Getting a six-pack comes easier for some people but it is possible for anyone to have visible abs. A six-pack is the holy grail in the male fitness community and there are plenty of people out there making money off of people’s desire to have a stomach like a washboard.
While these books and tutorials can be of some value, having great abs really boils down to a few principles.
- The right kind of exercise and of course…
OK you may be disappointed by this answer. And by the fact that I am not telling you some magical food or exercise that will start growing your abs and shrinking your belly fat in days. But if you want to get a six pack you are going to have to learn the truth and deal with it.
The Workout Routine
When I say the right kind of exercise, I mean that you need to forget about doing 5 sets of 100 crunches or endless amount of sit-ups. Think about it: do you work out any of your other muscles like that? When is the last time you did 100 reps on the bench press? Or 50 squats in a row?
The key to building up your abs is training them just like you would train any other muscle group. I believe it’s ideal to go for about 9 sets total of about 10-15 reps. Then you break down the 9 reps into 3 specific exercises. My favorite exercises are listed below. Click on each one to learn how to perform it.
The cable crunches are a difficult exercise to perform but are great for target the upper abs, which can be tricky to stimulate. The hanging leg raises will target the lower abdominals and you can vary the difficulty by either bending your legs at the knees or keep them straight. The decline oblique crunch is a great exercise for beginners because you can start off at a modest angle and then increase the angle of the bench. Additionally, you can hold a dumbbell or plate on your chest or behind you head to increase the difficulty.
By combining all of these exercises in one routine, you are thoroughly working each part of the core: the obliques, the upper abs, and the lower abs.
Diet is just and important, and maybe even more important, than exercise when it comes to getting visible abs. What good is it to have a strong midsection if its covered in fat. And while exercising your abdominals will help increase your muscle tone in your midsection, your not going to specifically target the fat in your midsection this way. The only way to get rid of fat is through diet, and of course cardio like running and biking. So I’ll give you some basic guidelines on diet, but if you want a more in-depth explanation on dieting and specific diet plans, you’ll have to check out some of my other articles.
So here are some of the basics:
- Eat 6 meals a day. Don’t read this as “eat McDonalds 6 times a day”. Read: eat 6 small balanced meals a day. And by balanced I mean that you need to be consuming a source of protein at each one of these meals: chicken, tuna, any kind of fish (not fried), or a protein shake. Protein is more filling than fats and carbohydrates, so if you eat 250 calories of a protein source, you are going to feel more satisfied than if you had eaten the same amount of carbs or fats.
- Make sure you are getting plenty of healthy fats in your diet. Contrary to popular belief, eating fats can help you LOSE weight. Now there are good and bad fats so look for foods high in POLY- or MONO- unsaturated fats and low in saturated and trans fats. You can find these in olive oil, almonds, flax seed oil, and fish.
- Stop eating after 7 PM. If you have ever watched one of Dr. Oz’s shows on weight loss, this is one of the main points he stresses. Pretty much anything that you eat after 7 PM is going to store as fat because it is unlikely any of those calories will be used for energy.
Like I said above, these are just basic guidelines on dieting and if you want more info then read some of my posts on diets and eating plans.
Getting a six pack isn’t easy but it’s probably easier than you think. Remember: there is no miracle drug or exercise that is going to give you results in a few days. But with hard work, depending on your current body type, you could see results within a matter of weeks.