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If I see another article talking about six-pack abs and how to achieve them (not including this one), I think I’m going to puke.

It’d be great if Google recognised such search terms and displayed a screen to the user saying:
“You look like you’re delusional and looking for a quick fix, how bout these three magic beans instead?”

Look, there’s no magical pill, technique, diet plan or exercise this side of liposuction that’s going to give you a washboard stomach in the near future.
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a culmination of factors that leads to abdominal glory.

Crunches won’t get you six-pack abs

Stop doing them right now. I know you’re doing 1000 crunches a day in a vain attempt to reveal a 2-pack, 3-pack or even 5-pack — but your efforts are being wasted.
The fact of the matter is, not only do basic crunches do nothing more than cause possible injury, but most of us work our abdominals and core by using the 3 big lifts anyway.

The 3 big lifts?

Bench press, dead lifts and squats.
This is ALL the stimulus your abdominal section needs to gain the size and conditioning for washboard abs, but if you want to actually see them, the rest is diet, dedication and giving up the things in life that you enjoy the most <sniff>.

Why can’t I see my six-pack?

Have you not been listening?
Your abdominals are more than likely covered with layers and layers of adipose tissue which has been culminating over your waistline since you inhaled your very first Big Mac.
You know, back when they were a decent size, and loaded with cheese and tasty, tasty mayo, and the sesame seeds were just right, and the bun soft and…

I digress.

If you aren’t willing to give up alcohol, delicious foods and dedicate your training to fat-loss for a decent stretch of time (read—months), you’ll probably never achieve six-pack fecking abs.

Sex plays a factor too you know

Not the physical act. I’m talking bout ‘gender’.
If you’re a gal, you’re going to have more trouble than most guys will due to having a genetically higher body fat level (sorry ladies, but it’s true).
If you’re a guy, and you like a beer or ten, you’ll struggle shifting that belly fat more than MaCaulay Culkin struggles to find paying jobs.

What about age?

Did I forget to mention age?
The older we get the more our testosterone and metabolism declines into nothingness.
In a nut-shell, this means that fat-loss (especially around the mid-section) becomes exponentially harder to achieve.

To sum it up…

Yes I realise Ryan Reynolds has six-pack abs as did Oprah Winfrey before she discovered the mince pie — but I’m surmising you aren’t a celebrity who’s VERY appearance can make or break their career.
I’m not saying you should strive for mediocrity, just be realistic with your goals.

And remember, six-pack abs aren’t the be all and end all.
You can still look amazing without them.

Editor’s Note: Like Six-pack abs, what other fitness obsessions do you find yourself adhering to? Comment below.

Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

More posts by Clint Nielsen

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • its all true what you say but there is a little ray of hope ..once you get your fat levels low and the abs show you can start to enjoy those little treats again .. I’m on holidays at the moment drinking beer, eating chocolate cakes, big buffet breakfasts and my abs are showing more definition than ever!

  • Clint Nielsen says:

    Rub it in why don’t you ;)
    The other thing I forgot to mention, is the fact some people are more genetically disposed to putting most of their weight round their hips than others.
    Person A might be at 10% BF with visible abs, whilst Person B might be at 8% with nothing to show for it.

  • fckloadsofsexgotmeripped says:

    Missionary, and lots of it.

  • Clint, you really nailed all the key points here about six pack abs. Crunches are one of the biggest marketing scams ever created. Lose enough fat and your abs will pop. I’m still working toward that nice six pack that isn’t only visible in favorable light conditions. I’m waiting for the new year to really focus on fat loss though since Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to derail me. For now I’m going to start working on building muscle with Phase 1 of Visual Impact.

  • Clint,
    I love your style of writing. Like me, you aren’t afraid to tell people the truth about losing weight and gaining muscle. There is so much bullshit out there about how easy it is to do this or how fast you can do that. If you want easy and fast, go find a hooker! If you want to lose fat and gain muscle, just get to work. Quit looking for the quick fix, put down the Oreos and get off your ass and get moving!

    Great post as usual!


  • Clint Nielsen says:

    This time of year is just the WORST time to be concentrating on your health isn’t it?
    A caloric surplus is unavoidable. Lucky for you peeps on the northern side of the equator, you don’t need to be beach-ready when St Nick sticks his head down the chimney :)

    Thanks mate, glad you enjoyed it!
    Unfortunately, quick-fix solutions are making a lot of marketers extremely rich, and the end user (the rest of us) left scratching our heads. ‘But you said 400% more fat loss with Product X. What happened?’ — You were just PWND by the fitness industry, Now try Product Y.

  • Hey Clint,

    So true!!! Doing thousands of traditional sit-ups and crunches WILL NOT give you 6-pack abs! The #1 thing you can do to help get VISIBLE six-pack abs is closely monitor the amount of calories (and in what ratio of protein/carbs/fats) you shove down your throat. #2 would be physical exercise…and I’m not talking running marathons, doing dance aerobics, or using a “fad” products or programs.

    Sorry, but I do have to disagree with your Big 3 lifts just a little bit. I haven’t been able to do barbell bench presses since my motorcycle accident, and I don’t have the equipment to do heavy dead lifts or squats. So…I have focus on interval training using dumbells and bodyweight exercises and I get great results.

    I do also combine some HIIT with core conditioning exercises, like planks for example, to help burn fat and strengthen/condition my entire midsection.

    You’re sure right about the age factor. Every year it seems to get more difficult to maintain my 6-pack abs. But I keep working hard….which is really the key.

    No magic beans. No secret supplement. No BS.

    Just healthy nutrition. Proper exercise. Consistent effort. Period.

    ~ Pete

  • Dude! (As we say on the West Coast), Can you make it any plainer (if that’s a word)? The Big 3, or, “work the big muscles to burn more calories”, as I like to say.

  • Clint Nielsen says:

    On the 3 big lifts thing — I was merely pointing out the fact that resistance training, no matter what form, will help you achieve the abs you require — just need to lose the fat surrounding them :)

    I’m wondering if there is a six-pack abs for dummies book yet… might need to publish one!

  • Activebodi says:

    I love the no nonsense approach – which is what a lot of people need, to have some of their muscle building, and fat loss beliefs brought up and the truth revealed, so they can adapt and get real results.

  • What a mind blowing read, I am ready for more…

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