Six pack abs… We all want them. Few of us have them. Depending on your genetic make up it might seem almost impossible to get them. While for others it seems like they were born with them.
Now when it comes down to it there’s a few things that might be standing in your way of achieving a six pack (depending on where you stand right now) but the most important factor that determines whether or not you will have a ripped six pack of abs is your body fat levels… Straight up. You could be a skinny bean pole and if you’re lean enough you’ll have abs (granted that’s not the ideal look most people are shooting for). On the other hand you can be extremely built and have lots of muscle with thick, strong abdominal muscles but they won’t show regardless if they’re still covered in fat. Of course strengthening and building your ab muscles is also important but in order to have visible abs you’ve got to be lean and that part comes down to nutrition (read: intermittent fasting). This article covers the basics of everything you need to know how to get a six pack from nutrition all the way to working out.
Having said all that I absolutely know that you can get a six pack in a relatively timely manner if you really want it bad enough. So without further ado…
You may not consider yourself fat and you might even have less fat on you than most people walking this green earth but you wanted to know how to get a six pack so if you’re of average musculature then you’re going to have to get down to at least 10% body fat for them to begin to be noticeable and down to 7% for them to really start looking good.
Despite the plethora of garbage fat loss advice you might find on the net. There’s only a few fat loss methods that have proven to be effective across the board, while still promoting good health (very important). For the purpose of this post I’ll keep it simple. It’s going to come down to two things. A good (paleoesque as I like to call it) diet, and HIIT cardio (done in a specific way I have my clients do that’s way more effective than traditional HIIT cardio programs). HIIT being: High Intensity Interval Training.
With that in mind let’s move on to…
Sticking to the theme of fat loss you’re going to have to make some dietary changes if you want abs of steel. A simple protocol to follow is to stick to nothing but lean meats, fibrous veggies, fibrous fruits (GOOD: Berries, Apples,Figs – BAD: Mango’s, Pinnaple, Honeydew, Peaches) and conservative portions of nuts. Meaning you’ll have very little in the way of carbs. Now i realize this can be a bit hard at first but believe me it gets much easier with time. Intermittent Fasting is also a great approach to fat loss that if done correctly (and that’s very important) can both spare muscle tissue and accelerate fat loss. Not to mention the fact that intermittent fasting can help reduce carbohydrate cravings making your life just that much easier.
Now I’m not saying that you have to exclude all the delicacies of life but you do have to make a little sacrifice here (less so if you do intermittent fasting).
Another easy and very effective tactic is to have a carb cutoff late in the afternoon/early evening. That way you can eat carbs like you usually do during the day except you’d cut them off around 5 or 6pm and not have any carbs until the following morning. That way you’re not consuming carbohydrates during the hours that they’re less likely to be used and thus more likely to be stored as fat.
Still on the topic of fat loss is the subject of calorie cutting. Not everyone reading this article is in need of calorie cutting. In fact some guys actually need to bulk up. But for those who have a bit of pudge holding them back from six pack abs calorie cutting can sometimes be what’s needed. Before even considering calorie cutting I usually start by having my clients try intermittent fasting. For many that’s all they need to shed the fat. But when you’ve done that and you’re still not losing the fat then it’s usually because your calories are high during your non fasting hours. Be aware that some foods are more calorically dense than others and despite the volume that they take up they are chock full of calories. Examples of calorie dense foods are:
So as you can see even foods that we normally consider to be healthy (ex: nuts, avocados) can be very calorie dense. And while these foods might contain health promoting nutrients you still have to be careful to not over indulge in these foods as it’s very easy to get in loads of calories without even being aware of it.
Now as if I haven’t spoken about intermittent fasting enough, I’m going to talk about it a bit more. The basic premise of intermittent fasting is that you fast intermittently… As obvious as that may sound that’s really all there is to it.Where it gets complicated is that there’s loads of various fasting protocols all with varied levels of effectiveness in regards to fat loss. Some say that you should fast 20 hours a day and only eat 4 hours out of the day while others think you should fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours of the day. I’ve tried plenty of protocols on both myself and my clients over the ears and hands down the most effective protocol is this one(link coming soon).
If you really want to know how to get a six pack or how to get abs that really turn heads intermittent fasting is your ticket.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) pretty much entails performing shorter cardio sessions that consist of short bursts of work that raises your heart rate followed by “active recovery” wherein you slow down and allow yourself to recover while still in movement (or completely resting if you’re still quite out of shape).
This form of cardio is much more effective than the LSD (long slow distance) type cardio you see being espoused so frequently. There are plenty of studies to prove this but more importantly I know this to be the case because I’ve helped a couple of hundred of people lose weight first hand (I’m a personal trainer FYI) and I’ve seen how much more effective HIIT is than almost any other form of cardio. I recommend doing doing 3-5 HIIT sessions a week depending on how intense you are able to push yourself and how much weight training you’re doing.
This one is a total no brainer. No shit you’re going to have to workout your abs. Working out your abs isn’t going to solve all your problems though because despite how thick, strong and well developed your abs are they aren’t going to show unless you’re lean enough. Despite that it helps to train your abs because when they’re well developed they tend to start showing earlier and they just plain look better than underdeveloped six pack abs that only show because they’re on an extremely skinny frame. I recommend you train your abs heavy (of course heavy is relative to how strong you are) and in the 10-15 rep range. Taking your reps higher than that, as many people do recommend, only ends up delaying potential strength gains that could be had and only serves to cause sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (your muscles ability to hold fluid in the sarcoplasm) vs myofibrillar hypertrophy (actual muscle tissue growth). Some of my favorite ab exercises are hanging leg raises (as see in the picture above), and Dragon Flags, sometimes known as body levers (demonstrated in the picture below):
Now you don’t really need to lift weights to have abs but having a more muscular body helps with not only attaining a more attractive body but it also helps you lose fat and keep fat off. When you carry more muscle your body tends to burn more calories at rest therefor speeding up your metabolism and making it easier for you to lose fat. Now depending on your individual goals how you structure your weight lifting routine could vary so I won’t go into that too much here but do know that it will help you lose fat faster and thus speed up your path to a six pack.
There you have it “The 7 Commandments Of How To Get A Six Pack or How To Get Abs For Dummies”. I just gave you a rough guideline of just about everything you can start doing today to begin your path towards abs of steel. Like everything in life information can only do so much so get your ass up and get to work!