Here's where it gets a little trickier. To get visible abs, the amount of time you'll need to put in "really depends on your body type," Jackie told POPSUGAR. The specific deciding factors are how much body fat you have and where you store it. "Some people tend to hold their weight in their thighs, glutes, and hips, where as others tend to hold it more in their midsection," Nick explained. That, in turn, depends on factors like genetics and hormones — things that can't always be solved through simple diet and exercise. (If you think hormonal belly fat might be a factor, it's especially important to see a doctor and discuss underlying conditions, such as PCOS, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.)
With that being said, the amount of time it takes for you to see the results of your ab workouts can range widely. Nick recommended thinking of it as a spectrum rather than one set timeframe. If you have 30 percent or more body fat, "it may take you six months or more depending on your diet and exercise. If you're closer to 20 percent, it may be closer to 10 to 14 weeks; 10 percent, around six to 10 weeks. You can get your body fat percentage tested and talk to a trainer to get a closer gauge for your body. A good estimate: at about 24 percent body fat, most women will see some ab definition. For men, it's closer to 17 percent. In general, the math is simple: the more belly fat you have, the longer it'll take to see your abs, even if you're building the actual muscles along the way.
And if you want to see your abs faster, it will likely require changes to your fitness, diet, and overall lifestyle.