Note: a bit of profanity in this post. Just a warning so you’re not surprised
Before the end of this post, you will know the real shortcut get a ripped six pack in five minutes!!! Read on to find out, trust me, you will be shocked!!!!
Here’s the shortcut: understanding that there is no fucking shortcut.
I’m sorry to tell you: you’ve been scammed if you’ve chosen to believe the frivolous nonsense floating around the industry such as “get a ripped six pack in five minutes” or any of the shortcut methods.
It’s all crap. And I know it’s crap because they all promise one thing that is impossible, and it appeals to those who don’t want to work hard: quick, effortless results. The idea that you don’t have to work hard to achieve your goal, that you can do this one workout or eat this one food that will allow you to reach the goal you’ve been working towards for so long.
Now, this post isn’t to be offensive or call anyone out. This post is to give you the truth about achieving a six pack, whether you want to believe it or not.
1. Abs are Made in the Kitchen
I strongly dislike clichés, but in this case, it’s acceptable because it’s very true.
All of the “gurus” want you to believe that you can perform their special ab exercise variation or technique or routine to get that ripped six pack you’ve been striving for.
What many don’t tell you, however, is that proper nutrition is the key to revealing your six pack. If you have a layer of fat covering your abdominal muscles, no exercise you perform will magically remove it.
In order to achieve a visible six pack, you must be at a low enough bodyfat percentage. In order to achieve a lower body fat percentage, you must establish a caloric deficit, which I have written about ad nauseum here and here.
And no, this doesn’t mean you have to eat “clean” and avoid all of the foods you enjoy, you just have to be meticulous about tracking your calorie and macronutrient intake (which I explained here), and you have to use the mirror and the scale to measure progress.
So, don’t be fooled by anyone trying to sell you their magical exercise program. Just understand that no matter what, you must reach a lower body fat percentage to achieve visible abs (there are some exceptions to the rule, but they’re just that; exceptions).
Does this mean abdominal exercises are worthless? Of course not. But, they’re not going to remove the layer of fat around your stomach; proper dieting will.
2. Pick Better Parents
The sad reality is that some people will never achieve visible abdominals, no matter how low their body fat percentage. Much to the disdain of the genetically disadvantaged, there are some who have a visible six pack no matter how much they eat. Such is life.
If you’re at a low bodyfat percentage, and you don’t have a visible six pack, it might just be that you picked the wrong parents.
Now, this isn’t the sexy thing to say and it doesn’t sell books or training products, but it’s the truth. So don’t dwell on this. Whether you have a six pack or not doesn’t determine your self-worth, and I’m sure the chicks/guys will still dig you.
The same could be said for other aspects of body composition and structure. For example, some people are born with broad shoulders. Unfortunately, there is no exercise that will make your shoulders more broad, you just have to live with your situation. There’s no use complaining about it or endlessly trying to change what is set in stone.
And, this is a problem for both genders. You often see females starving themselves and damaging their metabolisms in order to see abs for the first time. The problem is that this type of diet is not sustainable, and it’s probably not even worth the few weeks of visible abs.
Here’s a great video by Amber from GoKaleo.com explaining how she maintains her abs:
3. Train Like an Athlete
I’m of the opinion that everyone, regardless of the goal, should do their best to train like an athlete (now, obviously there are exceptions, such as those who have chronic injuries that limit their movement). The majority of professional athletes are not lean by accident. Sure, some of them have superior genetics, but they bust their asses.
They sprint, jump, throw, lift heavy things, and put a ton of emphasis on optimal recovery techniques including proper sleep and nutrition. Most professional athletes are not doing twenty sets of curls in the squat rack and waving around five pound dumbbells. Most professional athletes are not doing hundreds of crunches followed by thousands of side bends and hanging leg raises.
So make it a point to lift something heavy, throw something (medicine balls anyone?), jump, and sprint on a frequent basis. Not only will this help you in your pursuit of a lower body fat percentage, it will also make you stronger, faster, and more well-rounded overall.
Put on Some Mass Dammit!
Note: this next section is directed more towards men, but it can apply to women as well.
It’s frustrating to watch already skinny guys do endless crunches, hanging leg raises, and whatever other nonsense they decide to implement in order to achieve a visible six pack. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these exercises, but they’re not allocating time effectively. The time doing hundreds of crunches could be much better utilized perfecting technique and increasing weight with the compound lifts or simply to recover from training.
To top it off, they’re starving themselves and eliminating carbs because they need a six pack.
In reality, most people don’t give a rat’s ass if you have a six pack, especially if you’re 130 pounds and your ribs are protruding out of your skin.
I’m all for staying lean, but it’s important for people to get out of the mindset of wanting a six pack so badly that they end up losing every ounce of muscle mass they had in the first place. Don’t starve yourself and destroy your metabolism and mental health just to see your abs for a bit. I’ve been there, and it’s not the best place to be.
(I got very lean, but I also lost a good amount of muscle and strength. This was a result of obsessing over a six pack rather than focusing on eating good food and lifting heavy. Getting leaner didn’t improve my self-worth or make me a better person, and I actually felt worse at times. So, decide whether the six pack is worth it or not for you.)
Eat a good amount of food, consume adequate protein, lift hard and heavy, recover properly, and you’ll see the results. Don’t slave over a six pack. It’s not worth it, you have your shirt on most of the time anyway.
Hopefully your BS detector is now fully-equipped to deal with the rampant nonsense floating around the fitness community regarding six pack abs. Be wary of experts’ claims, and don’t believe everything you hear or read. There’s no magical combination of foods, there’s no magical exercise or rep and set scheme.
If you want a six pack, great, just understand the process that goes into achieving it and don’t get sucked into doing hour long ab workouts in order to get there. Nutrition is key. Genetics are key.
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