How to Get a Six Pack Fast: 5 Changes You Need to Make
The internet is crawling with supposed “secrets” regarding how to get a six pack fast, promises that if you just give up this “one” food or do these “two five minute exercises” each day, you'll see cut abs within weeks or months. Sadly, most of these methods don't work, and as many of us chase each new technique, the question of how to get a 6 pack seems to grow ever more elusive.
In reality, if you want to get a six pack in a reasonable amount of time, you will need to attack the problem from multiple angles, making a range of exercise and lifestyle changes.
5 Changes You Need to Make
1. Start with diet.
That's right—when you're wondering how to get a 6-packs fast, exercise isn't even the first place you should look! Instead, the changes must start with what you eat; unless you adopt the right diet, your abs will never “show” in the way you want them too. Very visible abs are thus because they are close to the skin, without even an inch of belly fat in the way.
Your diet should be modified in the following ways:
-Cut out “white” carbs and starches. Processed white bread, rice, etc. all cause spikes in insulin which both increase appetite and encourage our bodies to store fat around our middle sections, so they are the first thing that needs to be culled when you're planning to get a six pack.
This doesn't mean that you have to give up ALL carbs and adhere to the Atkins diet; a moderate amount of carbohydrates should be fine, but make sure they are of the whole grain variety, rather than being refined. Whole grains take longer for our digestive systems to process, so they don't flood our bodies with a sudden rush of glucose, ergo there is no dramatic spike in insulin, either.
-Ensure that you consume a hearty portion of protein in the morning. Eating protein for breakfast will help you build muscle throughout the day, and it will also reduce your appetite so that you are less tempted to over-indulge later in the day. Research conducted by the University of Missouri revealed that people who consume 35 grams of protein at breakfast are less hungry throughout the day and therefore witness favorable changes in the hormones and brain signals that control appetite.
Note, however, that this doesn't mean you can pile on the ham and bacon every day—calories still count, so try to opt for lean sources of protein, such as chicken breast.
-Cut out processed foods. Yes, this advice is everywhere, but for good reason: Processed foods not only add fat, refined carbs, and calories, they lack the nutrients needed to produce a healthy, energetic body, so they rob from your workout routine.
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2. How to get six pack abs? Look at your lifestyle!
If you smoke, often drink alcohol, or regularly skip out on sleep, you're going to need to fundamentally change your habits. You can eat well and exercise all you want, but if you fail to live a healthy lifestyle, you'll probably still be wondering how to get a six pack years from now.
Lifestyle factors matter on a deep and fundamental level; sleep deprivation, for example, has been directly linked to obesity, as it interferes with the hormones in our bodies that regulate appetite. Alcohol both interferes with sleep (destroying the REM phase of sleep) and tends to contain an enormous amount of carbohydrates. Smoking deprives our bodies of oxygen, so that they cannot effectively exercise or build muscle.
There's no way around it—if you want to look fit and healthy, you have to live in a fit and healthy manner.
research shows that people who drink large amounts of water do in fact lose more weight and keep it off long term, as water both moderates appetite and speeds up the metabolism. In a recent study, volunteers were found to have a 30% increase in their metabolic rate after drinking 17 ounces of water, which lasted about 10 minutes. It's not actually the composition of water which is responsible for this effect, but rather, it's the temperature—most people drink it cold, and the body must expend fuel (aka burn calories) to warm it up.
As such, in the race to figure out how to get a six pack fast, a large jug of ice water might just be our new best friend.
4. Realize it takes much more than just sit-ups to craft killer abs.
If you want to discover how to get a 6-packs, you'll have to research exercises that go far beyond the status quo of crunches: Look for workouts that target your whole core, such as planking (where you place your forearms on the floor and your toes on the ground, then raise your core and thighs off the floor), reverse crunches (where you raise your legs, put your arms at your side, place your knees over your hips, and move your knees toward your head), and “the bicycle”(where one lies on one's back and makes a pedaling motion in the air).
5. Don't forget the value of cardiovascular exercise.
While resistance training—the kind of exercises described above—are excellent for toning and building muscle, you will still need to blast fat away from your abdominal region through the use of cardio workouts. Cardio workouts include activities like running, swimming, boxing, cycling, and many competitive sports (basketball, soccer, tennis, etc.)
If you really want to take your abs to the next level, you should consider high-intensity interval training. When engaging in HIIT workouts, one exercises as hard as one can for 30 seconds, relaxes for a minute, then repeats the cycle 9 more times. This delivers one of the fastest, most intense workouts possible, melting fat and building muscle within the span of weeks.
As a final note, be sure to keep your workouts varied as well—just as our minds get used to things and become complacent, so do our bodies. To keep up an effective regimen of burning calories and building muscle, you will need to keep your body guessing by switching your exercise routine around month by month, working different muscles in a different order each time.
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How Long Does It Take To Get A Six Pack?
After implementing all of the above strategies, most people have just one remaining question: “How long until I get six pack abs?” Of course, there is no one definitive answer as every person's body is different; however, you can make some educated guesses based on the following factors:
- Your current body fat percentage. It's important to calculate how much body fat you have currently using an accurate method (the popular BMI calculator is not ideal as it cannot differentiate muscle mass from fat mass). The easiest way to calculate how much body fat you have is to buy a pair of callipers and use an online body fat calculator like this one. Note that you will need to get down to about seven per cent body fat for your abs to begin to show.
- How quickly you can safely lose weight. Everyone loses weight at a different rate due to natural variances in metabolism, so you should become familiar with the rate at which your body can safely and healthily shed excess pounds. You can then use this information to generate a fairly accurate timeline; for example, if you can lose 0.5 per cent of your body weight per week using a nutritious diet and exercise, you will need approximately 20 weeks to see your abs.
- Your current lifestyle. As mentioned previously in this article, lifestyle factors like sleep deprivation can strongly impact how quickly a person can achieve six pack abs. If you are getting insufficient sleep (slowing down your metabolism and increasing the prevalence of carbohydrate cravings) or taking in excess calories in the form of alcoholic beverages, you can expect that it will take two to three times longer to achieve six pack abs than it would if you were following a healthier lifestyle. Of course, sometimes certain lifestyle issues cannot be helped—for example, if you work shifts sleep deprivation may be unavoidable—so they need to be factored into your calculations fairly to avoid frustration.
If you don't see a six pack emerging within a few months, don't hesitate to seek help from a fitness coach or nutritionist; whatever you do, don't give up in frustration. With time, dedication, and the right strategy to fit your body, getting a six pack is always possible.