The question I get asked most often here at TheMuscleExpert.com is “how long will it take to get a 6 pack?” This ‘how long is a piece of string’ question unfortunately cannot be easily answered; nor is there a one answer fits all. However, in this article we are going to shed some ‘6 Pack illuminating’ light on this question as we attempt to give you a good idea of how long it may take you to achieve that coveted Six Pack look
The most significant factor in determining how long it will take you to get a 6 Pack is your starting point. The fact of the matter is that most people do actually have Six Pack Abs (or at least a moderately toned midsection). This is especially true for people how lead a relatively active lifestyle. The problem is that for most people, their Abs are covered in a layer of fat. So, the “not so secret secret” to getting ripped Abs lies in one being able to lose enough body fat for their abs to show. The question therefore should not really be;
“How long will it take to get a 6 Pack?”
The more appropriate question is;
“How long will it take me to lose a sufficient amount of body fat so that my 6 Pack Abs can show through?”
Most men need to have their body fat levels below 12% before their Abs even start to show. For women, around 16% or lower is optimal for results. The American Council on Exercise stated that around 1% of body fat loss a month is safe and relatively achievable. You may be able to achieve faster results using a few advanced tactics which we will touch upon later. However, 1% fat loss per month appears to be a good average and a very modest number to aim for.
All you need to do now is figure out your current body fat percentage, then see what percentage you need to lose to hit the optimum body fat percentage required to see your 6 Pack.
|Let’s use Joe Buff Blogs as an example. Imagine that JB Bloggs is currently sitting at around 22% body fat, and he needs to get to below 12% to see his Abs. Let’s say 10% to see a well-defined Six Pack. Mr Bloggs therefore would be required to lose 12% body fat in order to get the ripped abs of his dreams!|
So, 1% fat loss per months roughly equates to 12 months to a well-defined 6 Pack. This is a fairly conservative number. As mentioned earlier, there is no real ‘set in stone’ answer when it comes to time frame.
Results could come a lot faster than those stated above with dedication and effective diet and exercise methods. Of course, results could be a lot slower too depending on the individual in question.
It is worth noting at this point that there are also several other variables at play which determine how long your 6 Pack journey will take. One of these being genetics. That’s correct, as I am sure you have realised by now, some people just seem to be able to lose fat easier and quicker than others. Why is this?
One of the main reasons is all to do with Insulin Resistance. In other words, how well a person’s body processes carbohydrates and sugar. When someone eats a high carb or high sugar food such as bread, pasta or cookies (and MANY other items), this causes an increase in blood sugar levels. The body therefore must do something about this in order to bring the sugar levels back to the normal range. In response, the pancreas releases Insulin which then goes to work pushing all the sugar out of the blood stream and into fat cells instead thus making the person gain body fat. Some people are what is called Insulin Sensitive which means that their bodies react very well to Insulin and so they only need to use a very small amount of the hormone in order to bring the sugar levels back to the normal range.
However, for a vast majority of people Insulin Resistance is their harsh reality. This means that this hormonal process is essentially faulty. The body has got so used to a large amount of Insulin being released into the blood stream that the efficacy of the hormone wares off. As a result of this it takes more and more Insulin to do the same job and thus the person starts to gain body fat.
It is worth noting at this point that the condition known as Insulin Resistance and many of the asscicited health risks are more often than not, a direct result of a poor, high carb and high sugar diet consumed over a long period of time.
However, it is also worth noting that Insulin Sensitivity/Resistance can also be determined to a small degree by genetics. This essentially means that some people can be more naturally slim than others and find it a lot easier to burn unwanted fat.
Hey, it’s not all bad news!…’’
This may all sound like doom and gloom for the more Insulin Resistant people among us. However, knowledge is power and in the next section we are going to discuss how we can use our newly acquired knowledge in order to bypass genetics, lose more far more that 1% body fat per month and achieve those 6 Pack Abs far sooner than you thought!
I will encourage you to still be realistic with regards to your fitness goals though. If you push your self too hard you will stress yourself out, lose sleep over it, increase the stress hormone Cortisol which actually makes you gain weight.
So, with that being said, lets discuss some very powerful tactics so you can torch belly fat faster and see results sooner.
How you approach your exercise regime will have a significant impact on how quickly you see results. It will also determine how good those results will be. It is imperative that you include some form of strength training in your program. Both body weight exercises and training with free weights and weight machines will speed up your progress.
Strength training engages your core which helps define that all important 6 Pack. It also increases muscle mass and encourages the repairing process of damaged muscle fibres. Both these factors will boost your metabolism and help you burn more fat. With your strength training you really want to spend most of your time on compound exercise movements. There are exercises that train large muscle groups at the same time. Training larger muscle groups will allow you to build more strength, build a stronger core and burn more fat, even long after you have finished your workout. Such compound exercises include but are not limited to;
- Bench Press
- Lat Pull Downs
- Shoulder Press
Combining strength exercises such as these with cardio will form a solid workout regime which you can build upon in order to fast track your way to success.
You should also aim to engage in 20-30 minutes of HIIT cardio on your workout days. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval training and it really is the most effective form of cardio you can do to melt fat away. It involves performing short bursts of high intensity 100% effort exercise with short recovery/rest periods in between. For example, you could run a sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then slow right down and walk for 60 seconds. Repeat this process for as many times as you can handle. I promise you that this routine will dramatically speed up your progress if done in combination with a healthy, clean diet.
“Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym”
This phrase is thrown around heck of a lot in gyms and fitness centres all across the globe; and for good reason. It’s true! Well… mostly true. As mentioned earlier, exercise does play an important role in the 6 Pack quest. However, let me introduce you to another phrase which you have probably heard before and is also very true;
“You can’t out-train a bad diet!”
Drastically reducing your body fat and getting abs quite honestly is 90% diet. If you don’t eat correctly, not one single ‘secret exercise’ is going to get you VISABLE ripped abs!
As already discussed, the main key to losing fat and keeping it off comes down to keeping your Insulin levels as low as possible for as long as possible.
Forget Calories! Focus on Insulin; or the lack of it more specifically! If you keep Insulin low for long periods of time, you WILL burn fat.
Now we understand this concept, we can look at ways to plan our eating in order to achieve said fat loss. There two main advanced methods you can use, either separately on their own or at both at the same time in combination. The two methods do work very synergistically together. These two methods of eating whilst keeping Insulin low and in a way that it sustainable are;
- Intermittent fasting
- The Ketogenic Diet
I will be writing more detailed articles on each of these methods in the near future as it would be too much to cover in this one article. Needless to say, these two eating protocols are by far two of the most powerful ways to burn through body fat quickly. Both methods achieve the end goal of lowering Insulin for prolonged periods of time thus allowing fat burning to take place.
Intermittent fasting works because you are simply not taking in any calories (in the form of food OR drink) for a prolonged period of time. For example you would go for 18 hours with zero caloric intake, followed by a feeding window of 6 hours. Intermittent fasting means that when you do eat, you can be a little more flexible with what you eat. You still must eat clean, but more choices can be on the menu. Especially a few grams of starchy carbs here and there. Perfect for you ‘carboholics’ out there!
The Ketogenic diet on the other hand allows you to eat whenever you want during the day/night. However, there is a very specific macro ratio that you must follow. The ratio is as follows;
- About 70% of total daily intake from fats
- About 25% of total daily intake from proteins
- About 5% of total daily intake from Carbs
This diet is essentially a High fat, moderate protein and low carb eating plan, and it is a diet that in a way is mimicking fasting. By keeping carbs very low and fats very high your body doesn’t get that Insulin spike that causes fat gain and your body learns to use fats as fuel instead. We hope that by sharing the above information with you, we have enabled you to take action and significantly reduce the amount of time it takes you to get your 6 Pack Abs. Sadly there is no magic pill or formula that can make getting Abs as easy as sitting in front of the T.V. eating doughnuts. However, if you take action on the information we have provided here with the right mindset we truly believe that you can succeed.