So, how long does it actually take to build six pack abs?
If you’re like most people, having a six pack has probably been one of your goals for a long time.
A lean, ripped six pack has become the mark of physical fitness and sex appeal in todays society. So it’s fair enough that you want a six pack.
Getting abs is fairly simple even though a lot of people try and overcomplicate it.
If this post we will discuss how long it will take you to get a lean ripped six pack like this…
How To Get Abs
As I said earlier, getting abs is relatively simple.
You don’t need to do hours of cardio on the treadmill or thousands of sit ups a day or even take the latest “fad” fat burning pills that the magazines promote.
The truth is, to have a six pack you need to work on just these two things:
- Losing that belly fat
- Doing the right ab exercises
No gimmicky ab equipment or supplements required.
If you want that lean, tight abdominal region that really pops when you take your shirt off, you need to have have a low body fat percentage and have developed the right core muscles.
As a general rule of thumb most guys need to get down to around 10% body fat to start seeing their six pack and most gals around 20% to achieve theirs.
Pretty simple right?
How Long Does it Take To Get Abs?
So obviously the amount of time that it takes to get six pack abs differs from person to person depending on their starting point.
The big question is how long will it take you to get your six pack?
The first thing we need to figure out is where your starting point is. AKA how much body fat you’ve got to lose before your abs start to show.
Calculate Your Body Fat Percentage
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the average American man has 28% body fat whereas the average woman had 40%.
There are a lot of tests that you can do to predict your body fat percentage.
The problem is a lot of them differ in readings and can be impacted by a lot of different conditions.
If you want to take a DEXA scan or use some calipers you can get a fairly accurate idea of your body fat percentage as a starting point.
At the end of the day what really matters is what you see in the mirror.
Here are some visual representations of what your body will look like at different body fat percentage brackets.
You’ll see the that the six pack abs tend to show up around the 10% mark for men. As you drop below 8% you really start to see vascularity and the cuts of the abs and obliques.
Women naturally carry more weight in their breast, thighs, hips and butts. They can still look as lean as guys but their body fat percentage will always be higher because of this.
This is just a rough guide and it should be pointed out that people with the same body fat percentage can look vastly different depending on how much muscle they have.
Let’s look at it this way.
A 160 pound man with 10% body fat (16 pounds fat) compared to a 190 pound man with 10% body fat (19 pounds fat.)
The 190 pound guy has only 3 pounds more body fat but a good deal of extra muscle. The 190 pound man will look much fitter as a result.
Visual representations are no where near 100% accurate at predicting your body fat percentage but they’re all you need to get a good general sense of where you’re starting at.
Losing The Belly Fat – How To Reveal Your Abs
So now that you have an idea of how much body fat you have to start with, the big question is.
How long is it going to take to lose it so I can see my abs?
Following a good training program and correct diet you will be able to start losing roughly 0.5 – 2 pounds of fat per week.
Obviously it will take somebody with 100 pounds of weight to lose more time than it will take somebody with 10 pounds to lose. Although the more fat you have to lose the faster you should lose it.
So somebody with a lot of weight to lose might lose it at a rate of 2 pounds per week whereas somebody with less weight to lose will lose it slower at 0.5-1 pounds per week.
You Can’t Spot Reduce Fat
One of the biggest misconceptions when trying to get a six pack is that in order to lose the weight on top of your abs you need to do direct core exercises.
This is simply not the case.
The only way that you can lose the weight on top of your abs is to be in a caloric deficit and lose weight off all of your body.
After all it would look weird if you lost the weight on your core and had ripped abs but still saggy man boobs, or flabby arms wouldn’t it?
With that being said, if you’re a guy your belly and lower back fat is going to be the last to leave, whereas if you’re a girl your hips and thighs are going to hold onto it the most.
So you might feel like you’re losing weight quicker in other areas but not noticing much of a change in your abdominal region.
As you get to lower and lower body fat levels you will notice the fat off your abs starting to go.
Six Pack Exercises
Once you’ve dropped your body fat percentage down to your target you will be looking good, but you may find that you don’t quite have the ripped abs that you were chasing.
You may look something like this
Which is good, but not the clear chiseled abs that these guys have:
Besides genetics (which does play a part) what the first guy was lacking is proper core development. While I said exercising your abs directly won’t help you lose the fat on the area, it is essential to work them to make your abs “pop” the way you want them to.
Hanging leg raises
The hanging leg raise is one of my favourite core exercises. Use bent legs if you are a beginner and work your way up to straight legged variations.
A great way to hit all of your abdominals as well as your obliques. Make sure you are keeping your core tense at all times during the movement and not letting yourself go back to the ground.
Ab Pulldown (Cable Crunch)
Cable crunch is a great exercise to add weighted reps to your core workout. You can also target your obliques by bringing your elbow to your opposite knee.
Ab Wheel Roll Out
The ab wheel rollout is a good stabilising exercise that you can ad to your workout. Make sure you are using your abs to contract the wheel back in and not your arms.
The Truth About Getting A Six Pack
Developing that lean ripped physic that you are chasing takes time. There’s no way to cut corners or cheat your way there.
Although it doesn’t have to take as much time as you may originally think.
Depending on where you start a couple of months of cutting can be all you need to get your body fat low enough to start to see results.
Once you’re down around that 10% and under mark you’re abs will be showing. Once you’re that lean you might want to focus heavier on your ab training to really develop the cuts in your abs and make them stand out the best that they can.