What does it really take to get a six pack?

Promotional Every man wants six-pack abs. The problem is, not every man knows what it really takes to get them. At Ultimate Performance we help regular, normal guys get six-pack abs on a daily basis, so if there’s anyone who truly knows what it takes, it’s us. This isn’t an article to sell you on a dream of a supposed "secret recipe" we’ve kept hidden from the rest of the world. It’s about telling you what no one in the fitness industry is willing to: what it really takes to get lean enough to sport a full set of abs. From years of doing this, we’ve found that it boils down to five things, all of which are somewhat linked:
  • Priorities
  • Work Ethic
  • Ability to Suffer
  • Knowing Your Why
  • Precise Consistency
Before reading, please remember we’re talking about getting into extreme shape, not just a little bit leaner. 1) Priorities This is the number one key to any successful transformation. Life is all about priorities, and getting a six pack is no different. If this is your goal, you must hold it as one of your top priorities at all times. If we take a typical client who starts with between 20 and 25 per cent body fat, getting them to 13-14 per cent is no problem. Most clients can get there through following a good diet, training hard regularly and staying consistent. Going from 13-14 per cent to between eight and nine per cent (which is where most men will need to be to have a good full set of abs) is a little different and requires a much greater investment in time and effort. As a general rule, the leaner you get, the higher you need to place "getting leaner" on the priorities list, if you want to progress further. picture1 2) Work Ethic Being successful in anything requires a strong work ethic. Pushing from between 13 and 14 per cent body fat down to below 10 per cent requires a lot of work. Training three days a week won’t cut it. Skipping your cardio because you don’t feel like it is off the cards too. To get sub 10 per cent body fat, expect to be weight training anywhere from four to six times a week, along with between two and  six cardio sessions (a combination of sprints and fast walking). As you can imagine, this type of training frequency would require a great deal of time for the average guy, which is why it’s vitally important to first get your priorities in line. picture2 3) Ability to Suffer Where we see many men fail in their quest for a six-pack is in their willingness/ability to suffer the symptoms that accompany hard dieting and a rigorous training schedule. Tiredness, fatigue, hunger and serious cravings are among the most common you’ll need to experience for a period of time to get to the place you want to be. This is usually the stumbling block, and why so many never really turn their " four pack" into a "six pack." Guys will reach 11 to 12 per cent body fat, but be unable to withstand the social sacrifice and internal symptoms to push further. One of the reasons we do so well at keeping our clients on track to push past this boundary is that all our trainers have been through it themselves, so we know exactly how you are feeling. picture3 Here's UP Trainer Matt Parsons who, prior to joining our team, underwent 11 weeks of online training to get into best condition of his life. He now understands more than ever what it really takes to get a six pack, and can use this to empathise with his clients during their transformations. 4) Knowing Your Why All being said, if you want to take your physique to the next level, you have to know your why. You have to know why it’s worth going out in the cold to do your cardio, as opposed to staying wrapped up in bed. You have to know why it’s worth going to the gym instead of the bar on a Friday night. You have to know why it’s worth sticking to your meal plan, as opposed to enjoying the cakes with everyone else at the office. The "why" is critically important. This will help direct your goals and priorities, and help you decide what you’re willing to do to get the body you have in mind. picture4 5) Precise Consistency Whether it’s about building muscle or losing fat, the number-one rule for extreme results is consistency. No perfectly written plan works without precise excecution on a consistent basis. For a  six pack, this means there’s no slip for a bad meal, or a missed training session. When it comes to getting down from 12 per cent to 8 per cent body fat, you’ll need to be weighing your foods out to the gram, preparing all meals ahead of time, and staying meticulous with your macronutrient and calorie intake. Anyone can do this for a day. It’s when you need to do it for for to six weeks, every single day, that it becomes a real test. Getting a six pack isn’t for everyone. But if you know why you want it, and make it a priority, the hard work and suffering required to push the body fat envelope becomes much easier. upfitness.co.uk