Get Six Pack Abs: Useful Tips, Observations and Nostalgia

The term “six pack abs” has produced many millionaires. Even today, quick six pack abs solutions remain a very effective technique to make money in the fitness industry.

Back in the day, I was a severe victim of the six pack abs propaganda too. As a teenager, I spent one summer doing all kinds of ab training routines downloaded from the Internet without a single moment of guilt. I would come home from my summer job as a courier only to do reverse crunches on my desk.

So, how do you get visible abs?

If you can’t see yours, it’s because they are covered in fat. It is that simple. The main rule of getting visible abs is losing weight so that the layers of protection can disappear.


Caloric deficit is number one. You may be eating a healthy diet, but if the overall amount of calories is too high, you will still have a fat gut. Many people live unhealthy lifestyles full of smoking, drugs, bad foods and alcohol but have visible abdominal muscles nevertheless. (e.g., Amy Winehouse, 2PAC, Snoop Dogg…etc.)

Are you skinny-skinny, skinny-fat or fat-fat?

Your current body composition will dictate your strategy. There are three main groups – skinny-skinny, skinny-fat and fat-fat?

SKINNY-FAT

Unfortunately, the fact that you are skinny does not mean that you aren’t fat. It’s sad. I know but so is everything.

Many people look slim in clothes but are obese (over 15% BF) and spot nice fat bellies resembling a spare tire. I was one of those people and know that getting out of this trap is not a pleasant experience.

When I joined a gym, I was around 17% BF in a skinny-fat format. I gained around 40lbs in three months and got to 23% BF. I know! An incredible accomplishment! Thank you!

In brief, I became more fat than skinny, although I was still skinny-fat. I felt uncomfortable and forced myself to lose 40 pounds. I was skinnier and weaker but 10 times happier.

What would I do differently today?

I would just keep my calories at maintenance or run a small deficit while eating a little more on training days.

FAT-FAT

Who is fat-fat? Individuals who are obviously obese but have some muscle underneath.

A popular example would be farmers who are strong but drink beer in large quantities.

When you are fat-fat, you “just” have to lose weight to see your abs. You can cut more aggressively than a skinny-fat person. The more fat you carry, the harder it is to lose muscle mass on a diet. {more}

SKINNY-SKINNY

Finally, we arrive at skinny – skinny. This group does not deserve a lot of attention since skinny-skinny people usually have abs already. Just don’t do high calorie bulking if you want to keep your abs.

FAQ

Do I have to train my abs?

It won’t hurt, but technically it’s not needed. If you are doing compound exercises like the squat and the deadlift, you will have some decent ab strength.

In all cases, there is no need to get mad crazy and do 40 different exercises as required by programs like P90X. Choose 1-3 basic movements and stick with them.

I am afraid of losing muscle. What should I do?

Unless you eat only grass for a week or two, you will not lose muscle. If you are over 15% body fat, and your diet is decent, losing muscle mass is almost impossible. The fun part is from 12% to 8% body fat, but you don’t have to be at 8% to see your abs anyway.

Will my lifts go down on a diet?

Depends on how aggressive your diet is and how much weight you plan on cutting. Obviously, if you drop 50lbs, your lifts will reflect it, but if you keep the intensity high, you won’t lose nearly as much strength.

Rippetoe said that only people with Justin Bieberz’ level of manliness care about abs. How about that?

Rippetoe can say whatever he wants. His athletes just get fat.

I would rather squat 225lbs for 10 and have abs than 350lbs for 5 with a 41-inch gut.

In addition, you cannot measure self-worth in such a childish way.

Alex_Lowe_Annapurna_3_Oct_96

Alex Lowe image credit: Conrad Anker

In the picture above, you see Alex Lowe – one of the most popular and respected mountaineers of all time. In his lifetime, he had plenty of achievements that would qualify as manly. Look closely at the picture and focus on his legs. How much do you think he could squat? 180lbs for one rep? I have no idea, but obviously, it was not much. However, he was capable of 400 pull-ups in a session and met many scary obstacles on his way to the tops.

It is all about priorities. The fact that someone places a lot of value in heavy squat numbers means nothing. Who is the bigger man? Ed Coan, Alex Lowe or your father? Only the creator knows for sure.

How long does it take to get abs?

It depends on how fat you are and how aggressive your diet is.

A general rule would be:

If you are 25%+ BF, you will need over 3-4 months to see your abs for the first time.

If you are 20% BF, you can do it in 3-4 months.

If you are 15% BF, you can do it in 2-3 months.

If you are less than 15% BF, you can reach 10-12% BF in 1-2 months.

Note: The body fat percentages in this article are for males.

Good luck.

Do it to feel and perform better.

Girls should love you with or without visible abs.

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