You cut out the sugar, haven’t touched a grain since Memorial Day and never miss a WOD. And yet your ab muscles are playing hard to get—much harder than the next guy’s. Plastic surgeons across the U.S. are reporting a rise in those seeking solutions to their Crossfit-induced ab envy and responding with sculpting procedures that call on a combination of techniques to create a six-pack—or better. As Chicago plastic surgeon and American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery doc Karol Gutowski says, “Traditional lipo does a very nice job, but what if you want to do a really great job?”
In Beverly Hills, plastic surgeon Brent Moelleken uses a combination of sucking and tucking in an ab sculpting procedure he calls the “Boardshort Tuck,” especially ideal for men with skin that’s loosened with age or significant weight loss and meant to create that downward V that has made the career of many an underwear model. Of course, not every guy is born to be Nick Jonas: “Some men just aren’t genetically predisposed to those striations that give the appearance of washboard abs,” says Moelleken. “And if you remove the fat but don’t address the extra skin, the results won’t be as dramatic as they should be.” Others use lipo to reduce overall abdominal fat followed by more precise ultrasound etching to sculpt and tighten around existing ab muscles.
In all cases, the word “existing” is key. Both Gutowski and Moelleken say ab sculpting is not a quick fix for those who think a plank is nothing but a piece of wood, but rather the icing on the cake you’ve been religiously avoiding since 2010. Though even the paunchiest of dudes may qualify for an ab tuck, most doctors say optimal results come from flattening your belly on your own with clean eating and dedicated cardio, followed by a little surgical finish work where necessary. “No one wants to look like a fat guy in a Spider-Man suit,” says Moelleken. “And besides: What good is being Mario Lopez from the nipples to the pelvis if you’re ‘Doritos and remote control man’ everywhere else?”