If getting a chiseled, well-defined abdomen is one of your goals, you may be wondering how long it takes to get that coveted six-pack. But the truth is, it will probably take longer than you think. So be patient.
The key to getting six-pack abs is to burn the subcutaneous abdominal fat that sits between your ab muscles and the skin. Depending on your current body weight, genetics and approaches to nutrition and exercise, burning that fat may take 6 months or more than 1-2 years even if you follow a strict diet and exercise routine.
Most people need to lose at least 50% of their body fat for their abs to be visible. And fitness experts report that 1% of body fat loss per month is both safe and attainable. Given these numbers, getting six-pack abs may take:
- 20-26 months for the average woman
- 15-21 months for the average man
According to some studies, 12 weeks of strength training together with aerobic exercise may be more efficient at reducing body fat than aerobic exercise alone.
While getting a six-pack is definitely not easy, it’s a huge achievement that can have a positive impact on both your health and other aspects of your life.
6 steps to getting a 6-pack
1. Start exercising
If you have excess fat and you want a six-pack, your first step is to get your body mass index down to the level where your abdominal muscles can be visible.
- Start by doing 15 minutes of intense exercise after work.
- Harness the power of habit. If you can keep up the discipline, you will start to notice changes that set off a chain reaction of new habits and new wins.
2. Strengthen your core muscles
To be able to work on your core, you need to do exercises targeted towards strengthening your abs and back.
- Planks are a good whole body workout that strengthens both your core and back muscles.
- Reverse crunches work your lower abs and bicycling works your side abs. Just make sure to work on both sides evenly.
3. Try weight training
Getting a six-pack means you have to work on the rest of your body too. Working with weights helps strengthen your muscles and increase your stamina and ability to exercise more intensely.
4. Do cardio every day
Cardio is the fastest way to lose fat. You can swim, cycle, play a sport you like or just get on the treadmill.
Many fitness trainers believe that high-intensity interval (HIIT) cardio training is most effective and shedding weight quickly. This type of workout is where you exercise intensely for 30 seconds, take a break then repeat 8-9 times. HIIT workouts may make sense for you if you don’t have a lot of time to exercise every day and need something quick and effective.
5. Change your diet
While a good workout routine will help tone your body, a healthy diet will help to drop unwanted weight. Both are equally important to get the desired results.
- Stay away from white carbs. Try brown carbs, such as brown rice, quinoa and whole wheat bread. Eat more natural goods instead of processed ones.
- Since you are cutting down on your carb intake, you need to substitute it with proteins. Your body burns more calories while breaking down proteins than it does to break down carbs and fats. Try to keep your protein intake in check by including whole eggs, Greek yogurt, peanuts, Parmesan, pumpkin seeds, etc. preferably in your breakfast meal plan.
- Incorporate fats, such as olive oil, coconut oil, fish oils, nuts and avocado. These items help reduce inflammation in the body and improve brain and eye functions.
- Eat at regular intervals and don’t be worried about eating so often. This will keep your metabolism busy. Take small portions of healthy snacks and you’ll be good.
6. Drink water
Water boosts your metabolism, cleanses your body of unwanted toxins and suppresses your food cravings. Drinking cold water is often recommended because your body works harder to warm the water up, which results in burning more calories. It may even reduce your intake of processed drinks and juices.