I’m going to start by letting you in on a little secret, I don’t have a magic formula on how to get a 6 pack quick, easy or without any effort.
But this doesn’t put me at a disadvantage to the rest of the fitness industry, because they don’t have a formula either. That’s because such a thing does not exist!
The only way you are going to get a 6 pack is hard work, consistency and self-control. This is a hard concept for some people because they have seen so many ads promising it will be easy, and those ads can be quite convincing. Trust me, I have been there, buying in to the ads that “target belly fat” or make promises of “how to get a 6 pack in 10 days”.
It took me a while to figure out those claims just are not true and are in no way possible. They gave me a false hope that led to disappointment, lost money and wasted time that could have been spent actually working toward my goals.
Now that we have that out of the way, lets get down to what I wish more people in the industry would do, and that’s tell the truth and offer advice that is going to help people reach their goals. Read on if you want to actually know how to get a 6 pack, and you are willing to put in the work and make the sacrifices
First and foremost you need to get your nutrition under control. Unless you have great genetics you will need to eat healthy and skip the junk food to achieve a low enough body fat to have visible abs. I’m not talking about a diet either, a diet will lower your body fat for a short period, cause when you go off your diet and return to your normal eating habits you will be right back to where you started.
No amount of fat burners or diet pills are going to drop body fat either. I’m not going to recommend a style of eating, you need to find one that makes you happy, is healthy and you can sustain. It can be paleo, low carb or intermittent fasting, but for the majority of the population the only thing that is going to matter is consuming fewer calories than you burn.
Find one that you like and stick with it.
Ditch the Steady State Cardio
Steady state cardio is any form of cardio workout that is performed at a constant speed for an extended period. This style of cardio is great if your are training to run a marathon or you are an endurance athlete, but as a form of weight reduction or fat loss it has its limitations.
For anyone that is new to exercising they will see good results from steady state cardio, but these results will slowly taper off and your body will adjust to the cardio to the point where it doesn’t burn near as many calories per minute as it used to.
Instead you should be trying High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). A HIIT workout consists of short bursts of high intensity exercises combined with periods of rest or lower intensity exercise. The goal is to get your heart rate to at least 80 percent of its maximum capacity for one to five minutes with periods of rest or less intense exercise that allows your heart rate to drop below 80 percent.
HIIT burns more calories per minute than any other type of workout and if you are wondering how to get a 6 pack, it all starts with dropping your body fat percentage low enough to see your core muscles. The exercises for HIIT are endless but the ones where you recruit more muscles will exert more energy.
Target All Areas of Your Core
Everyone wants to know how to get a 6 pack and somehow the other core muscles get ignored. Having a strong core is more than just looking good, it also improves your overall performance in the gym or playing sports.
- Transverse abdominis (located on each side of the naval)
- Internal and external obliques (extending diagonally from ribs to pelvis)
- Rectus abdominis (known as the six-pack)
- Sarratus anterior (what most people mistakenly call the obliques)
- Multifidus and erector spinae (located along the spine from head to pelvis)
It’s important to focus on all core muscles for improved performance, posture, balance and to lessen the chance of injury. If that isn’t enough incentive, keep in mind that visible obliques and serratus not only make you look more athletic but will give the illusion of a slimmer waist too.
You can read my 9 favourite core exercises here to see the best way to hit these muscles and also a couple exercises that you have been wasting your time with.
Increase Muscle Mass
Your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is the total number of calories burned when your body is completely at rest. RMR supports breathing, circulating blood, organ functions, and basic neurological functions. It is proportional to lean body mass and decreases approximately 0.01 kcal/min for each 1% increase in body fatness.
By lifting weights and increasing lean body mass you can help maintain a higher RMR and burn more calories even while at rest. You will also have a higher RMR if you have less body fat, so you can see why lifting weights to increase lean body mass and burn fat can be so beneficial to not just your overall health but also toward your goal of getting visible abs.
This may be the last point but it ties it all together, all the ads and infomercials on how to get a 6 pack promise quick results and then make it sound like once you’ve reached your goal and finished their program you will retain your new-found body. Well if you’ve been paying attention you know that can’t be true.
You must remain consistent with all the life changes you make, nutrition, HIIT, core exercises and regular weight training. Don’t plan for a cheat meal, if you slip up and have dessert after supper it doesn’t mean you will lose all the gains you made, just get back on track and don’t make it a regular thing.
If you are just getting started and you had to make a lot of life changes you need to understand it doesn’t have to be 100% of the time, aim for 80% at first. When you start to see good results you will be even more motivated and can aim for hitting all of these goals 90% of the time. Eventually you will be at 95% or greater and you won’t crave junk food all the time, you will look forward to exercising and you will wonder how you ever lived the way you were.
Trust me, if you can make these changes and stick with it, you will look the way you want and you will feel healthier. It isn’t going to happen overnight, it isn’t going to be easy and at times you will feel like it is impossible, find something to motivate yourself and don’t give up!
Comment below what motivates you to stick with it and be active. For me its overall health, being able to be active with my family and feeling better both physically and emotionally.