for PL perhaps). So, I'd guess too much body fat in this case, but I could be wrong.
            Jordan, with that being said, what should his next step be? Should he cut, or should he be in a surplus? I am in a similar situation and I never know what I should do.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Malmedal View Post

              Jordan, with that being said, what should his next step be? Should he cut, or should he be in a surplus? I am in a similar situation and I never know what I should do.
              See below.
              Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
              ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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              • #8
                Originally posted by beefcake99 View Post
                Yup on both counts, I am quite lean outside my trunk but also not very muscular. I’m guessing your rec would be to continue training using BBM programming (have been for about 4 months) and maintain weight?
                Yea I would think that if you train intelligently for the next 6 months your physique will look significantly different and you might not need to lose anymore body fat.
                Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
                ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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                • #9
                  Thanks! I will check in in 6 months to let you know how that went

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post

                    Yea I would think that if you train intelligently for the next 6 months your physique will look significantly different and you might not need to lose anymore body fat.
                    I am in almost the same position (5’9, 184lbs, 35” waist, flabby midsection) as the other two posters, and this answer leaves me a little mystified...

                    If we maintain good training and maintenance calories, how/why would physique change? We aren’t eating enough to grow muscle, but we are eating too much to lean out. Any insight to this?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ekryck View Post

                      I am in almost the same position (5’9, 184lbs, 35” waist, flabby midsection) as the other two posters, and this answer leaves me a little mystified...

                      If we maintain good training and maintenance calories, how/why would physique change? We aren’t eating enough to grow muscle, but we are eating too much to lean out. Any insight to this?
                      What do you mean by your last sentence? I don't think we would agree with that assertion.
                      Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
                      ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post

                        What do you mean by your last sentence? I don't think we would agree with that assertion.
                        I guess I was under the assumption that in order to increase muscle mass we would need to eat a caloric surplus, and to lose fat, a caloric deficit.

                        I don’t really see much discussion about the average lifter (which I’m defining as neither excessively overweight or underweight for their height; maybe around 18-20% BF). I also don’t see much discussion about body recomposition for this population of lifters, and wasn’t sure if gaining muscle while losing fat was a myth (unless you cycle weight gain and loss).

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ekryck View Post

                          I guess I was under the assumption that in order to increase muscle mass we would need to eat a caloric surplus, and to lose fat, a caloric deficit.

                          I don’t really see much discussion about the average lifter (which I’m defining as neither excessively overweight or underweight for their height; maybe around 18-20% BF). I also don’t see much discussion about body recomposition for this population of lifters, and wasn’t sure if gaining muscle while losing fat was a myth (unless you cycle weight gain and loss).
                          I think that we need to be very specific when discussing this issue.

                          I expect that untrained folks will lose a bit of fat and gain a bit of muscle while in eating maintenance calories. The amount of each will vary depending on training, genetics, and diet of course.

                          I expect the above to happen in much smaller amounts- perhaps even negligible amounts for trained lifters unless a person has very favorable genetics

                          I think that most trained folks will need to approach muscle gain and fat loss singularly
                          Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
                          ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post

                            I think that we need to be very specific when discussing this issue.

                            I expect that untrained folks will lose a bit of fat and gain a bit of muscle while in eating maintenance calories. The amount of each will vary depending on training, genetics, and diet of course.

                            I expect the above to happen in much smaller amounts- perhaps even negligible amounts for trained lifters unless a person has very favorable genetics

                            I think that most trained folks will need to approach muscle gain and fat loss singularly
                            Sorry for hijacking this. and going off topic. But specifically, how would you define an “untrained” individual? Obviously someone just starting out would be untrained. But what about those lifting 3-6 months with good programming? 1-2 years? Or is time irrelevant, and “untrained” would be someone who is able to increase e1RM by a few pounds every week or two? How old would one have to be for age become more of a factor (20yo vs 30 vs 40+)?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post

                              I think that we need to be very specific when discussing this issue.

                              I expect that untrained folks will lose a bit of fat and gain a bit of muscle while in eating maintenance calories. The amount of each will vary depending on training, genetics, and diet of course.

                              I expect the above to happen in much smaller amounts- perhaps even negligible amounts for trained lifters unless a person has very favorable genetics

                              I think that most trained folks will need to approach muscle gain and fat loss singularly

                              How would you define/categorize trained vs untrained lifters? Apologies if this has been covered in a podcast or other venue.

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