This is a question I get asked by a lot of men. Never when other men are around though. It's always when I'm alone. Despite what you read in fitness magazines, getting a six pack in 6 weeks is either a venture for the genetically gifted or an athlete who has been deconditioned before hand. For the rest of society, it will take longer than 6 weeks and it will take longer than a few exercises in a £3.99 magazine. So here a few common rules about getting a 6 pack which circle the fitness industry.
1. Abs are made in the kitchen.
2. Eat slightly lower complex carbs than you currently are and very little refined carbs.
3. Eradicate all forms of sugar.
4. Lift weights.
5. Perform interval training.
6. Eat more protein.
7. Cut out alcohol.
8. Increase your intake of Omega 3.
9. Fasted workouts.
I doubt you would see all these in a magazine as it will leave the reader bemused. The reality is you need to work damn hard to get a 6 pack. If you stick to a long-term program you will achieve good results.
Here is a sample week of a client who has never had visible abs in his entire life until he was 46. Even when he was leaner in his teens, he didn't have abs like he does now.
Warning. This program is fully supervised and shouldn't be done without professional guidance.
Fast until lunch. Late lunch, protein salad. Boxing training/cardio. protein shake after. Light evening meal of 25g of brown rice with a small piece of protein and some veg.
Trains with me. Protein smoothie after workout. Lunch, 25-35g rice with piece of fish and vegetables. Small snack around 3. Avocado/nuts with a piece of chicken and a piece of fruit. Evening meal of dark green salad, vegetables and piece of fish.
Long fast. Eats at 6pm. Just has water and a green drink throughout the day.
Train with me. Same as Tuesday.
Same as Tuesday.
Soaked porridge for breakfast. Sometimes something much worse. Salad for lunch. Evening meal mainly unknown along with copious amounts of alcohol.
Light breakfast, Light lunch and Sunday meal with his family.
We don't do any conventional cardio. He only sprints for about 30 seconds on a treadmill. His weight training during a fat burning phase is one day of German Body composition training (reps lasting for 40 seconds with short rest intervals). The other days are sprints and weights. During which his heart rate is pretty high. During a fat loss cycle, all workouts are fasted.
He aims for about 150g of protein on training days. As it is high (ish depending on who you speak to), I wanted him to substitute animal protein for a plant based protein shake to not contribute to the load on his liver. Also to keep his diet mainly alkaline. There was no difference during the change. Low carbs during a fat loss cycle. 100-150g during a building phase.
Supplements. Fish oil, protein shake (a vegan shake), green drink, amino acids, sometimes creatine and ZMA to aid recovery. You could get by without them but I couldn't say whether you would not be able to get out of bed or whether you would last the day after your training session. I'm not overly keen on creatine as even though there is plenty of evidence to say that it works, I'm not convinced that is is essential. So he only has it after his session. This is specific for the kind of training we do. It isn't for everyone
Just to add, this is a typical good week. We have had weeks when his socialising can be quite erratic and he would probably be much leaner and got results faster. However, it's all about knowing what balance works for you and I think he's done pretty well. He's now at 12.5%. If you did half of what he does, you would get pretty good results too.
Do you want to see specific workouts?