This article will show you exactly how long it will take you to get a six pack if you follow the diet and training advice on this site.
Getting a six pack has everything to do with your body composition – how much fat is covering your abs.
Doing thousands of crunches won’t make your abs show if you have a thick layer of fat on top of them.
The key is to use diet and training to consistently lose body fat at a rate of around 1-2 pounds per week (more if you are very obese).
When you get to around 10% body fat for men and 16% for women you will have achieved a six pack.
Here’s how to calculate how long that will take for you.
1. Calculate your current fat mass
- Fat mass = Body weight x Body fat percentage
For example, a 200 pounds man with 20% body fat would have 40 pounds of fat.
There are several ways to measure body fat percentage, all with their pros and cons. I recommend using body composition scales, a skin-fold caliper test or a bod pod.
2. Determine your goal fat mass
Next, you calculate how much body fat you would have at a body fat percentage needed to have visible abs. Use 10% if you are a man, 16% if you are a women.
- Fat mass with visible abs = (Current fat mass/Current body fat percentage) x Goal body fat percentage
In the example above, 40 pounds of fat represents 20% body fat. So at 10% body fat, the man would have 20 pounds of fat.
3. Work out how much fat you have to lose
Subtract your goal fat mass from your current fat mass to get the amount of fat you need to lose for visible abs.
- Fat to lose = Current fat mass – goal fat mass
In our example, the man needs to lose 20 pounds of fat.
4. Determine how many weeks if will take
You should aim to lose 1-2 pounds of fat per week. Any faster and you risk losing muscle mass, which will cause you all sorts of problems.
Let’s assume a 1 pound per week loss to be on the safe side. To lose our target 20 pounds, we need 20 weeks.
And there we have it. It will take the man in the example 20 weeks to get a six pack, provided he consistantly loses 1 pound of fat per week – a very realistic goal.
170 pound woman, starting at 25% body fat.
- Current fat mass = 170 x 0.25 = 42.5 pounds
- Goal fat mass (16% body fat) = (42.5/25) x 16 = 27.2 pounds
- Fat to lose = 42.5 – 27.2 = 15.3 pounds
Answer: It will take 15 weeks for this woman to get a six pack.
This method only gives you an approximate number of weeks. It is not perfect.
Everyone is different.
Some people may need to diet to 8% body fat to get a six pack. Some will be ripped at 12%. Others may lose 2 pounds of fat per week rather than 1.
You will also drop some lean mass during a diet, which is not factored in to this calculation.
Use it only as a guide to plan your training and diet schedule.
Remember, getting a six pack takes time. There is no shortcut.