Everyone seems to want to have those washboard abs you see on the cover of magazines. It often results in people buying into the "ab roller" or the latest abdominal contraption that promises to get you that ripped six pack. The common misconception people have today is that they need to do a lot of reps on their abdominal contraption, crunches and or sit ups to magically have their six pack appear. The truth is that most people already DO have a six pack but it is covered in a large amount of fat that hides the visibility of their six pack. I am willing to bet that most of you have seen a skinny guy that has little to no muscle but has a six pack. The only reason why anyone would have a six pack is because he or she has a low body fat percentage. In the rest of this post, I will give you three goals (in order of importance) that one should strive for in order to get to a low body fat percentage and have a six pack.
Goal #1 - Get your diet in check and stick to it
This is the most important goal to achieve in order to get your six pack. As I have mentioned previously, most of us already have a six pack that is just covered by fat rendering it invisible. To make this fat go away, we have to start losing weight. Some people believe that doing a tons of abdominal work such a crunches will "burn" the fat away. This could not be anymore wrong, there is no way to SPOT reduce. That is, we cannot target one area of our body (in this case our abdominal region) and say I am going to lose fat here and only here. When you lose weight, fat will come off your body in almost all areas. Unfortunately, the last place the body tends to take fat from is the lower abdominal region. This is because that area is the closest to the liver which can be mobilized fairly quickly.
To find out how to get your diet in check and lose weight click here.
Goal #2 - Incorporate weighted abdominal exercises along with body weight exercises
I mentioned previously that you cannot "spot reduce" fat. While that is 100% true, there is a way to make it easier for your six pack to be seen. This involves the building and strengthening of your abdominal muscles. If you make your abdominal muscles harder and shapely, it will be easier for your six pack to be visible. So you could be at a higher body fat % and still see your six pack. Using weights in your abdominal exercise will not make your stomach overly bulky but if it is done correctly coupled with body weight abdominal exercises it can help shape you a wonderful six pack. Some abdominal exercises that involves weights are weighted crunches and weighted leg raises.
Goal #3 - Start doing cardiovascular exercise
It is suggested that you start doing cardiovascular exercise to help bring in your six pack. Although it is not 100% necessary to do in order to get your six pack, it will help decrease the time it takes to get it. Not only does it help you burn extra calories, it also helps strengthen your cardiovascular endurance. There are different forms of cardiovascular exercise that will be covered in the next post but for now you should be aiming for at least thirty minutes per cardiovascular training session. The amount of times per week cardiovascular exercise should be performed varies on the individual. Just be sure not to overdo it and as a general rule you should take a day off in between cardiovascular training sessions.
If you follow these three goals and stick to them, you will have your six pack in no time. People always seem to be impatient and want results right away. The time it takes to get your six pack depends solely on your current status (body composition). The more fat you have around your midsection, the more time it take to get your six pack and vice versa.
I also want to note that not everyone is capable of achieving a six pack. Depending on your genetics, it is possible that you have an eight pack. It is also possible that you have a four pack. It is VERY rare to see someone with more than eight and less than four. Most people have a six pack and it is NOT possible to add or take away any "packs", so be happy with what you have!