How to Unveil Your Lower Abs

I have been training for months now and have trouble with my “lower” anatomy (i.e., butt, hips and thighs). I always have trouble with these areas. Do you have any suggestions for my training or diet that might help?

I have good news and I have some bad news. Since I am the type of person who likes to get the bad news out of the way first, here you go.

Bad News: The cards are stacked against you. According to the research and anecdotal evidence from thousands of women, it’s a proven fact that women do have trouble losing body fat from the “lower” body.

In a 24 week study on women[1], they lost a higher percentage of fat from their arms and trunk, with very little being lost from the lower body. Also, during the first 14 weeks of the study, they actually gained some lean mass in the lower body, which made things appear worse than they really were. There are numerous theories as to why things are this way. Most of them refer back to pre-historic living conditions in one way or another. Because there is no set-in-stone explanation as to why this problem exists, it is very difficult to give the “perfect” answer; however, I will be glad to share with you some solutions that have helped some of my clients with this same problem.

[1] *Nindl, B. C., Harman, E. A., Marx, J. O., Gotshalk, L. A., Frykman, P. N., Lammi, E., Palmer, C., & Kraemer, W. J. (2000). Regional body composition changes in women after 6 months of periodized physical training. Journal of Applied Physiology 88(6), 2251-2259.

Good News: There is hope. After reading the bad news, I am sure that you just about shut off your computer, but hear me out on this one. No matter what you may have been told in the past, aerobics and pastel colored dumbbells are not going to get you where you want to go. What you need to be performing are large multi-joint exercises just like squats, deadlifts, cleans, presses, pull-ups, etc…

Along with performing those exercises, you will want to use a weight that is 80-95{a3acb2be643effc4b7b4b3705df5cb2eae026059a1d075d54be8af4d92e7e619} of your 1 RM (the maximum amount of weight with which you can perform a technically sound repetition on any given exercise). You also will want to work in a fairly low repetition range. I would recommend performing 2-6 repetitions per set and 5-10 sets of each exercise.

For all other exercises, choose a weight that is challenging. A good rule of thumb: If you can perform 15 or more “good” repetitions with a weight, you need to increase your resistance (amount of weight).

Nutrition: There are three simple rules for nutrition that will get you on the absolute right track.

1. Drink a minimum of 1 gallon of water per day

2. Consume 30 grams of fiber per day

3. Consume a minimum of 1 gram protien per pound body weight

I know this is not specific meals and menu plans but it will get you on the right track for you!

Swim with the Fishes: John Berardi, one of the premier sports nutritionists, has recently discussed some research in which fish oil supplementation has produced dramatic results in individuals. Taking 1 to 3 servings of fish oil per day, can increase metabolism, decrease body fat percentage, and actually increase lean body mass. These results were produced in sedentary individuals.

Cinnamon……: Thomas Incledon, another renowned nutritionist and researcher, recommends adding 1 teaspoon/day of cinnamon to your diet to help control blood sugar levels. Cinnamon is supposed to slow the entry of glucose into the bloodstream and limit the possibility of a large insulin spike. Basically, this is going to help you control your appetite and curb the ravenous sugar binges that can occur when blood glucose hits rock bottom.

Timing is Everything: Something I have found to be effective is to center your carbohydrate intake around your training time — before, during, and after — and limit your carbohydrate consumption during the rest of the day. Now, by no means I am advocating a “low carb” nutrition plan. What I am saying is to make an effort to strategically consume your carbohydrates at a time when your body can most efficiently put them to work for productive proposes, and that just happens to be before, during, and after your resistance training sessions.

Its an Uphill Battle: I strongly recommend performing some interval sprint training 1-2 times per week. This should help you with the extra energy expenditure needed to drop body fat and also be the most time efficient way to produce results. Plus, when is the last time you saw a sprinter with a “troublesome” lower body composition? I recommend hill runs because they will also help you to perfect your running technique. Try to find a hill that is 15-30 yards in length for your runs, and perform 5 to 10 runs with a one minute rest in between each run. If you have never experienced this type of training, I strongly recommend that you take a very conservative approach and progress slowly.


1. Train with large multi-joint movements (i.e., squat, deadlifts, over-head press, etc.).

2. Train with a weight that is 80-95{a3acb2be643effc4b7b4b3705df5cb2eae026059a1d075d54be8af4d92e7e619} of your 1 RM. A good rule of thumb is to use a progressively more challenging weight.

3. Use a lower number of repetitions (2-6) and a higher number of sets (5-10).

4. Consider supplements of fish oil and cinnamon.

5. Try timing your carbohydrate intake around your training sessions.

6. Add in some interval sprints for efficient anaerobic training

These should help get on track towards getting that ‘lower’ abdominal area nice and lean.


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