So you want a six pack?


Think hours of crunches will give you a six pack? Think again. If it’s abs you’re after then you need to completely rethink your training programme, says Brian Cash


If you’re looking to finally get ripped and are spending hours in the gym working on developing a six pack; then you need to stop doing crunches and heel taps and instead start looking at your overall training programme, commitment and calorie intake.

To achieve optimal body composition around your mid-section, and all over your body, you need to pay attention to both your training programme and calorie intake. It’s only by working on a consistent basis that you’ll the six pack you want. I’m talking weeks and months of training consistently well, having a structured programme and maintaining a regular, consistent calorie intake.

Be consistent

To be blunt, if your overall training and nutritional guidelines aren’t being met consistently then it doesn’t matter how many crunches you do, you won’t develop a six pack. Sure, there’s always a time and place for them in your training plan. But ultimately it’s your overall training programme and diet which determines how many calories you burn, which in turn results in improved body composition. Think of it like this –

  • calories burnt = calorie deficit through exercise = illicit weight loss / body composition improvement
  • Weight training = improved strength and muscle gains = improvement in definition

So what should your training programme look like?

  1. Mobility training / flexibility drills
  2. Weight training / strength training
  3. High intensity interval training (HIIT)
  4. Low intensity steady state (LIIS)

Ideally, you would be doing 3-5 solid training sessions per week. Start each one with 10/15 minutes of mobility drills. Moving on to 35/40 minutes of weight training, focusing on big compound lifts. For example, think squat / lunge / bench press / pull ups.

On top of your weight training get some cardio in; ideally 1-3 times per week.

Either HIIT work, which is an exercise performed at a maximum intensity for a short duration followed by a period of rest. Huh? Think prowler runs / burpees. All the hard stuff.

Or aerobic work (LISS), which is exercise performed at a light/moderate intensity for a longer period of time. Think a 30/60 minute walk/cycle.

Just make sure you don’t do both on the same day.

Stick to the plan

If you do this consistently and start to track your progress through body measurements, how you look in the mirror, how your clothes fit etc you’ll start to notice change.

Whatever you do, don’t keep chopping and changing your training programme because you don’t see a difference in your body straight away or you see something that “looks cool” on social media. Instead, do have patience, be consistent, be honest and don’t skip workouts.

What should I eat?

Over 80% of your calories should come from nutrient dense foods, eg chicken, eggs, nuts, fish, fruit and veg. So 20% or less should come from calorie dense foods, eg sweets, cake etc

And again do this consistently. I keep repeating this word for a reason.

It will be easier to sustain these nutrition protocols long term when adopting this approach, as when someone doesn’t leave room for a treat or something indulgent, they invariably break down at some stage and then go on a binge of junk foods etc. Try not to over consume at weekends with a blowout of beer, pizza, wine, takeaways etc.

Use your head, be sensible and you will still be able to enjoy your weekend with family and friends without going overboard and ruining all your good work you might have put in mid week.

Don’t forget

  1. Get consistent with your training
  2. Get consistent with your calorie intake (80/20% rule)
  3. Don’t blow out every weekend and undo your hard work
  4. Have patience and stick to the plan.


Dublin Fit Club is run by Brian Cash and Patrick Jennings, who together have over 30 years experience in the sports and fitness industry. They specialise in all aspects of conditioning and are experts in weight management, strength and conditioning, improving fitness levels and nutritional advice. For more information visit dublinfitclub.ie