How to Get a Six-Pack: Top Three Tips from Fat to Flat Abs!


One of the most desirable fitness goals of men and women the world over is to get a six-pack of sexy, sculpted abs. Who doesn’t want toned abdominals to show off in summer (or winter?!). 

Having washboard abs is a hugely achievable goal, but it is important to know that it will not happen overnight. It can, however, happen in a few short months or even weeks if you’re willing to work for it and already have a base level of fitness on your side. 

So, how do you go from flab to ab-fab? Read on for our top three tips to achieve a popping six-pack. 

Knowledge: Know Your Body Fat Goal  

When building or refining any muscle group in the body knowledge is power! When we talk about showing off a “six-pack” that really means revealing your natural abdominal definition, particularly the recuts abdominis. 

We all have abs, some of ours are just more hidden than others behind layers of body fat, and we engage our recuts abdominis hundreds of times a day without even realising it for example when we cough or breathe deeply. 

Once you start building up your abs and getting a stronger core, the next obvious step is to strip back that belly fat to show off all your hard work. 

When it comes to getting a six-pack, a key goal must be to achieve a body fat percentage that allows those abs to show through the skin and necessary layer of fat on top of them. 


So, at what body fat percentage do your abdominals show? 

For men the body fat percentage needed is around six – nine percent.

For women – who naturally carry and in fact need more body fat – that percentage is higher and is around 16 – 19 percent. 

Of course, the leaner you are the more likely you will have showing abdominals but it is important not to take this to the extreme and drop your body lower than these ideal percentages. 

Okay, so now you know what you need, the next step is how to get your body fat down to get those abs coming through. 

Diet: What to Eat to Get a Six Pack 

There is an old saying that abs are made in the kitchen not the gym and there is a lot of truth to this. 

There is little point doing a thousand crunches a day working on strengthening your abs if you continue to eat and drink poorly and surround the muscles with a lovely thick layer of delicious belly fat! 

There are all the obvious diet tricks to achieving a six-pack including cutting back on alcohol, refined sugar, carbs – all the good stuff! 

There are also some more specific diet-related tips to achieving toned abs with certain foods actually helping to promote weight loss around the belly and build lean muscles. 

Protein rich foods are a must so top up on lean meats, legumes, eggs, poultry, nuts and seeds. The macronutrient protein helps you build and repair muscle tissue as it has a high thermogenic effect on your body. 

And don’t be afraid of water! Keeping hydrated will help your metabolism reach its primal level needed to burn fat and reveal your six-pack. 

Those that drink more water can also enjoy a reduction of appetite that helps you lose more weight. Think around 1 – 2 litres a day depending on your age, current body weight and how much you’re working out. 

In summary? Keep away from refined carbs and highly-processed foods, swapping those for protein-rich meals and high-fibre snacks that make you feel fuller for longer. 

Exercise: Best Moves to Make Your Abs Pop 

Cardio is king in the case of stripping fat around the belly and waist. Any exercise you do that raises your heart rate and gives you that aerobic hit will help you burn that stubborn fat around the abdominal area that is often hard to shift. 

To help you reach your goal body fat percentage, engaging in cardio exercise 3 – 4 times a week for 20 – 40 minutes is ideal. 

Best cardio workouts for stripping belly fat? Think of those HIIT sessions (high-intensity interval training) that can be as basic as engaging in a few sprints. 

As with most fitness goals, a combination of both cardio and strength training will get you there faster so add specific abdominal strengthening ab exercises to regular hits of cardio.  

When doing a HIIT workout, adding ab moves into the routine will really give you the upper hand when it comes to a six-pack you can be proud of. So in-between your bursts of cardio (sprints, rower, cycling, jumping jacks etc) add in some reverse crunches, Russian twists and plank holds. 

Despite what many people think, crunches are not the best exercise for growing and showing off your six-pack. They won’t hurt of course but they are not the be all and end all.  

Instead, when it comes to the best abdominal building strength exercises think compound movements that use your whole body while focusing on an engaged core.

Examples include barbell squats, bench press and dips. Everything you do in our Electric Fitness CrossFit group classes.

To really engage and build a killer core, try challenging your stability against gravity with ab moves including roll-outs with a core-training wheel or hand planks with a dumbbell pull-through. 

There are of course some exceptions as always.

For example, when ab separation occurs. Known as diastasis recti and especially common in women during and post-pregnancy, this condition dramatically affects the look of your stomach and what abdominal exercises you can safely do. So, always check with a health care professional before engaging in a new workout routine! 

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