Do you want 6-pack abs?
Every fitness program out there is trying to sell these to you. Some of them tell you to use crazy contraptions or devices; others talk about 90 days to being ripped.
The bottom line is that no video program, no contraptions, no amount of sit-ups or crunches, and no workout program that exists is going to give you 6-pack abs if you don’t eat according to a very specific nutrition program!
Sure, you need to build muscle tone. There are a number of ways to do that. You can do old school weight training, cardio, HIIT, kettlebells, yoga, or DVD programs to build muscle tone, but the single thing that all of these methods have in common is the nutrition.
You have to pay attention to what you’re eating!
- Control the amount of calories you eat per day.
- Moderate your healthy fat intake.
- Eat lean protein sources.
- Eat low-glycemic carbs.
- Be consistent.
Get Your Caloric Intake Under Control
The best way to do this is to keep a food journal. I thoroughly cover how to do this in my article series titled “Keep a Food Journal With Myfitnesspal“.
This is the first step! Whether you need to lose weight, gain weight, or stay the same, you need to have an understanding of what you’re eating in order to obtain your goal.
Eat Healthy Fats
Evaluate the food journal that you’ve created in Step #1 and lower your fat intake by eliminating bad fats and replacing them with healthy fats. What are healthy fats you ask? Check out this article I found that gives a pretty good explanation along with examples: Choosing Healthy Fats: Good Fats, Bad Fats, and the Power of Omega-3 Fats.
Try building upon each step in progression. Protein is important for building strong healthy muscles, and you can add protein without sacrificing the gains you’ve made in the previous steps. Poultry and fish are my first choices for lean protein sources, but you can also choose from a bunch of other sources. I cover alternative, non-meat sources of protein thoroughly in my article “Protein Substitutes“.
This is another aspect of obtaining 6-pack abs that I feel is really important but is one of the more difficult steps to master. Limiting your daily carb intake takes a degree of self control that is difficult to obtain. Controlling your carb intake is a huge part of controlling your overall daily calories. I do not suggest that you eliminate carbs from your diet. I’m suggesting that you manage them. Read my articles about Keeping a Food Journal with Myfitnesspal if you haven’t already. This will give you some kind of understanding on what I mean by “manage” your carbs. For the carbs that you do consume, do your best to eat low-glycemic ones. The South Beach Diet website has a great explanation on what low-glycemic carbs are, as well as a fantastic table full of examples.
I almost feel like #5-Be Consistent, should be first on the list because I feel that is the most important aspect of this whole puzzle. However, being consistent is also the most difficult point to master. Therefore, I’ve structured the list above based upon what I feel is the most basic way to approach obtaining 6-pack abs.
Getting and maintaining a 6-pack takes discipline. You may even encounter criticism and teasing from friends for sticking to a strict eating plan. I cover how to deal with this in my article Getting Fit: Dealing With Setbacks, Doubt, and Criticism.
I’m not trying to deter you from obtaining the sexy physique I know that you’re after. I’m just trying to be honest and helpful and to provide a clear step-by-step path that will get you these results.
Being consistent is the key to lowering your body-fat percentage, and having a low body-fat percentage is all it takes for your 6-pack to show. Men, you’ll see this happen around 9% body-fat. Women, this will happen to you around 15%. Hopefully, my explanation here and the resources I’ve linked you to will put you on the path to having the tone body and stomach you desire.
In all seriousness, if you stray too far outside of these guidelines more than a couple of times per week then I have to be honest with you and tell you that you’ll never have 6-pack abs. That’s the simple truth and there’s no other way to explain this. There is no gimmick and there is no magic pill. Work out, build muscle tone, and follow these steps I’ve laid out here and that’s it. It’s a lot easier said than done, and the waist sizes of most American’s are evidence of that.
Look good and feel good and live an active life!
I’d love to have your feedback. Also, I’d like to see your results. If you’ve gotten results that you’re proud of please share and inspire others!