Do you want to have a nice looking six-pack? But you don’t know how to achieve your goal? Which out of those thousands promising (or not so promising ;)) programs should you follow?
Then you want to read this article, stay tuned!
There are thousands of promising programs spread all over the internet. They all have at least one thing in common: promising you to reach a six-pack or the body of your dreams within a short period of time.
Of course, only if you buy this particular program…
Is it necessary to train your abs everyday? Is it possible to get a six-pack in 3 minutes, a week or 30 days? And is burning abdominal fat only possible through intensive ab workout?
These and many other fitness myths are commonly spread all over the Internet. Unfortunately, most of them are absolute nonsense, but still, a lot of people fail to recognize that most of them are just real rip-offs.
So, is it worth it to buy such programs? I do not think so. Is it all bullshit in there? Probably not everything. But most of these recommendations are either nonsense or completely misleading. There are much easier and better ways to get a six-pack.
Apart from that, I don’t want to deny that many of these programs can benefit you.
Especially for beginners, these programs give a common thread to enable you a simple and meaningful start in your training career.
However, I do not think much of these training programs.
Why? Relatively simple. Usually, you’ll receive a guide for training and/or either nutrition for a certain period, but what’s happens after this certain period?
Exactly, you’re at the same point where you’ve been before you bought the program.
Fitness is in fact not rocket science. But that’s why it is even important that each one of you deals with the topic yourself. Nowadays just a few clicks on Google provide you with millions of search results and overwhelming bulks of information.
I do not see any sense in buying a time-limited program because fitness is in fact relatively simple. All in all, you can invest your money way better in meaningful things like your education, travel or stuff like that than “throwing it out”.
Accordingly, with this article, I want to show you how every one of you can accomplish your highly desired six-pack if you commit and follow our guidelines. They are simple and applicable to everybody.
Furthermore, we will clarify common six-pack myths that trap a lot of people and often result in wasting their time with inefficient things.
Moreover, this complete guide is free for you!
In the following, we will give you (5) tips/pillars and explain to you how to get a six-pack without spending your valuable time with superfluous things.
1. What should I eat to get a six-pack? Abs are made in the kitchen!
Probably this is the most underestimated aspect on your way to success.
You are trying so hard to dig out that nice looking six-pack… Doing hours of cardio each week, training your abs until failure every day but does it work…?
Most likely it only results in overtraining and eventually you get disappointed.
“Abs” are generally solely a by-product of very low body fat. Everybody has a six-pack somewhere, but for the majority, it is hidden under layers of fat. To remove that fat and finally make your abs visible, you primarily need to focus on the right nutrition.
“I have to eat less”, is another common myth.
Unfortunately, like most myths, it’s total bs. How much you can eat depends on WHAT you eat. For example, you could eat a Big Tasty Bacon from McDonald’s which has around 900 calories.
Instead, you could eat a bowl of oats with fruits and milk (~550 calories), some chicken or beef with vegetables (~400calories) and eventually, we end up with almost the same amount of calories. The difference being the second option is way healthier and more saturating as well.
As you can see, the key is the way how we approach our nutrition. You could perhaps even eat more in a diet than you used to do before if you eat the right things.
I would suggest splitting from 2-3 big meals a day to 5-6 smaller meals each day. This will help you stay replete over a longer period of time. But, of course, this is personal preference and varies individually. Give both ways a try and decide what works best for you.
I will give you an example from my personal experiences.
In my last diet, I came out of a kind of dirty bulk with around 4500kcal at its peak, each day.
During 6-8 weeks of the diet, I cut my consumption in half to around 2400kcal daily. Did I feel hungry? Was I feeling weak and craving for food?
Not at all. Surprisingly, quite the opposite was the case.
I sometimes even had difficulties to eat those 2400kcal! But how is that possible with only half the amount of calories than before?
To put it in a nutshell, I made fundamental changes to my nutrition plan. Basically, I replaced the big amounts of high carb groceries (such as noodles, rice or bread) with a higher consumption of vegetables, fruits, and similar groceries.
For instance, rather than large servings of noodles or rice, I focussed more on vegetables. This was my foundation during my diet. Why is it such a good thing to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, especially in a diet? Well, beyond its general benefit for our health through its micronutrients and minerals do these foods have a really low-calorie concentration.
Broccoli for example only has around 35kcal on 100g. If you would add 300-500g of broccoli to each meal, you’ll feel a lot more saturated than before, trust me!
In order to provide my body with sufficient protein but still avoid eating too monotonic, I switched between chicken, beef, fish, and tuna.
A classic low carb diet worked pretty well for me. But does this approach work for everyone? Probably not. As it is with most things in life, everyone is different and has their own preferences.
Therefore, I cannot emphasize it too much, there is no magic formula that solves all your problems. Fitness is a long steady process. In other words, it’s not a short sprint, it’s a marathon.
Overall, there is no special “sixpack diet”. As with any other sport, you should take care to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. If you already have a low body fat percentage, you probably don’t need to reduce your calorie consumption. But, for those of you who either want to do a diet or need to, I’ll give you some recommendations on how to make it more easy and fun.
1 – Make routine meals
Why? If you have a pre-planned breakfast, lunch or dinner, you’re less likely tempted to eat something that does not fit into your diet.
As a foundation for my breakfast, I always eat oats with plant-based milk. On top, I add fruits like apples, bananas or my all time favorite blueberries! Furthermore, to increase variety and make it a bit more interesting, you can also add protein powder, coconut flakes or nuts.
There you go with a healthy, fast and easy prepared breakfast!
2 – Eat more fruits and vegetables
As you already know from my last diet, I replaced large amounts of high carb groceries with low carb ones. Fruits and vegetables do not only make you feel saturated over a longer period, they indeed benefit your general health.
Again, this is a really easy tip how you can increase the total density of your meals which means more in volume but less in calories. Moreover, with a positive impact on your body.
3 – Drink enough water!
Water is a fundamental foundation for all processes in our body. Being hydrated enough not only has positive effects on our metabolism but also burns some extra calories.
Furthermore, drinking enough water makes you feel saturated, which benefits your diet as well.
In fact, one study shows that drinking 500 milliliters of water increased energy expenditure by 24% for up to 60 minutes after eating.
Other research indicates that drinking water may also reduce your appetite and increase weight loss.
Another study with 48 middle-aged and older adults found out, that people who drank water before each meal lost 44% more weight over a 12-week period than those who did not.
4 – Stop eating processed foods
Processed foods like chips, cookies, crackers, and convenience foods are high in calories, carbs, fat, and sodium.
On top of that, these foods are low in key nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Thus, deleting those foods from your nutrition plan will benefit you in many ways.
First, it helps you to increase weight loss and reduce your fat layers. Second, all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients in whole foods will make you feel more saturated and so support your weight loss.
This is because it takes more energy to digest whole foods that are rich in protein and fiber as shown in studies. This benefits your diet because your body burns more calories and keeps your metabolism up while processing those foods.
5 – Eat enough protein!
With adequate protein intake, you ensure the full functionality of your body. Furthermore, proteins are essential to support, maintain and build muscle mass.
Especially in a diet for body fat reduction sufficient protein intake is crucial to maintaining muscle mass. This prevents losing the hard-earned muscles through the diet again.
The big advantage of protein is that it does not affect your blood sugar levels, as carbohydrates do. A low blood sugar level is, in turn, a prerequisite for the burning of body fat. And a low body fat percentage the prerequisite for a six-pack.
With that in mind, always pay attention that your body is sufficiently supplied with proteins.
In addition, it is difficult for the body to break down proteins. Because part of the absorbed energy is consumed for the breakdown of protein in its individual building blocks – the amino acids.
This is called the thermal effect. In proteins, about 20-30% of the energy is already burned in the course of digestion. Another reason why protein supports you on your way to accomplish the desired six-pack!
10 good protein sources!
Below, I gathered some common and personal favorite protein sources that you can implement into your basics of nutrition.
- Chicken breast
- Wild salmon
- Cottage cheese (low fat)
- Soy / Tofu
- Beef (low fat)
- Low-fat quark
6 – Eat healthy fats!
To successfully lose weight, it is not necessary to completely abstain from fat. The opposite is the case – your body needs fat to stay healthy and strong.
However, you should be aware that most of the fats you consume are made from unsaturated fatty acids. In general, unsaturated fatty acids are healthy for the body and we need them if we want to get rid of the belly fat.
Good suppliers of these healthy fats:
- Olive oil
- Fat fish (such as salmon)
- Fats from different nuts (walnuts, peanuts, cashews)
- Coconut fat
2. How to train to get a sixpack?
The abdominal muscle is like every other muscle. If you want to stimulate it to hypertrophy, train it with relatively heavy weights. As a guideline, I can recommend 2 x / week (or at least every 5th day), 2-4 sets with 8-12 repetitions.
As I am currently In a diet, I can tell you, ab workout isn’t such a big factor as most people think it is when trying to get a six-pack. I think I haven’t trained abs isolated for months and still, since I lost some pounds, my abs are visible.
When should you train abs?
A good time is after a lower body training session. Because the abdominal muscles have a stabilizing effect on many basic exercises, it makes sense to train them at the end of the workout. This will avoid a messy execution of the major exercises that, in the worst case, can lead to injury.
Heavy crunches are generally enough as an isolation exercise. Many different abdominal exercises are almost always a waste of time unless you are training for a specific sport.
But, I would suggest focussing on exercising your core muscles over only doing sit-ups and crunches.
I think it’s pointless and a waste of time to do hundreds of crunches or sit-ups each day. You should rather focus on exercises like leg raises (hanging on a pull-up bar), classic planks or ab-rollouts (if you have a wheel for it) For all these exercises, you can add weight with a belt (leg raises) or weight plate on your back (planks & ab-rollouts).
A lot of people who have a six-pack do not necessarily have a strong core. On the other side, most people with a strong core have strong abs as well.
Furthermore, a strengthened core will help you to improve in the basic exercises like bench press, squats or deadlifts.
So, as you can see it benefits you in various ways to focus on your core instead of only doing ab isolation exercises.
3. How long does it take to get a six-pack?
This cannot be answered at a flat rate.
How long it takes to get a six-pack depends a lot on where you start. Relatively speaking, somebody with a low body fat percentage of 8-12% does not need as much time compared to someone with 20-25% who will need longer, depending on his endurance and ambition.
The right nutrition is fundamental to accomplish your six-pack, combined with an appropriate workout, it might take some time but it’s worth it and your body will benefit in the long run anyway.
Patience and endurance is the key, don’t worry, you’ll get there!
What conditions need to be met?
To get a six-pack, you have to fulfill two conditions. Firstly, you need strong abdominal muscles. Secondly, your body fat needs to be low enough for your abdominal muscles to actually show up.
While the first point is easy to achieve with a good workout, most people have more difficulties reducing their body fat percentage. Fat loss requires a lot of discipline and patience.
Unfortunately, not everyone can manage these things. But, if you can manage good nutrition with appropriate training, sooner or later you will succeed, that’s for sure!
What progress can be expected?
How fast you actually lose weight does not only depend on your ambition.
Your initial starting situation also plays an important role. If you are overweight, you can usually lose weight much faster. That is because you can conduct a large calorie deficit.
Accordingly, your body will quickly lose fat.
The leaner you become, the slower your progress will be. While at the beginning you may have lost 2.5 kilos of weight per week, assuming the appropriate diet, you only manage to lose 1 kilo later on. But that is completely normal and should not discourage you.
The closer you get to your destination, the less weight you lose. The last steps are the most difficult ones.
Quite often the last little cushion doesn’t want to go away for a while. The formula is to keep calm and not give up. It’s only a matter of time before your abdominal muscles become visible.
The individual starting point is decisive.
As already said, how long you actually need to get a six-pack depends on where you start from. Of course, it makes a difference if you weigh 3 or 30 kilos too much. Thus, do not be fooled by promises like “in 4 weeks to the beach figure” or “in 8 weeks to the six-pack”. Be aware that a good deal of work lies ahead of you. But your efforts and perseverance are worth it, whether you need 1 month or half a year.
4. How to maintain a six-pack?
Once you have reached your six-pack, you don’t want to lose it again.
Thus, it is time to focus on maintaining it. Therefore, we need to make changes in our nutrition to keep our nice looking shape.
You reached your six-pack, but how to maintain it?
The big mistake of many athletes is that they fall back into old eating habits when the diet is over. In itself, this is not a bad thing, it is human.
But this is likely to end in several thousand calories surplus which again then adhere to the body in form of fat.
The monster cheat after a diet like Dwayne Johnson Style, where a pile of pancakes is destroyed for breakfast, will not pass you by without a trace. You should always keep in mind that people like Johnson did not diet for a month or two. He was in deficit for a very long time, thereby building up a much larger “scope” to work with.
Do I need to change my workout routine?
Regarding the training routine, the whole thing is a little less critical. Maintaining muscle mass is generally much easier than building lean muscle mass.
You could, for example, continue your training as it was before the diet as well as during dieting.
However, it’s not necessary. As a rule of thumb, your nutrition constitutes about 70% to your success, training stocks up the remaining 30%.
With that in mind, only focusing on working out and neglecting your diet will not bring you to the desired point. The other way around it is more likely, but without training your body doesn’t build muscles, obviously.
Therefore, it is essential to combine both aspects and get the best possible results.
Getting back to the initial point, the training routine. If you were in the gym 5-6 times a week, it is certainly enough to reduce the frequency to 2-3 times. I would also recommend that you train your abs as hard as before, with around 6-12 reps.
Depending on how much you care about variety, you can either stay with your present exercises or make some changes to increase variety.
My favorite exercises for a strong core are hanging leg raises, ab rollouts and classic planks.
Summing up, you don’t necessarily need to change anything in your workout. Putting in the same effort as before your diet is not necessary even though you can stick to that. But there are easier ways with less effort and time required.
The most important thing, however, is the diet.
Do I need to change my diet/nutrition plan?
It depends, but most of you probably need to.
To what extent you have to change your diet again depends on where you currently are. After you’ve reached your six-pack, it is important to either continue to have a calorie deficit or a low-calorie surplus.
It is, again, a very individual thing who can eat more and who cannot. Some may still have to stay in a slight calorie deficit to keep their hard-won six-pack whereas others could even go into a slight calorie surplus.
Generally speaking, it is important to continue a healthy and balanced diet. I would recommend weighing yourself every morning after getting up.
Once you’ve found the number of calories you hold your weight with, stick to it.
Now the mirror is your most important aide. Unless the scale changes dramatically, it is up to your personal well-being in the mirror.
If both fit, then congratulations, you’ve found your golden mean!
5 Is it healthy to have a six-pack?
What about body fat?
First of all, body fat is important. Yes, even vital. It provides the largest available energy storage and without it, people could not exist.
Here is a small example of how much energy is present in our body fat.
1 kg of body fat provides 7,000 kcal of energy. Imagine, for example, a woman with a total energy intake of 1,800 kcal per day and a body weight of 65 kg. With a body fat content of 25%, the lady would then – somewhat simplified – have energy reserves for several weeks.
Of course, you cannot use all your body fat as an energy reserve. But, you now have an idea that body fat provides huge energy storage.
The fact that body fat serves as an energy reserve is called storage fat. However, high levels of storage fat are a burden on your body.
There is a correlation between your waist circumference and the likelihood of suffering from cardiovascular disease.
Thus, you should be careful and avoid exceeding the above-mentioned values for the normal percentage of body fat.
Besides, fat also has other functions. It is used e.g. as a pressure pad on the soles and serves as an insulating layer. Fat also keeps the organs in their intended position.
As you can see, you need body fat because it does fulfill various vital functions in our body.
Six-pack and health
All in all, you’ve seen that fat is necessary for our vital functions. If your body fat percentage falls below a certain percentage, it can affect your health. In the worst case even your life expectancy.
Most affected are women. If women fall below a body fat percentage of about 12 to 15%, this has an effect on the hormone balance because less of the female hormone estrogen is produced. The consequences: absence of menstruation or osteoporosis (bone loss).
In sports with low body fat content, such as at the bodybuilder in the competition stage, one can recognize (at least with the men) body fat values of under 6%. This 6 % corresponds to the essential fat and are the absolute least for survival.
You can now well imagine that with such a low level of fat, the functions of body fat, such as isolation and mechanical protection are limited. Achieving such low levels of fat is very tiring and can only be sustained for a short period of time.
The danger of developing an eating disorder is very high. Also, your social life can be impaired. After all, food is a social process, as shown by celebrations, business lunches, et cetera.
Furthermore, to clean up another fitness myth, it’s total bs and a fact that you cannot lose body fat at particular points. They always decrease in the entire body. In some places faster, in some places slower. That’s a matter of predisposition and vary individually.
The whole thing gets even harder because every kilo that you lose always resists heavier. Losing the first few kilos is much easier than the last kilo.
Your body, and especially your brain, will be extremely resistant to losing fat.
Because man has survived through these protections. Thus, it’s against human biology to achieve low body fat levels. Accordingly, the effort needs to be relatively high.
Overall, the most important thing is to have a natural, healthy and balanced diet. Focus on unprocessed food, eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Adequate water supply is also fundamental. As a rule of thumb, I recommend 1L of water for every 20kg of body weight.
During training, I recommend a low rep range between 6-12. In this area, the muscles respond best to muscle growth.
Please don’t waste your time doing hundreds of sit-ups and crunches every day. Do your abdominal training at the end of your training sessions to avoid injuries from lacking stabilization during compound exercises like squats or deadlifts.
I suggest 2-3 exercises for 2-3 sets per ab workout, that’s enough!
How long it takes to get six-pack depends on different factors.
These are, as always, individual and can not be generalized. For one, your starting point is crucial, for example, if you start with 10-12% body fat you will either already have a sixpack or it will not take long.
But if you start with 20-25% body fat, it can take a much longer time. The key is endurance and patience.
It does not take too much to keep your hard-won six-pack. It is important to find the area in which you hold your weight. Either a slight calorie deficit is necessary or you can even tackle a slight calorie surplus.
However, this varies individually.
Generally, a six-pack doesn’t say much about a person’s health.
As we have already mentioned, fat is a vital ingredient. That is why it is not healthy to stay in a range of 6% body fat for a long time. But on the opposite, a healthy six-pack with a body fat percentage of 10-12% is not dangerous as well!
How do you approach your journey to your dream six-pack?
I hope this guide answered all your questions in order to get a six-pack.
If you still have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can leave a comment here or contact us through our social media.