If you’d like the pure truth on what it really takes to create a six pack—even with ordinary genetics like mine—Read on!

The obsession to get a six pack is real for some people because having a six pack is considered the fitness version of winning the lottery — and utmost respect is given to those that dare to flash them around.

But honestly… what does it really take to get a six pack? The truth? The no-BS truth.

Well, anyone that tells you they have the “secret” to great abs or getting a six pack is completely full of sh*t. There are no hacks or short cuts, either. I want you to give up looking to people that only want to take your money to sell you what us fitness model competitors have known for years.

Out of the gazillion opinions and ideas on “how to get a six pack,” the two points which are tried and true and that almost every fitness guru will agree to is that you must…

Reduce your body fat percentage (through maintaining a calorie deficit over time) and secondly, you must train your abs directly. I’ll explain the training part shortly.

There’s no other way around it. I’m sorry that it wasn’t a diet pill or fat blasting supplement that will magically get you that six pack.

Most people train their abs directly by doing unlimited ab crunches. With little to no regard to reducing their body fat percentage through nutrition. All you are doing is building your abs underneath a layer of fat which is no different to respraying your car with a new paint job but leaving the cover over it. Nobody will see the results!

I’ve made all of these mistakes. It is totally frustrating. I get it.

You will be liberated from your frustrations once you come to realise that lowering your overall body fat percentage is just as important as training your abs in the gym.

Quick Summary

1. A great set of abs is developed and becomes visible by a combination of low levels of overall body fat (guys, usually around 10–12% BF. Girls, usually under 20% BF) and by training them directly. Yes, if you only care about learning the “best” ab exercises in this article without any consideration to reducing your daily calorie intake to drop BF percentage levels… this article will be a waste of your time.

2. Lowering your body fat levels is achieved by maintaining a calorie deficit over time. Irrespective of what you eat (i.e., Paleo, Vegan, donuts, pizza, “clean calories”)

3. Training abs directly by doing ab-specific exercises (I will list them below)

4. Don’t obsess over developing only abs by “spot targeting.” Having developed abs with neglect to other muscle groups will make your abs look ridiculous.

The Best Ab Exercises You Can Do

There are no “secret” ab exercises. There are no hacks or anything special with building abs. Again, there are only a few ab exercises that need to be done consistently to really bring out your abs.

Remember, abs are just another set of muscles. So they need to be progressively overloaded to make them bigger! And to make them bigger you need to be in a calorie surplus and getting enough protein every day. Not sure how to do that, check out this article over here.

MEAL PLANNING MASTERY

NEVER PAY FOR A MEAL PLAN AGAIN! LEARN HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN DIET PLAN WITH FOOD YOU LOVE TO EAT TO LOSE FAT AND GET INTO SHAPE.

The problem that you most likely have is that your overall body fat percentage is way too high to see your abs! Irrespective of whether you do 436 sit-ups in a day or 16 ab crunch reps in 7 seconds flat… you will never see your shredded [insert muscle group here] if your overall BF percentage is above 15% for guys and 20% for girls. Period. End of story.

This truth also applies to every other muscle group in your body. Your muscles cover your bones and your fat covers your muscle. If you strip away fat, you’ll see muscle. If you strip away muscle and fat, you’ll see bone!

Want to see muscle definition in your glutes? Sure… reduce your overall body fat percentage.

Want to see that same muscle definition in your arms (i.e., biceps?)…. Yup, same! The game doesn’t change. You get the idea?

Your abs are no different. Just another muscle group. You’ve just saved $12 USD on a bullsh*t magazine trying to give you the ab building secrets. I’ve just given it to you 🙂

My Anecdote

In the above photo, my overall body fat percentage is hovering at around 21% (according to DEXA.) No wonder you cannot see my abs nor any other muscle group for that matter. That “winter fat” is covering everything 🙁

At the time, I was doing a ridiculous amount of ab crunch and leg raises. Taking fat burners and all kinds of BS supplements. With numerous “experts” telling me that I was doing the wrong ab exercises and on the wrong diet. That I should be going “Paleo” or “Vegan.”

The truth is… when it comes to the nutrition side of losing fat, building muscle, and having abs, it doesn’t matter what you eat but how much you eat.

When I finally understood that I had to maintain a calorie deficit of around 2,000 calories per day. It didn’t matter what I ate, my body fat percentage slowly dropped. And it had taken several months of capping my daily calories at around 2,000 calories where muscular definition started showing up all over my body- not just my abs!

This will occur for both the guys and gals reading this. As you continue to maintain a negative energy balance or eat slightly less calories than what your body needs everyday, it doesn’t matter if you eat pizza or turn Paleo, provided you do not exceed 2,000 or so calories per day (for men) and about 1,500 calories (women,) the weight will drop and abs will start slowly showing up. Of course, these numbers are approximates only.

I wrote an article which will give you the three simple steps for calculating your calorie targets and macros. Go and read it as it will get you halfway to a six pack or great core.

Now check out this corny bathroom selfie.

What changed compared to the headless photo before? The ab exercises I was doing didn’t really vary that much. What changed was I dropped my body fat percentage down to about 10–11%. The before photo was about 21% body fat. I was doing the same exercises and eating the same food types… I just reduced the “quantity” of the food I was eating by capping my calorie intake and was patient for several months, observing slow but steady results.

Not only can you see definition in my abs and core, but also all…over…my…body! Which is why the aim is to never “spot reduce” the fat covering your abs. Whenever you cap your calories to maximise fat loss, your overall body fat percentage will drop. Your genetics decide where fat will come off last. Typically, you’ll start losing abdominal fat from the upper region of your abs before slowly losing it from the lower region. For most people, the fat covering the lower abs will come off last. You’ll need to be realllllllllllllly patient but it will come off eventually, often referred to as “stubborn fat.”

If you want a quick and easy way of staying on track with capping your daily calories, use either MyNetDiary or MyFitnessPal smartphone apps. I highly recommend either one or the other, it really doesn’t matter.

Watch the following videos from my YouTube channel where I will show you step-by-step how to configure these smartphone apps so that you can start reducing your calorie intake too, without giving up any of your favourite food! No kidding 🙂 Go watch them and then read on 🙂

My Ab Training Routine

Here is a summary of how I train my abs.

By the way, this was how I trained them when I was really building them. Once you have well-developed abs, you can scale this back. But you will drop whatever it is you are doing to train your abs and follow this.

  • Train abs 2–3 times per week (just like the calves. Abs are a small set of muscles that recover very quickly so they can be trained more often.)
  • One day minimum rest between ab training sessions (i.e., Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
  • 2–3 minutes rest between sets

Consistency is key, once again. And remember, if your body fat percentage is sky high, your abs will grow (with high protein dieting) but you won’t see them. Period. Once this makes sense to you, you will stop stressing about burning yourself out with 300 reps of sit-ups.

And the most effective way to bring your body fat percentage down is maintaining a calorie deficit. Trust me. It only took me a good 6 years to figure that out.

The following exercise list is actually my list that I have pretty much stuck to over the years.

If you are training for bodybuilding then it may be necessary to balance your ab exercises to hit-every-single-muscle-striation in your abs. But most of you reading this just care about getting abs, so read on and don’t get caught up in the fine details of training ab muscles. It’s pointless.

My Favourite Ab Exercises

I’ve made each exercise listed below clickable to a video demonstration of how that exercise is performed. But this is essentially all there is to it. I take the following exercises and plug them into my ab circuit (see below) and away I go 🙂

This is how I usually structure my own ab exercises. Just say I am training abs on a Monday along with my “Chest” day. I would first get my chest out of the way (bench press, etc.) I would then hit my abs last.

My Ab Circuit

  1. Ab wheel roll-out (to failure) followed by 2–3 minutes rest. Repeat 4 times!
  2. Leg Raises (to failure) followed by 2–3 minutes rest. Repeat 3 times.
  3. Weighted cable crunch (with enough weight added to produce 5–7 reps.) Repeat 3 times.

That’s pretty much it.

The general rule of thumb is to hit your abs with 1–2 heavy weighted exercises for up to 5–7 reps (this is how ab muscles are built.)

Then you can pick and choose unweighted ab exercises such as ab wheel roll-out and operate to failure (until you can’t do another rep,) rest for 2–3 minutes, and rinse and repeat for 3 sets.)

This routine takes me no more than 20 minutes! Seriously. There is no need to spend any more time then this working your abs nor is it necessary to burn away at hundreds of sit-ups and ab crunches.

Wrap-Up

I want you to start getting to work on what I’ve talked about in this article. I also want you to email me or leave your comments below if you have any questions. That is what I am here for. You can do it 🙂

MEAL PLANNING MASTERY

NEVER PAY FOR A MEAL PLAN AGAIN! LEARN HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN DIET PLAN WITH FOOD YOU LOVE TO EAT TO LOSE FAT AND GET INTO SHAPE.

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