By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 13 February 2017)
It’s impossible to lose weight in just one area. You could do hundreds of sit-ups a day and build a beautiful six-pack, but if it’s buried under fat, no one will see it.
Your best chance of getting a six-pack is to do both intense cardio and weight training. However, many people who get the six-pack have to go much further than this, not eating enough so that they’re constantly undernourished, which can impair their performance and overall fitness.
A very small percentage of people are naturally inclined to develop a six-pack easily, but most people require a very extreme diet and exercise program to achieve this, and even then, due to genetics, age (it’s particularly challenging to get a six-pack after age 30), gender (women tend to store more fat), and other factors, some people never will.
If you care more about fitness, performance, health, and strength, forget the six-pack, and focus on training to increase your power, endurance, and overall fitness. If you really want to try for the six-pack:
- Do lots of cardio exercise, including high-intensity interval training.
- Do a strength training routine at least three times per week that includes both compound exercises (exercises that target lots of big muscles simultaneously) and abdominal exercises (not just sit-ups, but also leg lifts, planks, twists, and other exercises to develop the full range of core muscles).
- Restrict your calorie intake, avoid junk food and fast food completely, and get your calories only from lean proteins, healthy fats such as olive oil, and complex carbohydrates.
- Hutchinson, A., PhD. (2011). Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights? Fitness Myths, Training Truths, and Other Surprising Discoveries from the Science of Exercise. HarperCollins.
- WebMD, reviewed by Louise Chang, MD. (March 21, 2007). Striving for Six-Pack Abs.