Fast Track to a Six-Pack


Q: I’m an 18-year-old male. I have a little bit of belly fat. I can see my top two abs when I tense. My question is, how can I get a six-pack by spring break? What do I need to do? – Will

A: A six-pack by spring break? Doable! Get ready to shed excess fat and build muscle—the two keys to a “fast track” six-pack.

P.S. You probably already have a six-pack underneath that “little bit of belly fat,” Especially if you can see definition in the top abs. Ready to bring it forth?

Attack the Flab Around Your Midsection

1. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Interval cardio will burn more fat than steady state cardio (like running or cycling at a steady pace) and you’ll build more muscle. Interval cardio consists of short bursts of high intensity exertion followed by brief periods of “active” rest. This keeps the body off balance so it can’t adjust and hoard calories, and it also works multiple muscle groups. Best of all, not only will you burn more fat during a HIIT workout, you’ll get EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. What does that mean? More calorie burn post-workout! Get the full scoop in our metabolic circuit post.

2. Eat Healthier. Skip the refined sugar (what’s that?), the fries, and other junk food, and focus on maintaining a healthy, well-rounded diet. It’s important to incorporate lots of variety into your meals to make sure you get ample nutrients. We recommend eating 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day instead of 2-3. This will enhance your metabolism, reduce unhealthy cravings, and deliver plenty of energy for your workouts. You’ll want to steer clear of carbonation, as well—soda and beer are the enemies of a washboard stomach!

3. Drink Green Tea. It’s a metabolism-booster and antioxidant with proven stomach fat-blasting benefits. Don’t like the taste? You can take Green Tea in extract form, on its own or as a compound supplement (get it at any grocery store). Read more about the benefits of green tea.

While you’re losing that little bit of excess fat, you can jump right into your ab muscle workouts! Lean muscle mass burns more calories, so your strength training will fuel your fat burn.

4 Moves for a Rock-Solid Stomach

1. Keep Your Abs Engaged. Your core region (lower back, abs and glutes) make up your “stabilizer” muscle group. This powerhouse is constantly at work when you’re doing ANY kind of workout, so take advantage of this! When you’re lifting weights, or doing anything that uses your stabilizer muscles, consciously tap into that strength—keep your abs tight and posture solid, and you’ll see big results.

2. Use Compound Movements.  When targeting your abs, compound exercises are better than isolated ones. Why not work multiple muscle groups at once? Some compound movements that work the whole ab region include Planks and the Bicycle Maneuver:

  • For Planks, lie face down, forearms and toes pressed into the floor, and lift your hips up off the floor. Engage your abs, straighten your back and hold this position for as long as you can. Trust us, you’ll feel your entire ab region engaged! When you progress, you can also try a plank variation using an exercise ball.
  • For Bicycle Maneuver, lie with your back on the floor, hands behind your head and elbows spread wide. Keeping your lower back pressed into the floor and abs contracted, crunch across the body—one elbow to the opposite knee. Alternate continuously. This will work more muscles than a standard crunch.

3. Eat Protein.  Protein will allow your body to rebuild muscle after your workouts. Great sources include lean meat, nuts, eggs, cheese, and legumes. Another excellent source of protein is a protein shake, which can be one of your 5-6 daily meals. A whey or soy protein powder, when mixed with soy or skim milk, can give you roughly 20 grams of protein. Drink your protein shake at the right time for maximum results.

4. Get Plenty of Rest.  “Fast-track” doesn’t mean you need to work out every single day. If you work the same muscle group two days in a row, you’ll make it hard for your body to recover—which is when the actual muscle development takes place. If you are committed to working out every day, do cardio or active stretching on the days in between your strength training workout, and make sure you get the right amount of sleep too, because it’s prime muscle recovery time.

You’ve got a big goal, but it should be easy to get a six-pack quickly if you follow these steps diligently (it will require the same determination to keep that six pack when you return to school, of course!)

Get a six-pack your own way with a little push from 4-Hour Body.

More good reads:

Chelsea Bush

About Chelsea Bush

Chelsea Bush is a writer on the Ask Fitness Coach team and has covered fitness, health and wellness topics for several magazines. Her favorite ways to get fit: cycling, resistance training and keeping up with her boxer, Greta. Follow her fitness tweets at

  • Harrison

    So does it get easier or harder to keep a 6 pack going once you have it?

  • admin

    You don’t necessarily have to work harder to maintain a six pack, but sticking to a disciplined ab routine year-round can be tough! If you want to keep your six pack, you will have to stay motivated with exercise and nutrition. Don’t start slacking once you see those sculpted abs appear.

    On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with easing up on your strict ab routine sometimes. By maintaining balance, you are less likely to get burned out and give up completely.

    So why not commit to keeping your six pack through spring and summer, and then give yourself a break in fall and winter? You probably won’t need a chiseled stomach in the chilly weather months, anyway. Just make sure to stay in shape… or you’ll be starting all over again next year!

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  • ciara kearns

    I’m not a fitness coach but i learn this in PE. But if you have fat around the area your looking to gain muscle you have to lose the fat first e.g deiting slowly e.g eating 1200 cals a day while doing muscle and endurance exercise.

    Muscle Endurance Exercise Includes

    sit up- while making your way up to your knees you twist from side to side to develop the hip musle.

    the famous plank- but all your weight on your to back toes and your elbows. keeping your head facing the floor and your bum has to be low. Hold for 1min and then increase the time.

    These are the most effective stomach developing muscle exercises.

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  • Harrison

    So I’ve done a lot of ab workouts, have green tea at least once a day, and my diet is primarily eggs. I’ve seen that my abs are starting to appear but only at the top. The top are becoming more and more defined but I can’t seem to get the bottom to do anything. What should do to make my two pack a six pack?

    • Chelsea Bush

      Glad to hear you’ve been using some of these pointers! The lower abdominal muscles can be a little more stubborn to define, maybe because they’re more likely to be shrouded in a bit of extra padding.

      Keep working on fat-burning activities, and put extra focus on movements in which you can engage your lower abdominal muscles. The bicycle maneuver is one; another is simply lifting your legs up to a 45 degree angle and lowering them back down while lying on the floor (remember not to arch your back). Sounds easy but you’ll feel your core working!

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  • Russell Inversion Therapy Table

    thank you for your innovative idea for generating 4 pack abs
    this is a very interesting technique i am sure to use it

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  • Six pack abs great abs

    Truly educational thank you, I presume your current followers will likely want more posts similar to this maintain the great content.

  • DAN

    I am a student who although i don’t have a 6 pack, i am very well built!
    I recently had an appendicitis although i was in the middle of a strict ab routine over 10 weeks, as a result training is becoming difficult.

    the question is are there any exercises that i can do, whilst recovering from my operation to help tone my abs and keep the fat minimul?


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