I really thought I had heard it all until Australian paparazzo Darryn Lyons appeared in Celebrity Big Brother UK sporting a surgically-enhanced six-pack.
Last time I checked there were only six ways to achieve this 'sculpted' look and none of them involved knives.
Darryn's shortcut at the surgeons breaks the cardinal rules of health and fitness which demand hard work in return for muscle, and instead of appearing strong and fit, he looks a bit like a barrel-bodied turtle.
So here are my tips on how you can get a six pack for real:
1. Don’t focus on your abs; focus on full body movements
If you’re 20kgs overweight, then don’t worry about excessive sit ups and crunches. You’re wasting your time by isolating too early. You can’t put $15,000 pimp my ride rims on a beat up,’72 Holden and think you’ve got yourself a sweet ride, right? The body works the same way. If you think a six-pack is merely 1,000 crunches per day away, you’re wrong. Just get moving. Start losing weight. Compound exercises like squat-shoulder presses, lunge-bicep curls, push-ups, kettlebell swings and dead lifts all require abdominal and core strength. Many weight bearing exercises call upon your abs without realising it. So first, get fit with full body, functional movements. Then, start thinking about sculpting your abs.
2. Get lean, not huge
Change your mindset about the need to get massive, because we all have ab muscles. It’s just a matter of getting lean enough to show them off. Brad Pitt is the six-pack poster boy in films such as Troy, Snatch, and Fight Club. He has never been WWE wrestler huge. He was lean and toned and probably weighed under 80kgs at +180cms tall during Fight Club. The ladies prefer lean and toned anyway, so don’t stress about the need to get freakin’ huge to have a good mid-section.
3. Get serious about nutrition
Put down the bacon and egg rolls, sugary drinks, beers, desserts, and fast-fried foods as they will only aid you in your journey to get a junk-pack. Ask any bodybuilder (all-natural or not) what the worst part of getting their body ready to show is, and they will tell you about the hellish, 12 week water-with-brown-rice-and-poached-chicken-diet that they consume. You may only be tanning and posing on the beach, but getting lean is about the right nutrition. Exercise creates muscle growth and builds abdominal muscles. This is 50 per cent of the equation. Diet and proper nutrition is the remaining 50 per cent that creates a window to see those muscles.
4. Perform ab exercises
When your overall fitness has increased, perform ab isolation exercises of sit ups, v-ups, glute-hamstring developer sit ups, planks/crunches and side crunches, burpees, leg-raises and on and on, and on. There are more core and ab exercises than one can google, and they pretty much all work. Opinions in the industry vary on reps, tempo, and sessions per week, but if you isolate 3 times per week, that is a good start to strengthening and toning your abdominals.
5) Don’t do these things
Don’t order the gimmicky ab machine on Dial 1800 abs for 4 easy payments of $49.95. In a public gym, don’t ever pull up your shirt, flex, then check your abs out in the mirror, then repeat with a side flex and suck in. Don’t ever pull your neck forward to propel yourself during ab exercises – you will hurt yourself. Don’t forget about back exercises, because a good body is a balanced body.
6) Remember the cardio
Develop a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) program for scientifically proven results. You don’t walk or skip your way to a six-pack; you do it by increasing the intensity of your cardio sessions. Intense cardio sessions will help shed the outer layer of fat, creating that window to show off your abs.
And don’t get obsessed. A lean and toned abdominal section is healthy - an obsession with a 6-pack is not. It takes dedication to doing what’s right all while saying ‘no’ to the naughty, fun bits in life that you might experience at the pub with mates. Which brings up the last rule...
The last rule of getting a 6 pack is: Don’t break any one of the rules above. Break one, and your tummy will simply remain your sweetheart’s speed bump of love.