As a dancer and mixed martial artist, keeping my body in performing shape comes with the territory. Having “six-pack” abs is a by-product of that. I get questions daily about how someone can get a six-pack and they usually want a six-pack as fast as possible. Before I answer them, here is a quick lesson about the muscles in the core.
What Are Six Pack Abs?
What people are seeing when they look at someone with six-pack abs is a person with low body fat and strong core muscles. There are five (5) main muscles that make up the core. They are the (1) transverse abdominis, (2) the internal and external obliques, (3) the diaphragm, (4) the erector spinae, and (5) the muscle that looks like a six-pack...the rectus abdominis.
Here are the TOP SIX questions about six-pack abs that I get:
1. “How can I get a six-pack like you, Flo?”
I always say, “You have a six-pack!” Everyone is born with a rectus abdominis. In order to see it, you need to lower your body fat. You can do this with your nutrition plan and your exercise routine. You get strong in the gym, but your abs get lean in the kitchen.
2. “What is the secret to getting six-pack abs?”
The secret to getting six-pack abs is discipline. You need to have discipline with your food intake. It’s very easy to stray away from healthy eating. Temptation is looming over you at all times. Having discipline is the secret to reaching most goals.
3. “Are abs made in the kitchen or the gym?”
The answer is both, but the kitchen is more important. You need to eat healthy food to lower your body fat, and you need quality food for the energy to do your ab workout in the gym. Without those two things, what you do in the gym won’t be as effective. Once your food intake is fueling you properly, the ab workout in the gym will pay off.
4. “How often should I do a six-pack workout?”
Since the core muscles as a whole are vital to our activities of daily living, I believe it is important to train the core three to four times per week. Workouts like boxing and kickboxing naturally work the core, and all fighters always end a training session with abs. Having a strong core will not only give you the desired look of a six-pack, but it will also help prevent back pain and maintain good posture.
5. “What foods should I eat to get a six-pack?”
When it comes to lowering body fat, it’s more about what you don’t eat! Someone trying to reduce body fat should avoid processed carbohydrates, sugar, saturated fat, and salt. All of these foods increase body fat and water retention. Be mindful of certain supplements that may increase water retention like creatine and whey protein. Always eat a lot of green leafy vegetables and high-quality protein, and don’t forget to drink loads of water.
6. “If I only have time for one exercise, what is the best one for six-pack abs?”
The exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your six-pack buck is the simple elbow plank. Master this move and hold the elbow plank for as long as you can. In addition to working just about every muscle in the core, it works many muscles in the legs, arms, and chest.
As you can tell from my answers, the recipe for six-pack abs is pretty simple. Make sure your nutrition is on point and dial up your discipline. You’ll lean down and your six-pack will make an appearance.