Many people think six pack abs come easily when you work out. However, this is often far from the reality of what it takes to shed enough fat and build the muscle you need for a visible six pack.
The answer to the question how long does it take to get a six pack will depend on where you are right now. Do you have a high BMI? Is your body fat percentage at a safe level? How much lean muscle do you need to build? These questions have to be answered accurately before you can even start trying.
What Do You Have to Do to Get a Six Pack?
The trick to figuring out how long it takes to get a six pack is to first realize you're asking the wrong question. Most people are more interested in how long reaching a certain goal will take, and that's exactly why they fail. Instead, the most important question to ask yourself is what are the exact steps I need to take to get a six pack?
The idea is to start where you are, and create a clear plan. If you're overweight, start with conventional fitness, using cardio exercises and a healthy diet based on low fat, low sugar choices, increased protein, high fiber, lots of leafy greens, and whole grains.
If you're new to intensive workouts, don't start with free weight exercises right away. Instead, try to combine cardio with basic bodyweight exercises. Use the first few weeks of training to progress toward doing at least 3-4 sets of 15 reps (or more) for most of the exercises you started out with.
A progressively higher number of repetitions will help you burn fat more easily. Walking (outside or on the treadmill), cycling, and other endurance exercises will help you slim down faster.
Once you reduce your body fat percentage to a more manageable level, your abs should already start showing. To improve that look, you can start increasing your protein intake and switch to machine and free weight workouts. This is where the real hard work begins, since the goal is to gain lean muscle mass without putting any fat back.
Whether you work alone or with a responsible and experienced training expert, you can set up an efficient muscle building plan that will give you the physique and definition you want.
Shedding Unwanted Fat
You can get a six pack as soon as your body fat level is low enough to reveal the first layer of the abdominal muscle and tendon segments present in your stomach area. This level ranges between 6 and 9 percent for men, and 16 to 19 percent for women (since women have a higher body fat percentage in general, in order to support possible pregnancies).
Getting a lower body fat level is therefore the most essential part of the process. The problem is that even if you're below an overall healthy level of 15-30% body fat, shedding that surplus percentage can be very difficult.
With a healthy diet, plenty of intensive cardio exercises performed daily, and a few additional bodyweight and free weight training exercises for added effort–and to prevent your body from losing too much lean muscle tissue–you can lose about 1% body fat per month.
While apparently small, this percentage may even allow you to get your six pack abs within a year.This is an excellent prospect for those who have never had their body fat level that low.
How to Reach Your Goals as Fast as Possible
The steps presented above seem straightforward, but they are certainly not easy. Getting a six pack can take anywhere from 3 to 20 months. So what can you do to speed up the process?
The plan is to work out daily. For fast results, cardio workouts have to consist of high intensity intervals in which you use short bursts to trigger the fat burning process more efficiently. Jogging and aerobics can both help you achieve your desired fat burning results.
Strength training is essential if you want to get a six pack. You should consider at least 3-4workouts per week training all your major muscle groups–first using only bodyweight training,then switching to free weights or kettlebells and even heavy weight training. At the same time you will need to avoid plateauing your strength training efforts. This means gradually but constantly increasing your bodyweight and/or free weight workouts on a weekly basis. Some have found incorporating the use of an ems belt can help with achieving results.
Your diet plan will also have to be drastic while at the same time provide you with the energy and essential nutrients to keep you healthy. A diet based on fresh produce and lean protein is ideal. It is important to reduce or even eliminate alcohol, refined sugars, saturated fat, fast food, and fatty restaurant meals.
The more you increase the intensity of your workouts, the faster you can get your six pack. Even though results may vary depending on your body type and ability to deal with high intensity training, you should still do quite well overall.