Answered by Declan Connelly on Monday, June 1, 2009
In the eternal pursuit of washboard abs, men will generally begin to see cuts at around the 12 percent body fat mark while women will see them at about 15 percent body fat. (Use our body fat calculator for a quick estimate of where you stand.) A word of caution: For some women, 15 percent body fat is too low and will disrupt the menstrual cycle, causing an increased risk of osteoporosis. But overall body fat isn't as important as regional fat deposits. Most men—and some women—store fat in their midsection. Very often people have well-developed and strong abs that aren't visible thanks to a layer of fat over the belly. If you have large abdominal-fat deposits, you're in for a lot of training before you can expect to catch a glimpse of a six-pack.