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Can you get ripped abs with 3 short workouts a week?





As we all seem to keep getting busier and busier, it seems that books and DVD’s that promise to get you ripped, hard 6 pack abs, in very little time are becoming increasingly popular. The market seems to be flooded with information products which promise to deliver the golden ticket to get an attention grabbing midsection, that will probably help you become popular with the opposite sex (or same), almost overnight. While it is a good thing to see that these information products are pushing people to start working out, the question remains, how far are the claims made by the creators of these products true?

First of all, any claim that sounds too good to be true, is most likely too good to be true. So if anyone promises “6 pack abs in 6 minutes a week”, “drop 10% bodyfat in 10 days”, “get summer ready abs in 6 weeks”, etc, then they are promising you a bunch of rubbish, and you better keep your hard earned money away from buying such products. The fact is, how fast you get in great shape will depend on how far away you are from being in great shape! So if you are 50 pounds overweight, then you will obviously take a lot longer to get in shape than if you were 25 pounds overweight. Plus the more out of shape you are, the easier or less demanding workout you should be aiming to follow. So if your conditioning is such, that walking up to the second floor, leaves you huffing and puffing for 20 minutes, then please dont be crazy to go looking for those “killer circuit workouts”, that promise great results in very little time. You need to get in some lighter intensity workouts first, before you try any of that hardcore stuff!

Having said that, there are however some great information products in the market, which teach very effective workouts, that do not require more than 3 workouts a week. These are workouts that are based on solid principles like progressive resistance training, interval cardio, and fat melting circuits. For anyone who tries these workouts, they will surely lose fat, improve strength and conditioning, and feel much better about themselves. But the question remains, will they ultimately get down to the point where they can actually have a visible 6 pack ab?

Before I answer that question, let me share with you some characteristics that those who have great 6 pack abs, generally have in common. These would generally include athletes, models, movie stars:

  • They are blessed with good genetics, and even before they started training, they were pretty muscular and lean to begin with. Plus even if they binge a bit, their defintion would not dispappear as fast as it would for those with regular genetics.
  • They workout 5-7 days week, regularly. It should not come as a surprise to anyone, if I told them that their favorite model works out on most days of the week. And obviously, athletes workout almost everyday, as that is part of their job.   
         
  • Unfortunately steroids usage is very common amongst those we see often on magazine covers. Considering the level of competition that there is these days, I dont think any professional athlete or model can afford to rely on natural limits alone. I mean even if you have a 4 pack, it just does not cut it, you need really ripped 6 (or 8) packs to make it! And this more often than not means, that they have to take steorids to take it to the next level. Similarly, even with athletes, steroids have become a common factor to stay in the competition. Plus lets not forget how often photos in magazines, and ads are photoshopped.

Now that you know of 3 common characteristics of people with famous 6 pack abs, the question is how far is it reasonable for you to expect getting there with 3 short (20-45 minutes) workouts a week? The answer will simply depend on where you are to begin with. If you are someone who is no more than 12% bodyfat, even with no or with very little exercise history, then yes, you have a good chance of getting a great looking 6 pack, with 3 short sessions a week, as long as you also keep your diet and lifestyle healthy. On the other hand if you are someone who’s bodyfat natually tends to be more than 20%, then I can safely say that you need more than 3 workouts a week to get 6 pack abs.

I have always believed that one must be active on most days of the week, to be the healthiest that they can be. You can be active even while doing light intensity workouts like Yoga, joint mobility exercises, walking, swimming, etc. While these activities might not help to burn off a lot of fat, they will atleast keep your body relatively active, and healthy compared to doing no exercise at all. And as far as intense workouts like weight training, sprinting, kickboxing, etc are concerned, for most of the population 3-4 sessions a week will work best, without burning them out. After all, most of us (including trainers) are very busy with work and family commitments to have the lifestyle to train intensely 6 days a week, and still  be able to recover from it, consistently.

As I said, that might or might not be enough to get you a 6 pack, depending on your genetics, and the fact that you train naturally without any drugs. However this type of schedule will definitely help you to get leaner. So while it may not get you down to below 10% bodyfat, it is likely to help you cut 10% bodyfat, and that could mean the difference between looking terrible and looking good, and also being unhealthy and being healthy. Of course, 3 intense workouts a week might help you to lose more than 10% bodyfat, if you are severely overweight. And think of it, when you wear clothes (unless it is skin tight), its very hard for the average person to make out the difference between a body with 9% and 14% bodyfat. So that means you will defintely look good in clothes, and I think for most people out there, that is a very worthwhile and realistic goal to have. And certainly even with a 15% bodyfat you will defintely not have an ugly body to look at (naked) compared to one with 30% bodyfat.


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