So you want abs, huh? Spend enough time on the Internet and it’s plain to see there are thousands of tips and tricks to help you get shredded fast. Usually in about a week or so. Most of them complete bullshit.
This article isn’t about that. We’re not talking about tips and tricks. Instead we’re going over a six-pack checklist. If you want a nice set of abs, get out your pen and pad. This is your six-pack checklist.
- A calorie deficit
This is the most important point on the checklist of all. If you’re eating too much, you’re not going to drop fat, simple as that. You can listen to Dave Asprey or any other blow hard that talks about eating 5,000 calories and getting shredded if you want. It’s bullshit though. Calories are king when it comes to fat loss.
The human body is a pretty remarkable organism, and over millions of years it has evolved to survive in the harshest of times. One mechanism it employs is storing energy when there is a surplus, which means if you’re eating at a calorie surplus you’ll be storing energy.
Energy in this instance is another way of saying fat. Too much food = storing fat. You can use carb cycling, intermittent fasting, iifym, or any other diet as a way to create a calorie deficit. All that matters is that you create a calorie deficit.
- Train for strength
Far too many dudes out there neglect training for pure strength when they’re trying to get a ballin set of abs. This is one of the most egregious errors one can make.
It’s natural for strength levels to dip a bit when you’re eating fewer calories. This isn’t the end of the world. If you’re not training for strength, think 3-5 challenging reps, then you risk losing more strength than necessary over the course of your cut.
Training for strength can also help you preserve muscle mass while you’re in a calorie deficit. Anytime you’re eating fewer calories you’re bound to drop a bit of muscle mass, which is okay. It’s not the end of the world.
This is why training for strength, and hypertrophy after that, becomes increasingly important. They help preserve muscle mass, which can leave you looking and performing better.
- Some cardio
I’m partial to HIIT cardio when it comes to dropping fat, but steady state cardio works well. The important thing about doing cardio when you’re dropping fat is that you just do some.
We’re not talking about marathon training here. We’re just talking about two, maybe three, cardio sessions per week, each session lasting about 20-30 minutes in total.
- Prepping your food
We all know the lame cliché quotes like “if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.” I hate those just as much as the next person, but in this instance that lame quote is on point.
Preparing your food is of paramount importance when it comes to dropping fat. If you’re just winging it when it comes to eating, it’s far too easy to succumb to temptation and binge hard on something that’s readily available like fast food.
Fat loss success is all about placing as much as possible on autopilot, or relying on routines and habits. If you’re spending too much time thinking, resisting temptation, or unprepared then you’re making it far too easy to succumb to temptation.
Food prep allows you to eat the majority of your meals as a function of habit and routine. The more often you do this, the more you’re able to control, which means you’re bringing yourself closer to a six pack.
- Allow yourself to live a little, just plan for it
This is where #iifym has gained a following faster than a new Kardashian. The idea of enjoying small amounts of junk food day in and day out is a total game changer to most dieters.
It might be practicing IIFYM or incorporating cheat days/meals. What matters most is that you allow yourself to live a little and enjoy the foods you love. My biggest suggest to clients about this is to plan for those moments of intense enjoyment.
By planning for a meal that’s off plan, or that you want to work into your macros, you remain firmly in control of the situation. You don’t run the risk of turning it into a full-fledged binge that has the potential to undo the hard work you’ve done up to that point.