Having a 6 pack is like having a ridiculously good looking partner with a lack luster personality. It feels pretty good walking with them on the beach and you get a few more stares, but you know you’d be just fine without them.
Face it, abs aren’t going to make you any happier. In fact, I’d argue your pursuit towards them and KEEPING them can make you miserable. Do you want to be that one friend who refuses to have a slice of pizza at an outing because you’re overly concerned about the possibility of ruining your “perfect” physique. Before I go on, it’s important I tell you that I’m all for a great physique. Shit, who wouldn’t want to look like they belong on the cover of a magazine? What might shock people though, is the amount of effort and sacrifice it takes to achieve it, not to mention keep it.
I’ve worked with hundreds of people who’ll stress how badly they want a 6 pack. When I hear this, I tell them the truth: it’ll be one of the hardest things you ever do. Here’s a general layout of what it’d take to get a 6 pack if you’re overweight:
Eat less food…...yes, even the tasty ones.
There’s no way around this one. You need to eat less food than you burn in order to lose weight and reduce your body fat percentage. It isn’t all bad - you don’t necessarily always have to be in a caloric deficit. A periodic break from a deficit is healthy and is a necessary strategy for long term adherence. One thing’s for sure though, breaking your bad nutrition habits will be the most important thing if you want a 6 pack. They weren’t lying when they said abs are made in the kitchen….you just won’t be spending a lot of time there.
2. Plan your meals ahead of time.
You can’t just wait till you’re hungry and be at the whim of your desires. Listening to your hungry signals when you’ve had a long day at work will set you up for over-eating. Maybe you’ll need to spend your Sundays meal prepping or scouting through Uber eats to find a healthy alternative to the Popeyes around the corner.
3. Workout every day
You’re going to have to lift heavy at least 3-4 times a week and do something else to supplement those workouts the rest of the week. Think pushing yourself very hard in the gym and following that with an hour bike ride the next day. It isn’t for the weak.
I’m not trying to scare you out of wanting a 6 pack. I do however, encourage you to start thinking about how unsustainable it is. For how long will you crush your body in the gym? How many parties will you miss because you can’t have more than 3 beers? Are you prepared to say no to the tater tots on Sunday night football?
Let’s say you‘re all in. You are determined to get that 6 pack no matter what.
Now what? Is the paparazzi knocking at your door ready to put you on the cover of Health Magazine? Is that guy that you’ve been dying over finally crawling at your feet? Eh, probably not.
You can still look amazing without stressing over how a few cupcakes will impact your figure.
I encourage you to start approaching your health more hollistically.
Studies have shown that health encompasses much more than what’s in the mirror. A balance between social, physical, and mental health allows you to adhere to all the things that make those things possible for longer. There are even studies that show that having healthy social relationships can make you live longer!
So go to that party!
Drink a couple beers!
Have a great time with your friends and crush it at the gym on Monday!!