I used to be obese. Over the last 17 years, I have lost 114 lbs. (51.8 kgs.). With that weight loss came some loose skin. As I continue to maintain my weight loss and live a healthy lifestyle, I have given myself a new challenge… to get a visible six-pack! But can I get abs despite having some loose skin?
After 8 months of daily abs training, I feel confident in saying that I do have abs now; however, I do not have a totally visible six-pack. I can feel my strengthened and developed core muscles and I catch glimpses of a visible six-pack from time-to-time, but I am not fully there… yet! Still, it can be done.
There are many (many!) things to consider when discussing getting abs, especially for those who have loose skin after extreme weight loss.
As for my specific results, I publish them for anyone out there who:
- Used to be obese
- Lost a lot of weight
- Has some loose skin
- Wants to get a visible six-pack
- Wants to see the progress of a person in a similar position
- Does not want to crash diet
- Does not want to develop an exercise disorder
- Believes in the power of consistency
I hope that by sharing my results and experiences, it will help you in your journey of personal change… and to help you get some abs!
Let’s begin, shall we?!?
Just How Obese Was I?
When I was 17 years old, I stepped on a scale at home and saw that I weighed 296 lbs. (134.5 kgs.). That’s pretty heavy!
I was (still am?) about 6 feet and 2 inches tall, which is close to 188 cm.
Using a body mass index calculator I found on the US Department of Health and Human Services website, I calculated that at my heaviest I had a BMI of about 38.0. Click the link to find out what your BMI might be, too.
But what does a BMI of 38 mean? Well, I went over to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and found the following ranges for your BMI and what is could mean for your health:
|What It Could Mean for your Health
|Less than 18.5
|18.5 to 25
|25 to 30
With a BMI of 38, clearly, I was obese. The picture pretty much gives it away, too, right?
But just how obese was I? Well, the CDC also subdivided obesity based on BMI into three categories:
|Obesity BMI Range
|Class / Title
|30 to 35
|35 to 40
|Class 3: also known as severe or extreme obesity
So, at 296 lbs. and 6 feet, 2 inches tall, I had gotten to Class 2 obesity.
How Much Weight Did I Lose?
To recap, when I was 17 years old, I weighed 296 lbs. (134.5 kgs.).
I started my abs journey on July 30, 2019, when I was 33 years old. My starting weight was 187.4 lbs. (85.2 kgs.). That adds up to a total 16-year weight loss of 108.6 lbs. (49.3 kgs.).
SPOILER: By March 29, 2020, and at the end of my 8th month training my abs every day, I weighed 181.9 lbs. (82.7 kgs.). That’s a total lifetime weight loss of 114.1 lbs. (51.8 kgs.).
Let’s find out how much of myself I have lost over the last 17 years of my life.
- 114.1 lbs. divided by 296 lbs. equals 0.3855.
- Multiply 0.386 by 100% to get 38.6%
So, over the years 38.6% of my heaviest weight is no longer on my body.
Assuming I did all of my math correctly, all of this adds up to exactly: I lost a lot of weight!
Some of that loose skin, however, remains!
How Did I Lose So Much Weight?
In the future, I will write a full article explaining how I lost all of the weight and kept it off for so long.
Since the article you are currently reading is about developing abs with loose skin after weight loss, I will only make relevant comments for now:
- I lost the weight slowly and over a long period of time! This is important, as the speed in which you lose weight seems to affect the amount of loose skin that can be left on your body. The faster the weight loss, the less time there is for the skin to naturally return to form. Since this has been a 17-year process for me, my body and its skin has had more time to adapt to my changing shape.
- I did not crash diet! Let me rephrase this… I did crash diet when I was an insecure and ignorant teenager, but it never worked. I would always put the weight back on, and then some. What worked for me was a slow process of changing my attitude about, and enjoyment of, food. While it did take a while, now my favorite foods include beans, vegetables of all kinds, oats and grains, nuts, seeds, avocados, fruits, etc… That, in-and-of-itself, has been a huge help in maintaining my weight loss over the years. Additionally, by re-feeding my body with healthy nutrients over many, many years, my skin was getting good fuels to restore its elasticity and ample time to do it.
- I exercised and added more and more resistance training over the years! Weight loss is one thing, but weight loss does not mean only fat loss. Without exercise and resistance training to strengthen and develop your body, your weight loss could cause the loss of muscle mass and bone density, among other things. That’s not good. Furthermore, it can add to a more exaggerated case of loose skin as there will be less good body mass to fill in that skin.
All of this is to give you more background on how I changed my body before starting my abs journey to help you put my results in more context.
REMEMBER: Everyone is different. This was the leadup to my abs journey. At the end of the day, I am comparing myself to no one other than myself. Please, don’t feel pressured or down if your results and timetable are different. The journey is you vs. you, not you vs. me or anyone else.
How Did I Train My Abs Every Day?
For whatever reason, I got it into my head in the middle of 2019 that I was going to train my abs and get a visible six-pack.
After researching training routines, abdominal anatomy, health risks, and loads of other things, I decided to begin the 22 Day Ab Workout (NO REST!!!) by Jeff Cavaliere at ATHLEAN-X.
I had been following Jeff’s YouTube channel for years, I 100% trust his coaching and advice, and this routine seemed to check all of the boxes I was looking for:
- It was free
- It was easy to remember
- It targeted all areas of the core muscles
- It was designed to be performed every day
- It got progressively more difficult over time
And with the decision made, I started training my abs every day on July 30, 2019.
NOTE: I have written much about the specific exercises in the routine already in previous update articles and videos. You can find them all at my 22 Day Abs Workout (NO REST!) by ATHLEAN-X website page. Or better yet, click the link to the workout above and watch Jeff and he demonstrates the entire routine for you himself!
My RESULTS after 8 Months of Daily Abs Training
Finally, the good stuff… my before-and-after body transformation results!!!
I will show you my progress update pictures throughout the entire challenge, with dates and weights so you can have some reference points along the way.
Here Are the Before and After Photos from Each Time Period:
8 Years Ago? – About 275 lbs. DAY 1: July 30, 2019 – 187.4 lbs.
Here Are the Before and After Photos from Day 1 and Month 8:
Day 1 – 187.4 lbs. Month 8 – 181.9 lbs.
So, can I get abs in 8 months after being obese and having some loose skin?
Well, looking only at the pictures, the answer is a clear… almost, sorta, kinda, maybe, yes, but not really, so close, etc.?!?
My abs certainly look better than they did on Day 1. Among other things, I observe the following:
- The outline of a six-pack is beginning to become visible.
- My muffin tops (love handles) are fading away and tightening up.
- My obliques, in particular, are showing when for so long they were hidden.
- There is some visible loose skin hanging off of my lower abs.
- My loose skin, while there and visible, does not appear to be excessive.
They pictures do not show it so well, but my abs are also flatter, yet fuller, then ever before. When I move I can feel them, which is pretty nice to be able to say.
Overall, it seems like were I to continue to shed a few more pounds while maintaining my muscle mass, a visible six pack would be possible for me despite some loose skin around my midsection. At the very least, my upper and middle abs (plus my obliques) look like they are ready to pop.
I suppose I am fortunate that I do not have a particularly bad case of loose skin. This is most likely due to having lost my 100+ lbs. slowly and over many years while providing my body with good nutrition and exercise.
Here Are My Heaviest and Most Recent Abs Photos:
8 Years Ago? – About 275 lbs. Month 8 – 181.9 lbs.
It’s like night and day, right?
I still find it amazing how much our bodies can change when given the right fuel, training, and time.
I still have some work to do, and I still have some loose skin to tighten up, but I am on the right track. I am happier and healthier today than I was in my obese days. I may never get a cover-of-a-magazine worthy six pack, and that totally OK with me.
Still, I want to try!
I will continue to train every day indefinitely, and I will continue to publish my results for you to get an idea of what consistent training and healthy living can do for a formerly obese man like myself.
Can YOU Get Abs after Being Obese and Having Loose Skin?
The answer to this is too complex and individualized to totally answer here and depends on so many things, such as:
- How heavy were you?
- How tall are you?
- How much weight have you lost?
- How long did it take you to lose the weight?
- How old are you now?
- How old were you when you lost the weight?
- How has your nutrition been?
- What is your exercise routine like?
- How often do you train your abs?
- What is your current loose skin situation like?
- What are your goals?
- Why do you want visible abs?
- How hard are you willing to train?
- Are you willing to change your nutrition?
- Would you change your lifestyle?
- Do you have a complete genetic profile of yourself available for analysis?
Seriously, there is a lot to consider… and I was only half joking about the genetic profile as genetics does play a role in how our bodies respond to training and weight loss. For example, your baseline skin elasticity is probably slightly different than mine.
The short answer to the title question is: YES! It can be done depending on your responses to the questions above; however, results may vary.
For example, if you have lost 600 lbs. (That would be an incredible transformation, btw!), I am guessing that the amount of loose skin you carry would require medical intervention to get under control.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or a personal trainer. Consult your medical professional of choice for specific medical questions and/or needs.
Someone like me, on the other hand, who has lost over 100 lbs. over a long period of time while improving his nutrition and incorporating consistent resistance training into his life, may have a better chance at developing a visible six-pack.
All that being said, I still need to go and get mine.
Slow and steady wins the race…
Fat, Broke and Stupid YouTube Video
Pictures are one thing, but video is often even more powerful when it comes to body transformations. Check out my Fat, Broke and Stupid YouTube Channel to see all of the videos I make and publish about personal change. You can watch my Month 8 Abs update video right here, too:
Subscribe and hit the notification bell to support my channel and to be the first to receive my update videos as soon as they are published. I respond to 100% of the comments I receive, so reach out if you have any questions for me!
Learn More About This Challenge
Click here to go to my Fat, Broke and Stupid Abs Training Page and stay totally up-to-date with how my abs are changing over time and continue to follow my progress.