One of the most common questions I get asked is, “how do i lose fat here?” (client points to stomach or arms). As I constantly point out, there is absolutely no evidence a person can focus fat loss on a specific area. Doing a ton of ab work will strength your abdominals, much like doing press ups will strength your chest and arms. However, if your diet is littered with ‘cheats’ (pizza, booze and Mcd’s), I doubt you will see the abs.
The guys with abs, are either genetically gifted, serious athletes or very very particular about their food. Probably a mixture of all 3.
Here is confirmation from the guys at Examine.
The role of low body fat
The display of abs is more of a function of low body fat than anything else. You cannot reduce the fat around your belly without reducing overall fat. Attempts should be made to reduce body fat in general, and fat located on the core will generally be lost in proportion to the rest of the body.
At very low body fat levels, a six-pack will almost always be visible. However, without adequate muscle density on the core this six-pack will look somewhat emaciated and reminiscent of skin covering chicken wire.
The role of muscular density
Like any skeletal muscle, the muscles that comprise the abs (rectus abdominus, serratus anterior, obliques, etc.) respond to stimuli and damage and grow in response to said stimuli; given adequate nutrition and repair is given.
The larger the core muscularity, the more likely it is to see the outlines of the highly sought after ‘six-pack’. However, until body fat is lost any six-pack at higher body fat levels will appear blurry or otherwise soft.