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It’s what you have now. Case closed!
Ok. Wait. Let me explain.
Your body is the product of everything you’ve done in your life so far. Your food, your lifestyle, your exercise. There’s also the matter of its interaction with your psyche, your environment and the genetics and lifestyle of all your ancestors.
Admittedly, as the distance between you and all these factors grow, the amount of effect it has on your present will reduce. But it’s difficult to say with certainty, what is causing you to miss that elusive six pack.
The usual mindset of thinking of your body as needing “fixing” needs to stop. Your body is doing the best it can, considering the fuel and raw materials it is given, considering it’s usage pattern and considering the rest and recovery it is allowed. It will do it’s best, to keep you going, based on the blueprints it has. Seeing it as the enemy, doesn’t help you.
Give it a poor input, and you’ll get a poor output in return.
Now, we need to consider the case of what is, an “ideal body” The vast majority of our population is never going to look like Michelangelo’s David.
I’d rather point you towards the statues and pictures of our own history. You’ll not find exaggerated muscles or washboard abs in those depictions. It’s not like the craftsmen of those days couldn’t make those sculpted abs(pun totally intended). You only have to look at the intricate details of the jewelry, clothes and hair in those statues to realise that they were being truthful in their art. They could portray any kind of body they wished, but they chose to show ordinary bodies. I don’t know why, but they did. Maybe Indians back then were a lot less self conscious. Maybe they were a lot more comfortable in their own skin.
In the more modern depictions, you’ll find the bodybuilder style gods and fitness model style goddesses and apsaras.
Coming to the specific case of washboard abs-
You’re going to need a caloric deficit. You’re going to feel like crap on that deficit. You’ll need an extremely regimented diet. It’s going to drive you insane with all the neurotic requirements.
A narrow(er) waist, is less mechanically stable than a thick one. So if you’re going for strength and longevity, be prepared to be a little thick. Again, if you’re so thicc that you’ve a potbelly, that’s another kind of mechanical disadvantage.
A narrower waist also leaves less room for your lungs to expand into, when you’re breathing properly with your diaphragm.
You’re going to have to pick and choose what you want. You’ve got a genetic blueprint. You’ve got to device what is realistically possible as an output, when you give it realistic inputs. See if that’s satisfactory, make compromises.
I’d prefer to prioritise function over form. If you’re strong, injury proof and functional in the way you want to live, you’re going to be fine. Target a body fat percentage of 15-18. But keep strength targets a bigger priority. Keep flexibility, resilience and the ability to bounce back after an injury or illness a bigger priority. When you fall, you should bounce, and then stand up. Not go splat. Not crumble and stay flattened. That’s the priority.
Having washboard abs that look good for two weeks, but drop you into depression and greater risk of injury send like a bad trade off to me. But different people have different ideas of what constitutes a successful trade.
Pick and choose. Stick to basics. Diet, sleep and exercise. See what you’re willing to sacrifice in the pursuit of your ideals. If you can pay the price, nothing is impossible.