Six pack abs were much less common in the 1950s and 1960s films and TV shows compared to now. It was even considered malnourishment to have six pack abs during the Roman Empire. For the ancient Greeks, the idealized body was sculpted with six-pack abs with rippling pecs and muscles, as can easily be observed from Ancient Greek sculpture1.
Today, the media plays a significant role in influencing how people view the world. Mass media raises the issue and decides for the masses by selectively focusing on what it deems important2. The early 2000s saw movies like 300, in which Gerard Butler played a Spartan who had visible abs, which increased the desire for abs. Six pack abs soon became the ideal body for men and soon became the ideal body for women.
What is the Fascination with Six-pack abs?
Social media has played a role in the popularity of abs, particularly when Instagram became the most popular platform during the 2010s. It was once again the ideal male body that dominated our screens, with hashtags #fitspo and #sixpack garnering over 12 million posts.
We were being sold workouts to “get shredded” or “rock-hard abs” with quick fix guides and six-week challenges rather than lifestyle alterations3.
Despite the changes in the definition of beauty over time, one thing remains the same: abs. But what does it take to achieve visible abs?
What It Takes to Get a Six-Pack
It is a myth that people in their peak physical condition have perfectly sculpted abs.
The majority of athletes have visible abs, but defined abs aren’t a necessity in fitness. Abdominal definition may just happen naturally for some people – and training may have nothing to do with it.
The first thing to know about getting visible abs is that not all the factors are under your control. However, body composition can be influenced not just by diet and exercise but also by genetics.
Lifestyle also plays a major role in whether we can get a visible six-pack. Stress and sleep deprivation can alter insulin and cortisol production in the body. This can result in an increase in fat storage.
Are Diet and Exercise Enough to Get Six Pack Abs?
When scouring the internet for articles, blog posts, and videos that offer advice on how to develop a six-pack, it’s impossible to miss the mention of exercising and dieting. Is simply following these online workouts enough to achieve your goals?
Let’s find out if the reality is that simple.
Managing your diet is important in order to achieve fat loss. However, the key is not necessarily how many calories you eat, but how many you burn. Unfortunately, many overlook the role a diet plays in fat loss.
Diets are a far more significant factor than physical activity. This is due to the fact that exercise increases appetite – especially long endurance workouts, which could undermine the best of intentions.
A systematic review in 2012 found that over time, people burned less energy with exercise than expected with exercise programs. In addition, they also increased their caloric intake5.
Applying the 80:20 rule to your diet could be a sustainable method for people looking to make the lifestyle adjustment to eat healthier.
The Pareto Principle states that 80% of consequences are the result of 20% of causes. The 80:20 diet recommends incorporating 80% of your diet’s nutrients and leaving 20% for sinful foods.
This focuses on healthy eating with the message of moderation. It also avoids deprivation and allows a variety of foods, according to nutritionists.
Maintaining abs also requires self-discipline when it comes to maintaining results. It’s not just about eating more salads that are needed to maintain those abs.
These might include:
- Setting and sticking to a regular sleep schedule
- Planning your meals for the week ahead
- Preparing your meals in advance and taking them to work with you
- Working out consistently throughout the week by scheduling your workouts
Diet is certainly important, but exercise should not be ignored. People who work their abs every day without rest think that more exercise will burn more fat.
Crunching is effective for gaining strong abs, but you risk overworking your core and developing back pain. In addition, you may have poor posture. A lot of killer ab exercises can cause muscle soreness.
Your core muscles are important, but so is building muscle mass. Weightlifting and functional movement patterns are ideal methods of building strength in your body.
Strength training must be complemented by vigorous ab exercises. Additionally, you should train your abs multiple times each week.
Train your abdominal muscles on one of your training days for the entire session for best results. Recommended exercises for building a strong core and visible abs include:
- Crunches/Reverse Crunches
- Russian Twists
- Hanging Leg Raises
Unfortunately, sometimes these methods don’t provide the targeted results we are striving for. It is certainly not impossible for men to achieve their body goals if they are working hard but just need a little help.
Non-Invasive Fat Removal Treatments for Men
CoolSculpting (or Fat Freezing) is an FDA-approved, non-invasive fat removal treatment that uses Cryolipolysis to target stubborn fat cells. Cryolipolysis is able to effectively target stubborn fat pockets under sub-zero temperatures, causing the fat cells to break down.
By using a vacuum-like apparatus to apply controlled cooling, it can effectively target the areas at temperatures that go as low as -10 to -13°C. The fat cells then crystallize and are then excreted through the body’s natural waste elimination system over 3 months.
It is increasing in popularity as it is a non-invasive treatment to assist with fat loss, particularly the stubborn fat that men find difficult to lose despite other healthy changes in their lives.
SculpSure is an alternative method to CoolSculpting, providing a non-invasive, permanent solution for fat loss. It uses laser technology to gently heat and destroy fat cells. The apparatus is an applicator that is surrounded by a cooling plate to ensure only the targeted area is affected for the most optimal results.
In this body contouring method, fat cells are heated to between 42 and 47°C and destroyed. The damaged fat cells are then excreted from the body by the body’s natural waste disposal system. These results are permanent for the affected area. SculpSure treatments provide a dual benefit by penetrating so deep into the cells of the localized area that it stimulates collagen production. As a result, it is effective for tightening the skin as well.
This method of body contouring can help men achieve their physique goals with an efficient and non-invasive way to remove fat. It is particularly effective in the abdominal area, especially for men interested in getting rid of stubborn fat for a more visible six-pack.
Choosing Your Treatment
The abdomen is a common area where we gain fat and often is the last place we lose it. The quest to achieve visible abs may be a long and arduous journey.
However, if you’re struggling to budge those few pockets of fat around your abs, CoolSculpting or SculpSure are safe, easy, and non-invasive options to help you towards your desired physique.