A Six Pack Ab and Muscle Tone Tip That is Never Discussed

September 13, 2007

Have you ever had a “hint” of a six pack abs, but not as good as you see in the magazines? Are your muscles “kind of” toned, but you want better muscle tone?

I may know your problem and I have a solution for you. This goes against what is currently being taught in many gyms…and that is why I’m drawn to it…plus it works extremely well!

Jennifer Garner Workout
(Jennifer Garner understands the “secret” to great muscle tone)

So What is This “Secret Tip” for Great Muscle Tone?

The way to get really toned to a level you have never reached is to “hold your weight” at a low body fat percentage for a long period of time. This is really what separates people with good muscle tone from people with great muscle tone. Not doing this…is most likely why your abs look good, but not great when you are in peak condition.

So Why Stay at a Low Body Fat Level for A Long Period of Time?

When you lose body fat, the size of your body becomes smaller overall. The problem is that your skin takes a while to adapt to this.

Your muscles are toned, but your skin doesn’t cooperate right away…It is still a bit loose and needs some time before it will “shrink-wrap” your muscles.

Whenever You Lose Weight, There is a Delayed Response from Your Skin

It doesn’t matter how much weight or how little weight you lose, your skin is always significantly behind in maximizing the look of your improved appearance.

If you want to really look great for an event or upcoming vacation, hit your target weight 2-3 months out and stay at that weight.

The “Old School” Approach Only Works Well for Steroid Users

The traditional bodybuilding approach to gaining muscle tone is to “bulk up” in the winter and burn fat in the spring…so that you look good during the summer.

This is a TERRIBLE approach to getting a nice looking body. First of all, you only look good for part of the year…plus you never give your skin a chance to catch up.

If you don’t mind the perverted lifestyle of bodybuilding…like needles, tanning cream, and dehydration…then the “bulk up” approach could work well for you. Good luck with that!

All the People I Know With Exceptional Muscle Tone are Lean Year-Round

Take the Hollywood Actors and Actresses with the best muscle tone…Brad Pitt, Jessica Biel, Willem Dafoe, Angelina Jolie, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Alba, Will Smith, Jennifer Garner, etc…

They never get bulky and always stay around the same weight. The guys and girls in my gym with the best muscle tone and six pack abs are the ones that follow this principle as well.

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonneh September 13, 2007 at 7:36 pm

I have known this for awhile, the whole “your skin takes awhile to change and get smaller too, once you burn your body fat”, but I have a question.

How long would you estimate it takes, exactly? As previously mentioned in a comment on “Train You Body to Burn Fat On Demand, By Getting Hungry!“, I have much excess body fat on my entire stomach area. Without this, I would otherwise be categorized as fairly thin, working on getting more toned. Most people who see me only see me with my shirt on, so they never get to see this fat that I have.

I’m just trying to get an estimation of how long it’d take for my stomach to look better (and get abs), as I’m doing the HIIT you’ve mentioned before (my legs/thighs kill me the next day, so I only do it once every other day), so I’m trying to get cardio down. But, if I did happen to burn my stubborn stomach fat, how long would it take for my skin to agree to finally be nice to me as well? 😛

admin September 13, 2007 at 8:47 pm


You are still a young guy, so it won’t take you very long for your skin to tighten up around your abs. Maybe just a month or two.

Keep hitting that HIIT on an empty stomach to shoot up your natural HGH levels and that fat on your stomach will have no choice but to get burned for energy.

You will get a six pack, but you have to stick at it for a while…it may take a few months, but once you get ripped abs they aren’t too hard to maintain.

Hope that helps!


Jonneh September 13, 2007 at 11:25 pm

It does help, a lot! Thanks again, Rusty!
That’s really what I wish I had to do – just try to maintain my abs. I’ve also heard that that’s not very difficult to do; I just can never seem to get them with my crunches! The next time I ate a meal, my stomach would look just like it did before! Haha, but hopefully this HIIT with plank’s will work out much better.

As always, thanks for all the helpful advice!

Jennifer September 14, 2007 at 8:45 am

I found the below categories useful for figuring out how much body fat is essential, and how men and women differ when it comes to an acceptable amount of fat.

If “what gets measured gets managed”, then knowing one’s body fat percentage can be a great tool in setting goals to decrease fat and increase definition. I want to buy a body fat scale, but I wonder how accurate they are (they send an electrical impulse through the body).

I always find that when I exercise to lose weight rather than diet alone, my skin does tends to tighten up faster! Thanks for the great comments Rusty.

Men Women
Essential Fat* 2-4% 10-12%
Athletic Range 6-13% 14-20%
Fitness Range 14-17% 21-24%
Acceptable Range 18-25% 25-31%

*Essential fat is the amount needed for optimal health.

admin September 15, 2007 at 1:25 am


Thanks for contributing by adding more great info! I’m glad you have the comparison between men and women…most of the articles I write, I refer to a man’s body fat percentage and this table helps people see what the equivalent is for women.

Great Stuff!


Tyler Durden September 15, 2007 at 9:04 am

Another great article Rusty..people don’t talk about it much either..
i got down to 144lbs 3 months ago. I’m the same weight since but i’m much more defined now altough i’m the same weight.
You have to give some time to your body to change it’s composition.
Do you think staying 144-140 for a year will make make really ripped?

admin September 15, 2007 at 1:36 pm


Yeah…if you can hold that weight for a year…I guarantee you that you will become more defined.

I’ve been around 185 for 3 years straight and I get more definition each year. Same body fat percentage, but much better tone. Just when I think a muscle is as toned as it is going to get…it looks more toned the following year.

You will look transformed if you can hold that weight until next summer.


Tyler Durden September 15, 2007 at 7:27 pm

“When you lose body fat, the size of your body becomes smaller overall”- i don’t know if you had this problem but it means you can’t wear a lot of your old clothes anymore…old jeans, jackets, shirts…i can change my wardrobe now and it sucks
i know it’s not a big deal but still i can’t wear a lot of my “old”(bought within a year) clothes.
2years ago i wore L,XL sizes, now my size is M,S.
Leaning down is a big financial investment:))

admin September 16, 2007 at 11:42 am


I know what you mean…I maily wear large and medium shirts and I used to wear XL. Completely worth it to buy a new clothes, if you wind up looking better!


R. October 3, 2007 at 5:51 am

hey, i came across your blog for the very first time today and i find it is amazing! i used to go on bodybuilding.com but i don’t really want to look like a BB so it wasn’t all that useful for me.

I am 21, 5’6 and weigh 128 lbs (I’m a girl btw). I read your article on eating one big meal a day and not snacking and i generally eat one large meal at night and have a light lunch and even lighter breakfast (i jsut cannot stomach food first thing in the morning).

I go to the gym 3-5 times a week and do HIIT training for around 30 mins each time along with weight training. I am generally pretty happy with my body but my only problem is my stomach. When i tighter my muscles i can see some definition but otherwise my stomach comes out when i eat…its not a very big stomach but i would kill for flat abs. I am ready to do whatever it takes to get a toned flat stomach. I already do leg raises, ball tucks and the plank.

I’m just wondering what else i could possibly do to achieve a perfect stomach. i’ve been working out on and off all summer but ive really gotten into it for the past month. how long willl it take for me to see results on my stomach? please help.

admin October 3, 2007 at 10:38 am


They don’t like my blog over at Bodybuilding.com. How dare I want to look good and teach others how to look good! We should all just get as massvie as possible…LOL!

Thanks for coming over to this site instead. I have a post that may help with your stomach problem a bit. You seem to be doing the right thing with HIIT. Make sure you do it after weights for maximum impact.

I wrote a post called “Bruce Lee’s Secret Six Pack Ab Exercise”, which was pretty good…but a reader posted a comment below that named Laura Kelleher.

Laura describes how the exercise called Vaccuums can actually shrink the size of your mid-secton a bit. It is a really informative post. I may even write an article about it with a video.

For now…why don’t you go over and read the post along with the comment by Laura: Bruce Lee’s Secret Six Pack Ab Exercise

Thanks for commenting by the way. I love it when people add their experiences to the blog…it has a community feel that way.


Rusty Moore

Brad January 10, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Fascinating stuff here. I have in the past just gotten lean for the summer. Maybe I’m cheating myself here out of some serious muscle tone, if only I had been maintaining my lean body year round. I learn something new from this site everyday!
By the way, I appologize for responding to so many of these articles and always asking questions. I just love this site and I enjoy learning more and more about being lean and in shape. Thanks man!


admin January 10, 2008 at 10:47 pm


No worries…keep the comments coming. People who spend a lot of time posting info on their blogs, love to know that people are getting something out of them. It is what keeps us motivated.


Ernesto February 2, 2008 at 2:23 am

Hey Rusty, killer site! I just randomly stumbled upon your blog today while googling “brad pitt fight club abs”. Here is my thang: I’m naturally skinny. I weigh in about 147 lbs and I’m 6’0 tall and I’m 28 yrs old. I don’t lift THAT many weights, but when I do, I notice any muscle that I get, is pretty noticable. I want to be completely toned and LEAN without hulking around embarrassing amounts of Lue Ferrigno’ness. I fished around your past blogs and have found some really helpful stuff..thanks! Now..finally..for the question.
I do ab workouts everyother day, or at least try to. 300 situps, and about 200 crunches. I do cardio everyother day for about 30 minutes at a time at a jogging pace, and have NEVER done HIIT(which I will start doing now to shave off the stubborn layer of fat that is blanketing my abs from showing)
Anyway, I have noticed that my abs are becoming rather ‘blocky’ in a weird bloated look. I definitely don’t have a 6 pack, but the silouette is there, as well as certain patches of ab muscle coming through. I want the flat board ‘fight club’ ab look. ::sigh:: I know, I KNOW, it’s typical, but I think I can pull it off with the right kind of workout.
Now…am I doing too many ab exercises? I’ve been endlessly searching all over the web for some sort of idea on how Brad acheived that ‘ripped’ look. I know his body fat % was down to about 5, so I got an idea in that realm, but any and all help/sugesstions would be great!!!

admin February 2, 2008 at 4:10 am


You will benefit greatly from two things:

1) High intensity interval training
2) Low volume strength training with heavy weights

What you are doing now is building mass in your abs, by having too much volume (too many reps). I have two posts you should read. These two exercises are exactly what you will need to build muscle density in the abs…which will give your rock hard definition, not that puffy look.

Six Pack Ab Video

Breath of Dragon Exercise

This will help for sure!


Ernesto February 2, 2008 at 6:50 pm

Very cool. Thanks a bunch!!

Tasha February 6, 2008 at 12:28 am

I have just recently lost 17 lbs with the one sometimes two meal(s) a day diet. HOORAH! But I am afraid of possible sagging in my abdomen. Do you think since I’ve been overweight for a long time and have lost the weight rather quickly will my skin ever shrink to my new body mass? Also I never did crunches, should I tone my abs more? Thanks.

admin February 6, 2008 at 1:26 am


How old are you if you don’t mind me asking. If you are still somewhat young, this shouldn’t be an issue. Unless you had to drop 100+ pounds.


Tasha February 6, 2008 at 8:26 am

I am 24 years old and I still need to lose another 30lbs to get within the healthy BMI range. I weigh 173 now.

Brad February 7, 2008 at 11:44 am

This article makes so much sense. As I used to follow the old school bodybuilding type method of bulking and cutting each year, I never gave my skin the chance to catch up with the rest of my body. I always wondered why I didn’t look more ripped. I had good muscle tone but not that ripped look I was looking for. It makes sense that skin takes a while to shrink to the rest of the body.
I can’t wait to see if this makes a difference with how I look this summer and from now on. I plan to get to my goal weight in the next 10 weeks or so. I’m hoping by mid summer to the end of the summer I will have been at my desired bodyfat and weight for at least 4-5 months. Do you think that will have been a sufficient amount of time for my skin to shrink wrap to the rest of my body?
Also, is there any scientific evidence of this that you know of? Just curious. Regardless I believe what you’re saying 100% and I can’t wait to try it.
No doubt, getting to a low body fat and keeping it there year round will be so much better then bulking and cutting. I’d rather just be lean year round.
Take care, keep up the good work!

admin February 8, 2008 at 2:04 am


You are still young with not that much weight to lose. Your skin will completely tighten up around your stomach if you hold that lower weight for a period of time.


Nobody has done a scientific study on this, but believe me it makes a huge difference. It really is just common sense if you think about it as well.


William February 12, 2008 at 10:48 am

Hello there,

I stumbled across this articles, its great!! Very true! I personally try to bulk up in the winter, because I can hide the fat [via layers of clothing] and around Feb I start cardio so by May when summer starts [we’re talkin the UK here :(] I look nice and lean.

Have you heard of http://www.darchy.com, they have a cool section on Health/Fitness, post your articles there, it’ll give you massive amounts of exposure..



Dax June 13, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Hey Rusty,

Love your website man and totally agree with you about what is attractive and what is not. I do have some questions, however. I’m a 33yo, 188lb, 5’9 male. I have some muscle, but it does not make up for all that weight. I would be happy in the 160s, I think.

When in high school I was always heavy, weighing 230lbs at my heaviest. I weighed 155-164 for years, losing weight with diet and walking (not running, isn’t that funny?). I was a skinny 155lb too, with no muscle. So, it still was not the look I wanted. I wanted to be fit, not just skinny . . . but definitely never wanted to be huge. So, I started weight lifting and have been doing so for 10 years now. I have muscle, like I said, but I think I just gain muscle slowly because I would expect to be perfectly fit after 10 years of exercise and eating right.

When I hit my 30s, it went down hill though. I got back up to 210. So, I started hitting the eliptical hard every day and lost 20lbs. Then, I gained 10lbs back. Then I lost 20lbs again. Then, I gained 10lbs back. Do you see where I am going? I was at 180lbs in December, and am now at 188lbs.

So, I totally believe that cardio, not weights, is the best solution for fat loss as I have been there over and over. I also was on an extremely low calorie (1200/day at my lowest), when I lost the 20lbs. I’m told my metabolism might be a mess. I still do weights, which is supposed to help with that, I guess.

Then I see Christian Bale lose 60lbs by eating a can of tuna and an apple a day and I start to think the slower metabolism stuff is crap.

Anyway, is there any advice you could give me to lose the weight, keep it off for good, and fix my screwed-up metabolism? How much cardio a day is too much (I have extra time on my hands)? How low can you go with calories?

Thank You,


admin June 16, 2008 at 2:04 am


I have a post that will help you big time!

Avoid Fat Loss Plateaus by Taking Strategic Breaks from Dieting

This is really going to make a lot of sense to you. You can go low calorie strategically, but you can’t just stay at that level forever.

Here is another post that will help you understand a few things about metabolism.

Skipping Meals Will NOT Slow Your Metabolism and Cause Weight Gain!

I know I can point you to the right info to get lean and stay that way…and yes it looks like you understand already that cardio is going to help you get there.

Here is a good cardio routne that will help as well:

The Stubborn Fat Solution, Lyle McDonald’s Latest Fat Burning Book

Have a great one!


Sandiee September 26, 2008 at 3:31 am

Hi Rusty,

Thanks for the great stuff….i culdnt resist myself and sat for almost 4 hrs straight trying to finish all the blogs….
Well I am 26 and with 155 lbs and my waist is 30.. my body fat % is approx 16….
What i am looking and have been trying for last couple of years is great looking abs but i m no where near to that….
I try doing lot of abs and can feel the tight abs below my skin…what should i do to loose the last from my upper skin…
I mean i have seen ur posts about HIIT, and HIIT with lifitng weights should i follow them to loose the fat from my lower belly area…
I do lot of running jogging and after which i feel my ab area getting tighter but once done its the same again….
Also it will be great if u can point me to some diet related blogs of urs so that i can lower my body fat % and maintain my weight..
Thanks a ton….
I have never seen a website more helpful than this….Thanks a lot agian for doing such great job….


Mike Forester September 18, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Hey Rusty, Love the site… I lost about 40lbs in july 09, i’m 45 how will this transformation take it’s already been 3 months. i know since i’m older i’m dragging behind in the shrinkwrap factor. I’m kinda getting anxious because my abs are busting out but i still have hanging skin…

thanks mike

John December 31, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Hey Rusty, great site and great advice. I’m a 16 year old boy, around 120pounds my abs show but just slightly, i don’t think i have excess of body fat so what can i do to make them burst and show to the max?!

fitnessequipment January 26, 2010 at 4:28 am

I think the best way to get your abs to really look cut is to modify your eating plan, cut out on fatty foods and increase cardio

Daniel January 27, 2010 at 9:38 am

i have been trying for a very long time to get a ripped appearance, but i can never seem to pull it off.
I have followed a strict exercise, and healthy eating program for at least a year now and im still as skinny as a chicken!
I’m eating normal healthy foods like, eating salads, LOTS of fruit, plenty of water must admit not much meat, and i literally never eat what would be classed as bad foods.
my exercise is running, cycling, i have a power tower home gym thing that i use everyday, as well as this i use free weights.
I am 18 years old and weigh 63 kg’s/ 138.6 pounds.

please help me out here i am totally out of ideas. Am i doing something wrong??

Michael H February 10, 2010 at 1:50 pm

you should hold off on the burning fat including all the cardio. Do about one session of HIIT/week. It’s not how often you workout or what equipment you use, but HOW you do it. Use a lot of the compound exercises, such as benchpress, squat (very important), deadlift, bentover rows, etc. While doing those I would suggest having a protein shake or something like it before and after workouts and you could have another before bed. Make sure not to overwork yourself and get enough rest like if you feel sore at your next workout then only do your warmup. Also I would suggest eating meat at every meal because your not trying to lose weight. Muscle gains doNt just happen overnight. Give it some time and make sure to keep track of how much you lift each time. Try to lift more every other time if you can.

Kamalani Johnson May 9, 2010 at 9:40 pm

So I’m about 16 years old and have recently lost a significant ampint of weight. 90 pounds to be exact. It’s been about 4 months since I have stopped ‘trying’ to lose weight but rather just maintain my weight. I run everyday and incorporate ab workouts as well. I run about 5 miles a day. Slowly, I see the skin ‘snapping’ back. I just wanna know what else I an do to speed this process up and what else I could do to get abs. Also, ever since my weight loss I’ve always been extremely cautious of what I eat because I was so heavy at 262 pounds and don’t wanna go bacl,how do I remove myself from that mindset?

Bobby October 27, 2010 at 11:43 am

This site has a great wealth of options, ideas… but I was hoping someone can ‘show’ me a more exclusive, specific course of training to fit my lifestyle. I am a 27 year old male, 5’10”, and ~170lbs. I am quite active; running anywhere between 10-40 miles weekly, including half, full and ultra marathons. I have recently started lifting weights 5x a week, and have gained ~11lbs in that time, but my eating habits have changed as well. I am seeing more muscle mass on my body, but am noticing more fat at the same time; in fact, some of my jeans are starting to feel rather tight around the thighs… According to varying websites, my BMI is somewhere between 10-15%.
Sorry for the long post, but like everyone else, I’d love to achieve a ‘Brad Pitt – Fight Club’ body, but have no clue where to start… My abs are only noticeable under specific lighting. I’ve started doing ab workouts regularly before lifting; ~220 total reps of 11 differing exercises. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

Becca March 29, 2011 at 6:21 pm

This is an interesting take on muscle definition. I’ve been able to lose weight over the past few months, but was a little disappointed with my muscle tone results. I feel like I’m committed to keeping the weight off this time, so hopefully I’ll start seeing some abs poke through in another month or two!

It’s nice knowing that I can postpone the discouragement I was starting to feel! Thanks!

Casey Wojo July 4, 2011 at 11:34 am

Yea man you are doing to much… and not eating the exact right things that you need to. try to just work out 3 maybe 4 times a week with a days rest in between. For nutrition you should try to eat some more testosterone boosting meals as in lots lean meats like beef or chicken, most fish, but be careful not to eat too much fish, strong greens, such as: broccoli, spinach, cauliflower and things of that nature. If your goal is to become bigger than you need to consume more calories than you burn off, and as for muscle you sound like you are just getting into lifting and your muscles will soon come. Like me I started lifting my junior year in high school and I was a tiny 140 lbs. Three years later I am a much stronger 186 and 8% body fat. So do not quit and make sure you train as hard as you can consistently. Do this and then smile in a couple more months

luke August 31, 2011 at 10:26 pm

hi ive tried to find info that made since like this and i gotta say it works. I used to be 220lb and went down to 195 and felt loose i wanted to loose a little more so i went down to 185 and fell great but still am a little loose at my stomach . i can see my abs from the top but at the bottom of my abs its loose i was wondering if i put firming loshian would it speed up the tighting. and im 18yrs old would being younger make it a easier process. thankyou

naved khan September 15, 2011 at 8:15 am

I am 30 Year old man
Waight 80 kg
Heght 5 feet 8.5 inch
Waist 35 inch
Chest 45 inch
Biceps 16.2 inch

Dear pls tell me how could i,ll get sharp muscular or leen mucsles
actual i have started my workout after 8 year break
after this gap i have so many fat on my stomuch
pls answer

Dizzy November 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Hey! Just found your blog yesterday, and I am astounded! I’m very eager to try your advice; I’ve downloaded your Abs Blueprint and the vacation body one. (: I am a 5’2.5″and female who weighs from 113-116, with a body fat percentage of 18-19 (depending on method of measuring). I am dying to get it down to 12-14. I am pretty fit overall, but I so want to lose that thin layer of flab blocking my abs.

So, I am following your advice. Doing the cardio, light weight training, and fasting you’ve reccommended, how long do you think it’ll take me to get there?
Also, with the fasting, my body growls EMBARRASSINGLY loud if I don’t snack midmorning… I don’t even always feel hungry. How can I stop this for mt fasting days? I have to sit by a lot of people. I also have a naturally fast metabolism and heartrate… this might be another cause.

Niko - noeXcusefitness December 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I am presently 80kg with about 9% body fat all thanks to my diet, weights training and HIIT sessions. I can see all my abs but they are not as sharp as they could be. I was thinking I would have to drop my body fat percentage even lower but I might just try and maintain this level for a couple more months and see what difference it makes.

john January 30, 2012 at 8:56 am

Does your visual impact system will help me improve in my performance in rugby, I’m a forward by the way?

abhishek June 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm

hey rusty,i would like to know,does hgh serve some unnatural growth?….i listened that…from a bio-tech student.

aaron June 29, 2012 at 1:34 am

hey Rusty, I’m at 7.8% body fat. But I went from 157 to 170 in 3 months. My abs still have a lot of loss skin around then. how do i make the shrink wrap effect for my situation? i have gained weight and my skin is trying to catch up but my body fat has gone down??

payton August 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm

My name is Payton I have been steadily working out for 3 years now. I’m currently 20 years old, 6-2, 200lbs. I feel big and stronger than ever. My question for you is how to get my fat percentage down without loosing too much weight? Would the mango theory dramatically drop my weight or just tighten my skin?

Linda Rodriguez September 22, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Hello what about if I have lose skin after I had the kids. It’s like I have a little pouch on my lower abdominal area, can I firm that part and lately I been seeing love handles and my skin slightly lose. I know im not 30 anymore and I’m reaching 40 pretty soon. Can I still firm those areas or its to late for me.

Jay November 9, 2012 at 9:06 am

Great post Rusty

Its funny because right now, I have a full 6 pack, but its not “ripped” the way it should be. I thought I was at 11% boddy fat. I went out last week to get my body fat tested ( DEXA-Duel Energy Absorptiometry) And the results came out that im EXACTLY 8.25% body fat. I was shocked. I had to ask if this was accurate and he said “the machine never lies, its 100% accurate” I asked him why does it look like i have more body fat around my waist and lower back? He said if you’re losing weight, you’ll always get lose skin and it takes time to accomodate, no matter how big or small you are.

I thought he was talking shit, till I saw this post. Now I totally understand.

Thanks Rusty and great work.

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