Can you really get a six-pack in a month? Yes, if you use a sensible exercise and nutrition plan, says Chris Walton, the director of personal training at London’s Embody Fitness and specialist in body transformations. Here’s his advice.
How quickly you can reveal your six-pack depends largely on how committed you are – and how prepared you are to ignore the standard advice. The NHS, for example, advises dropping no more than 1kg a week for healthy weight loss. Not only is that based on poor assumptions, it’s also totally unambitious. First, it assumes exercise isn’t part of the plan. Why? Because the second assumption is that weight loss is achieved by restricting calories. That’s in spite of mounting evidence suggesting losing weight isn’t as simple as a calories in/out equation.
Besides, getting a six-pack is not about losing weight – it’s about burning fat. And losing 1kg-plus of fat per week isn’t just possible, it’s the real way to reveal your abs. At Embody Fitness, we routinely see clients lose 10kg of fat in eight weeks. This is done through portion control and by using diet to regulate the hormones controlling blood sugar and appetite. We also train our clients in a way that stimulates muscle growth, as well as creating a “metabolic disturbance” that keeps their metabolism – the body’s fat-burning mechanism – high for up to 36 hours after training (see below).
In fact, you can eat more thanks to the metabolism change that comes from building new muscle tissue. This will support further lean tissue growth as well as ensuring the body doesn’t feel “starved” and hold on to fat.
A lot of people go carb-free when trying to lose fat. This is a mistake – the body reacts badly to a low-carb diet after two or three weeks. First, your thyroid slows production of the cells responsible for metabolism, and second, there’s an increase in production of the hormone cortisol. As well as storing fat around the belly, this breaks down muscle tissue and causes insulin resistance, which all spells bad news for fat loss.
So, yes, it’s totally possible to see your abs in four weeks. If you’re overweight it’ll take longer, but the immediate changes should be dramatic enough to keep you going until a six-pack starts taking shape.
Start your workouts with supersets that put your body in fat-burning mode for 36 hours.
1A Deadlift Works the back of the lower body.
1B Bench press Works the front of the upper body.
2A Squat Works the front of the lower body.
2B Chin-up Works the back of the lower body.