We probably all envy those people we see in commercials, with their perfectly sculptured bodies and toned abdomens and we think they are very lucky to look like that. Truth is, it has nothing to do with luck, it’s all hard work and commitment. Everyone can accomplish having a six pack but it will take time and some effort to get there. If you wonder how long it takes to have a slim figure with a flat abdomen, we can only tell you that you will have to wait patiently and follow some steps that will help you get rid of the unpleasant fat.
No doubt about it, crunches are the ones to get you closer to a six pack, and you probably tried them by now. These exercises really engage your stomach muscles as you will have to rely solely on your abdominal muscles to elevate your upper body from the floor. The more comfortable alternative is the ab roller wheel, which basically transforms crunches into a more pleasant and less painful workout. Instead of exerting your core muscles to lift the entire weight of your body, this device helps you slide smoothly on the floor while tightening and strengthening your abdominal muscles.
What is a “six pack”?
The biggest abdominal muscle is called rectus abdominis, and is a long band of fibers that extends from the pubic bone to the ribs. It’s divided into two halves, left and right, and each half consists of 3 segments that give your abdomen the “six pack” appearance.
Everyone has this muscle but it’s not visible in everyone because it’s most likely covered by a layer of fat that can differ in thickness. The biggest percentage of this fat, around 90%, is subcutaneous fat that you can grab between your fingers. The rest is visceral fat that surrounds the intestines and the liver. This part is the hardest to get rid of because it’s located in depth. Once you manage to get rid of these layers of fat, you will get closer to revealing that toned abdomen.
In average, men between 30 and 50 years have a fat percentage ranging from 11 to 17, while women the same age range from 15 to 23 percent. To get as closer to a chiseled core, a man needs to drop the fat between 8 and 14 percent, and women should be somewhere between 5 and 11. To determine the percentage, a body fat measurement must be made, and there are a few methods to do that, including DEXA analysis or a much simpler weighing on a body fat analyzer.
Burning calories is the way to getting muscles
The fat your body gathers comes from the calories you intake. You need a certain daily amount of calories to turn into the energy you require to overcome the daily activities, and if you consume more calories than needed, they will turn into fat. This is your body’s way of making energy supplies that you might later need. As such, if you want to reduce the body fat levels, you need to cut on the calories and have your body consume the ones it has previously stored.
In theory, 1 pound of fat contains around 3,500 calories, so if you need to lose 10 pounds, you will have to burn around 35,000 calories, and this is not something that will happen overnight. As you will start losing pounds, implicitly calories, your energy balance will change so the results will last in showing, as your body will try to hang onto the remaining energy resources. This is why the process of losing pounds is not a very fast one. To answer the main question, it will take between 16 and 24 weeks for the average person to obtain the routine that will eventually lead to a firm and toned stomach.
The most fruitful exercises
It’s important that you replace fat with muscle mass, and for that, you need to gain more muscles. Exercises like squats, barbell rows, and bench presses will help you recruit more muscle fibers and burn more calories so that you will end up gaining muscle mass that will be visible in the core area. Heavy weight lifting will increase your chances of getting sculpted muscles, so don’t be afraid to push beyond your limits.
A vigorous cardio workout will help you get the most of a training session because it will not only strengthen your muscles but will also deliver the so-called “afterburn effect” where your body keeps burning calories hours after the workout thanks to the intense exercise. Running, stair climbing, or weight lifting are cardio workouts that can really help you eliminate excess fat by improving the blood circulation that accelerates your metabolism.
Foods that help getting a six pack
No amount of crunches or cardio will get you the desired six pack without pairing with a proper diet. It’s important that you eliminate body fat by reducing the sugar intake. Stop eating sweetened foods and pay attention to the hidden sugars in beverages, cereals, and bakery goods. Alcohol is also an enemy of a toned stomach, so cut on that as well if you want to achieve your six pack goals.
It’s also essential that you eliminate processed food, snacks, and fast food, and replace them with fresh vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. The healthier and more natural you eat, the closer you will be to your dreamlike abdomen.
To put it short, there is no easy and fast way to get that dreamlike six pack. It takes a lot of time and it requires hard work if you want to get to look like a fitness model. But the good news is that it’s not impossible, if you really put your mind to it. Once you get the hang of core training and you adjust your diet so that it will deliver nutrients and not unwanted fat, you are on the right lead to a chiseled stomach.