“Ah Young Grasshopper…When You Can Take the Pebble From My Hand…You Will Have Six Pack Abs!”

March 15, 2010

They don’t make butt kickin’ TV shows like Kung Fu anymore. The cool thing about growing up in the 70’s and 80’s was that everyone watched the same TV shows.

Heck, we only had 3 main channels, a public channel, and one or two local channels back then. It sounds strange, but I kind of miss that. When we wasted time, we all wound up watching the same TV shows. The bummer was that most houses only had one TV set.

I grew up with two sisters and we made TV show deals. They would let me watch old episodes of “Batman”, “Kung Fu” and “Planet of the Apes” movies, if they could watch “Little House on the Prairie” and “Donnie and Marie” (brutal). My dad liked to watch “Lawrence Welk” (even more brutal). Anyway, this post really isn’t about TV. “It is about patience in getting six pack abs, young grasshopper!”


[If you guys haven’t watched some old Kung Fu episodes, you are missing out. There are some big life lessons to be learned. This is right up there with Yoda’s lesson to Luke Skywalker: “Do or Do Not, There is No Try”.]

“Can You Tell Me How to Get Six Pack Abs?”

So this might be the #1 question I read in the comment sections of fitness blogs. It is a great goal, but it is such a broad question that it makes it tough for someone to answer properly. It is about as broad of a question as “How do I get to California?”.

Off the top of my head I can thing of a dozen or so modes of transportation to get to California as well as a few dozen routes. You might be really close to reaching California…or you could be world away and it could take much longer.

Getting six pack abs is a lot like going to California…given enough time doing the right things you will get six pack abs. Just like if you traveled in the right direction to California you will get there eventually.

There is a Time Element to Getting Great Six Pack Abs

If you are eating right, losing body fat, and training properly, you will be able to get sharp six pack abs. The key here is that you have to put in enough time doing the proper exercises.

Some people naturally have great six pack abs (they already live in California)…or they get them after 3-4 months of training (they live in Oregon or possibly Nevada). Maybe you live in Bulgaria and your workout partner lives in Montana (figuratively)…with the same workout and diet plan, he will get six pack abs much sooner than you.

Sometimes You Wind Up With Just a Hint of a Six Pack

So lets say you do make it to California (get six pack abs), but they are just barely visible. This is like winding up in Redding, California when you really wanted to go to San Diego. They are both in California, but San Diego is nicer by a mile (in my humble opinion).

Anyway, sometimes you have to stay in Redding for a few years, before you work your way to San Diego. Possibly you only hang out in Redding for a while and get to go to San Jose, which is still not as nice as San Diego…but close enough to cool places like San Francisco or Santa Cruz. This post is deteriorating quickly. “The Lawrence Welk Show” – to the rescue!

My Dad Liked This?

[You know…it wasn’t like my dad forced us watch “Lawrence Welk”, but with just one TV in our home…I was exposed to this on a regular basis. This is borderline abusive! I ad to share my pain and suffering with you guys. Enjoy πŸ™‚ ]

Some More Thoughts on Six Pack Abs

It is unrealistic and probably unnecessary to be obsessed with having crazy sharp 6 pack abs all of the time. What you see in magazines is largely the effect of losing water and proper lighting.

Your abs will look twice as sharp when you are in a dim room with a bright light shining directly above you.

The guys shooting photos for the fitness magazines use everything in their favor. I have seen those same people outside of that environment and they have visible definition…but nothing like what the photos display.

Work Your Way Down to Where Fat Isn’t Covering Your Abs

Honestly…my advice is to just reduce your body fat without being obsessed. Once you get your body fat low enough you won’t have a layer of blubber covering your abs.

This is a great starting point. Then simply put time in the gym and your abs will gradually improve. Once you get decent abs, they will much look better on some days than others. If you aren’t holding water and the light is beneficial, your abs will look outstanding…on other days you will have just a hint of definition.

When you are lean enough, ab sharpness simply comes down to water retention. The best way to minimize this is to increase your intake of water (without overdoing it) and making sure you don’t take in too much salt. I talk about a good strategy in insuring staying sharp on page 56 of my free report: Vacation Body Blueprint.

The Famous Pebble Snatching Scene…

[The pebble snatching “attempt” happens at the 46 second mark. He succeeds at around the 2 minute mark, but then has to get branded by lifting up a molten pot with his bare forearms. I think I would have purposely been a little too slow grabbing that pebble, because the next step is a bit extreme…just saying that they need to lighten up a little!]

The #1 Tip for Great Abs?

Answer: Keep doing the right things consistently. It is tough for me to answer when you will reach the level of definition in your abs that you are after.

I can tell you what to do, I just can’t tell you how long it will take. For some it will happen quickly and other people will take much longer to reach the same level. I simply don’t know when you will be able to take the pebble from my hand…grasshopper…that is up to you!

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

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Kal March 15, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Great post! Forget the six pack. I’ll keep my keg. πŸ˜‰

Along with patience, another thing to remember is that getting six pack abs is not about getting abdominal strength. Its about getting ripped. The best exercises for getting six pack abs are not crunches or leg lifts. Its probably squats.

Zlatan March 15, 2010 at 10:50 pm

I still have a layer of fat covering my lower abs, but the top are visible. I was trying to slim down, but everyone who knows me says that i have gotten too skinny (I feel like my skin is too big for my body and that is the reason why my abs arent showing so much). I am doing you visual impact phase 2 because i feel that i need to get more defined. Plus HIIT a couple of times a week to lose the lower ab fat. I dont eat a lot of junk food, basically i eat homecooked meals 95% of the time. I am seeing a lot of improvement, but i am not sure if i am doing everything right. I am 6 ft tall and weigh around 170-175 pounds. Do you think i need to gain muscle and weight?
Thanks a lot,

Andrew March 15, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Heh, oddly enough, I was JUST thinking about this today. It’s unrealistic to maintain super-low body fat and sharp abs all the time. It’s just not going to happen. Life happens. Beer happens. Sodium happens. As long as you can SEE your abs, you’re probably doing pretty well. And staying at that point always puts you about a week or two away from great beach abs if you have an outing coming up soon.

Dan March 15, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Hi Rusty,
I have a problem where I work out a lot- interval training 3 times a week, and 3 times of body weight training a week, and I also eat very healthy. However when I wake up in the morning my stomach is flat but the moment I eat something, my lower belly bulges! Is there any way to fix this? Thanks so much! I love your website, Im constantly checking for new posts by you!

Donkey Lips March 15, 2010 at 11:52 pm


Great article. I really liked the analogy usage. I also love that you put Lawrence Welk in there. My grandparents and parents talk about Lawrence Welk from time to time when reminiscing about growing up. I had to laugh. Kung Fu is also a classic. I like your style.

Nutrition is the key to a six pack. Most people have to go very low in calories for quite some time to strategically get down to a low enough body fat to show their abs. And then it takes a while for the skin to tighten up around the abs as well. It’s a very long difficult road for the majority of people. Eating only 1,000 calories on most days of the week while still getting 100 to 150 grams of protein is very tough to do for a long period of time. Plus, binge eating for a weekend can corrupt the best of plans.

Also, most guys want large defined arms, backs, shoulders and chests to go along with their six packs and the combination of building size through progressive weight training along with the tough nutrition (and cardio work) to develop definition throughout the body and abs can be a killer. It may be simple to understand but difficult to put into action on a consistent basis.

In my opinion that’s the trick. Developing a plan that gets you to consistently burn more than you take in while still feeling satisfied and stress free. It’s just hard to remain stress free and on track every day and every week when you’re lifting hard and progressing in weight/volume while eating in a caloric deficit.

Anyway, great article thanks for the post.

Anthony March 15, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Awesome post as usual. This is great info. Try, try and try again guys. Once the summer comes for us in NY, we will be able to get outside and get stuff done.

Sherah March 16, 2010 at 12:11 am

Thanks for a great, simple post. I’m in my 4th month of working out consistently with circuit training via Craig Ballantyne and also Holly with fityummymummy.com – and doing ESE along with a plant based diet and have seen phenomenal results.

As a mom who’s had 7 children in 10 years, I am determined to prove that someone like me CAN have clear ab definition. I have had so, so many people (mostly other mom’s) tell me that maybe I need to back off on losing weight because I am going to get too skinny – but at this point, I have reached (or within 5 lbs, I think) my goal weight and my main focus is to lower my body fat percentage (currently at 23%) so that my abs can shine through.

I can see ab definition a little on the sides of my stomach – of course, I still have loose skin from my baby 7 months ago but it’s very cool to feel the hard abs under the flab and see a little bit showing where the extra skin is not prominent.

I’ve NEVER had abs so….this summer is THE YEAR! I’m excited for great results and am always coming back to this site for more inspiration. Thank you!!

PS I would also love a post on women’s fitness…maybe someday???

biggahboy March 16, 2010 at 1:16 am

@ Zlatan

Great post Rusty, this is what I need right now. With 3months to go I think I can pull some abs off for the first time in my life. Correct me if I’m wrong but I also think to see your abs most people will have to weigh less than they think. I currently weigh 174lbs, waist 33.5 and height 5’10. I’m aiming to weigh 165-170lbs. Of late I’ve been getting a lot of heat from family about my weight loss & they say I’m getting “skinny” but when I have my shirt off and I wear some stylish clothes, I look pretty good I might say. (Just need the abs to complete the look), but I will go ahead and loose the 9-4lbs and see what I look like at that point.

Arthur March 16, 2010 at 5:07 am

Hi Rusty,

Well done on another great post.

I’ve got a little problem, here in South Africa a major gym franchise preaches on their website that you should absolutely shoot for the “PUMP”. That is in contradiction to almost every thing I have learned and read about fitness.
Anyway, with that said, they have this machine that measures body fat percentage. You just chuck your arm in there and it gives a reading. What I want to know is, how reliable do you think this machine is?


barry March 16, 2010 at 6:38 am

Could someone with a sixpack please answer my question. How many repetitions of an ab exercise do you need to do to get a sixpack. Do you need to do 100 crunches a day or would just 30 be enough (assuming low bodyfat).

Marc Feel Good Eating March 16, 2010 at 7:32 am

Great post as always!

If you’re under 30 and want abs showing when you’re in your late 30’s and 40’s get working on it now!! If you are in your late 30’s early 40’s, it almost takes starvation to shred the accumulated body fat from the years of build up. Eat REAL food and follow Rusty’s protocols…with patience and persistence, you will get what you’re after.


farley-san March 16, 2010 at 8:24 am

I look like California but I feel like Minnesota….

Bangkok Jay March 16, 2010 at 8:32 am

2010’s Visual Impact (phase 3) or Lyle McDonald’s 2003 “Ultimate Diet 2.0” to get sub-lean for the six-pack? Having read both and seeing that you advocate Lyle’s methods and have incorporated some similar concepts into Visual Impact, how would you rate his approach in UD2 vis-a-vis Visual Impact?

I noticed that you incorporate a variation of the cyclical ketogenic diet in your strategic eating (Feb 2008’s post, ‘Strategic Eating to Get the Most of Your Upcoming Workout’ which was great) which is again similar to UD2 (which I can’t seem to find you ever mentioning maybe due to it being ‘old’ but you do mention his more recent works).

The point being: Knowing that the last few bodyfat percentage drops are hard on diet/workouts, which of the two will produce the higher *probability* of achieving that optimal leanness? UD2 seems far more rigid/hardcore (i.e. bodybuilders) but I would choose Visual Impact’s last stage if it too would minimize lean muscle loss.

Looking forward to your personal opinion and the update on VI! Thanks.

Rez March 16, 2010 at 9:20 am

Any truth to lowering carb intake as the day progresses? I’m currently trying the leangains 16/8 approach, but was wondering if it would help if I switched my major carb intake to my “breakfast” around 1 pm, then stuck to protein/vegs for my evening meal. I really want to eliminate this lower ab fat. When I lean over it looks terrible.

gus March 16, 2010 at 9:23 am

oh man it feels great to live in California, wish i could stay there forever XD..

just ordered Lyle McDonald`s book ” the stubborn fat solution” any thoughts πŸ˜€

Barry March 16, 2010 at 10:11 am

Hey Rusty great post. I agree that too many people wanna get to “California” as quickly as possible without even considering the amount of hard work involve. I guess they’re mostly influenced by the huge amount of “8 weeks to a 6 pack abs” kind of marketing. IMO, using that strategy won’t break your bad habits once you get that 6 pack. I still believe it’s best to pursue your goal to an amazing physique as a lifestyle change, not a one-time destination. Just like Ross Enamait said, “There’s no magic or secret, just simple hard work and determination”.

IPBrian March 16, 2010 at 10:22 am

Thanks for the article Rusty. I too am constantly trying to get people to understand that until you reduce your body fat (sub 10%) it doesn’t matter how many crunches you can do, you will never see your abdominal muscles. I actually do very little core work these days (in comparison to what I used to do) once I figured out this little gem. Thanks for helping spread the word!

Brenda Rule-Osburn March 16, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I get this questions all the time as well…you give very practical and common sense advice. Reducing body fat IS the best and only way…or have it sucked out:)

Brenda Rule-Osburn March 16, 2010 at 12:34 pm

As for the Kung Fu, I’ll have to take your word for it that I’m missing out!

Sherah March 16, 2010 at 12:48 pm

biggahboy, I totally hear you about friends & family saying you’re getting too skinny. I’ve been thinking about this alot because I’m getting to that point as well. I am at my goal weight but I definitely don’t have abs – I’m thinking I’ll have to go a little lower to see them too. But that’s what Rusty teaches anyway – go lower than ideal weight right before summer and then maintain that at about 0-5 lbs fluctuation and you’re good as gold all summer.

I also think that when we are toned enough to see abs, it looks FAB in swimwear but possibly too skinny looking to others when we are covered in clothing. Most people are just used to a more soft look on average, as opposed to the toned and tight look – so they are conditioned to think that is a too skinny look?? Maybe, anyway.

spartan training March 16, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Kung Fu was a great show, but you really hit on some good lines with this. I do believe that changes in diet, and some movement can help get rid of belly fat before the hard development/muscle definition exercises for building abs can start. I think anybody can do this its just that most people go about it all backwards.

Luke M-Davies March 16, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Super pre-summer post this one Rusty!

I’ve always had a solid 4 pack and fairly good obliques but my love for food and the odd beer has held back the lower two abs from showing. I know what I have to do to get there, it just takes dedication and a clean diet. The plank, renegade rows and pull ups all work wonders for developing that 6 pack! We need to spread the word… the rest is the diet!

Interestingly, since I have been in marathon training, I am leaning out but not necessarily in the places I want. My waist is getting more trim but when I was doing HIIT, sprints and more weights my abs were bolder. Long distance work is posing a challenge to muscle retention and isn’t really helping my abs show all that much… Nobody should waste their time going down this route to get abs. Trim the fat with HIIT and weights instead.

Kathy Emma March 16, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Hey- I live in Redding! But I’m smelling what your stepping in. πŸ™‚

Elena Petrakieva March 16, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Hi Rusty!
To be honest, I wanted to post that I can thank you for knowing that Bulgaria exists!!!! I was so excited when I read that haha

Besides that, I love your blog, and I’ve been following your advice for the past 4 weeks (low carb, HIIT, and circuits) and I’ve seen amazing results. I’ve lost 8lbs so far, and I’m so excited to see what that number will be by summer πŸ™‚ So just wanted to say thanks!

Mike March 16, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Hi Rusty,

Great post by the way!

I have a question for you or anyone else in this forum.

When I am doing ESE which I am doing Mon/Wed/Fri… should I do HIIT plus steady state cardio on these days or should I only do HIIT or only do the HIIT plus steady state cardio on the non-fasting days?

I am wanting to lose fast but keep muscle that I have. I have been known at times to lose muscle and be somewhat “skinny-fat’ but am trying to lose the most fat and keep the muscle.


biggahboy March 17, 2010 at 12:16 am

P.S How’s things with the updated “Visual Impact” coming along?

Aditya March 17, 2010 at 6:08 am

Calorie Cycling! Thats the answer I have, after all my experience, in getting to this position with defined abs and 7% bfl from 15% bfl.

Oh and to get that defined look physically all I did was a superset of Planks and Leg Raises 3 times a week. I also thought any kind of core exercise, be it bench press/chin up/anything actually aids in hardening those abs muscles. All this, only if the bfl is low. I saw no point in working my abs when I was around 15%. At that 15%, all I stressed was lowering my bfl.

And I did not follow any diet. I followed a mix of Eat Stop Eat and Warrior Diet. Or to say, all I did was cycle my calories through the week. I had beer/pizza/chicken wings/ice cream/burger king through the week BUT took care to keep the total calorie intake for the whole week LOWER than the Sum Total of My BMR for that week.

I still follow ESE (3 fasts per week) and will follow it forever and I have a feeling I will stay this lean forever, like this.

If you want to lower your body fat level, do take a look into Eat Stop Eat.

Great Post as Usual. As you know, I have been following you for a year now and your site basically led me to a whole new world of fitness. Thanks for the same πŸ™‚

Jonathan March 17, 2010 at 8:00 am

Hi Rustyy!!!! Another great post.. You really motivate a bunch of people with these post.. and the anologies that you use are just great πŸ˜€ Patience is a virtue!!
By the way when are you goin to post a video of yourself doing 20 one arm pushups ? or just a few reps :b

Ryan M Hall March 17, 2010 at 9:08 am

I have to say, that I always get a little peaved when people think there is 1 single tip to getting a six pack…that being said, I think you just summed it up.

Get a plan, stick to the plan and keep doing it until you have a six pack.

Sadly, I too get emails daily from people hoping to have a six pack by next week without exercise or diet….sorry, no “as seen on TV” gimmicks here.

Well said, love the blog.

Michael H March 17, 2010 at 11:07 am

Nice post! I’ve pretty much lost all the body fat that I want to (at 7% BF) and have been working to get my abs hard and defined using your techniques and have been seeing some pretty good results. Would “6 minute abs” 5 days or so a week be too much work on my abs? One more thing: if I want to get completely toned, but also gain some more inches at the same time which one of your techniques should I use? I want to look toned for summer (June-ish), but I am also more on the skinny side (12in. arms, 44in. shoulders, 36in. chest, 30in. waist). Which one of your toning posts should I read and use specifically for my situation?

-Michael H

biggahboy March 17, 2010 at 12:05 pm

@ Aditya
Congrats, I’m taking the same route man, I do ESE 1 or 2 times a week & keep my portions small on the non fasting days as well. I’m steady losing the inches off my waist & I’m working out 3 times a week (sometimes 2 depending on how busy I get during the week). I’m also noticing a good amount of muscle build up in the shoulders, triceps, arms & back & all I can say is, lowering BF is making the definition more visible. So I definetly agree with what you say & I can’t wait to hit 10%!!!

Jon E. March 17, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Great post, Rusty! I love it!

Mark March 17, 2010 at 4:10 pm


congrats on your success… I would like to speak to you further. Can you describe how you got from 15pct to 7pct bf? I would like to know plus was wondering if you thought it better to do HIIT on an ESE day or would it be better to do hiit + ss cardio on a non-fasted day… also how many days to you do cardio? thanks much…

tombrokaw March 17, 2010 at 4:50 pm

I used to be fat. I lost 70 lbs about two years ago.

My body fat is currently somewhere between 10-14%. I’ve been working out about 5 times per week following the guidelines of this site and I’ve definitely seen improvement in definition everywhere on my body.

My abs are lagging just a bit behind though. And judging by the rest of my body and my waist to weight measurement 30″ and 153, I don’t think I have that much overall body fat.

I heard someone mention that if one has lost a large amount of weight, that last nagging bit is sometimes not fat but excess skin? How can I tell if my problem is skin or a tiny bit of fat? And if it’s skin what to do?

admin March 17, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Okay…kind of short on time. I will try to zip through and answer as many questions as I can πŸ™‚


Keep in calorie deficit while aiming to get stronger. Since you are in phase II, you should get pretty darn strong. You will most likely zig-zag your way to getting as lean as you want. Most guys will tell you to gain weight at that height, but I don’t think it is necessary. Brad Pitt was 155 at just under 6 feet for Fight Club and 165’ish for his role in Snatch. If you can maintain around 170-175 while getting lean, you will be fine.


Thanks for the compliments. Hard to say if there is a sure fire fix to stopping your lower stomach from bulging out. One suggestion is to eat lighter in the morning and during the day and your larger meal at night, but it isn’t really a fix. You probably notice it much more than others, to be honest.

Donkey Lips,

Lawrence Welk and Kung Fu footage…thank god for Youtube…I can share these golden hits with the youth of today. Sounds like you got to see these classics as well.


I will eventually have an entire women’s ebook…and it will be phenomenal. In the mean time I should do more posts geared towards women’s workouts.


Funny how family sometimes doesn’t understand fat loss. It would be different if you were losing muscle and fat. The irony is that you will appear larger with your shirt off when you are lean.


“The Pump” is good for sarcoplasmic hypertrophy…which is building the volume of your muscles by increasing the fluid within the muscle cells. It doesn’t build much in the way of strength, but will help increase the size of a muscle. In the past I have told people to avoid the pump, but now suggest it for short periods of time if someone wants to add a little muscle size. I DO think that the majority of the time should be spent with lower rep strength work and avoiding the pump if someone wants the lean compact, defined look. I am not sure about the body fat machine.


It isn’t really about reps. It is about having enough muscle density in your abs, while having a low body fat percentage. I also wouldn’t recommend crunches at all. Focus on planks, possibly hanging leg raises, ab wheel, renegade rows.


Very true…it is a longer road when you are a little older. Ditto what you said 100%.

Bangkok Jay,

You know what, I don’t own UD2…but may buy it based on your description. Phase III works well if you really focus hard on calorie deficit while increasing your strength levels. When I did this last time, I was crushing personal bests in almost every lift on a low fat diet. This combo greatly increased muscle density. The funny thing is that it will feel a lot easier than the first two phases, even when you are lifting such heavy weights. I really enjoy phase III.


This is a tough call with the carbs. I don’t recommend eating a lot of carbs early in the day because it can make you tired. Possibly structure them so you eat the majority after training…and then less the rest of the time. To be honest. even that sounds too structured for my liking. I simply recommend eating less carbs when it is practical and more when you are in a social event…all while keeping your body in a calorie deficit. As long as the majority of your days are in a deficit and some of your days are a little over maintenance, you will make forward progress.


Great book. My cardio book is similar…but his really digs down into the deep science, while mine offers a bit more in the way of “tweaks” to customize your fat loss workout. We have the same philosophy when it comes to cardio and fat loss.


Yeah…it isn’t for everyone πŸ™‚


Yeah…good reminder about possibly going a few pounds lighter than your target weight right before summer. This insures that it will be easy to maintain your ideal size for the full three months…while enjoying BBQ’s, parties, etc.


Good point about marathon training. I typically only suggest it when people want to lose a lit bit of muscle along with the fat…ex football players, women who have too much leg mass from sports, etc.


That is hilarious. I have driven through Redding many times when my family took road trips from Seattle to the Bay Area (where I was born). I just remember it was a good reference point to figure out that we were getting closer to the bay area.


Of course I know that Bulgaria exists. I am a mixed breed from all sorts of European Countries (German, Irish, Norwegian, Dutch, etc.)…there is a good chance that I’m part Bulgarian! Who knows? Great job on the weight loss, by the way.


I get the best fat loss results doing HIIT and Steady State on the days that I fast. The same amount of effort gives you much more bang for the buck.


I will send out an update to everyone who purchased within the next few days. It is coming along very well!


Yeah…This body weight stuff is not a strong point, but I am getting better. Those one arm push ups are tough. I am getting much stonger at chin ups however. 20 reps for one arm push ups…I’ll get there…eventually. Did you get “Convict Conditioning”? Amazing book!


I am in a hurry but bookmarked your site. I will need to take a look, since I visit pretty much any site from people who comment.

…Ran out of time, I’ll see if I can get to the rest of the questions in a day or two,


Wayland March 17, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Prograde Nutrition recently released “197 Recipes” for about 4.95 (e-book) on their site. Rusty, give it a look if you like. I glanced over it and it looks like some really great tasting and nutritional recipes.

http://www.getprograde.com/prograderecipebook.html No login required when it pops up.

Aditya March 17, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Thanks man πŸ™‚ ESE with Resistance Training did the trick for me!

I was at 15% around 8 months back. I had a layer of fat covering my abdominal region and my face was plumlp. At that point of time I had a target of getting to 10% or atleast look firmer all through the body and obviously a firm abdominal with a lean face. Around that time, I did HIIT 3 times a week (much like the manner Rusty has on this site, look over the site there is a specific article on that HIIT method) and I also am a regular Resistance Trainer. Apart from that, 4 days a week, I ate primal or atleast tried to eat Primal. Rest of the 3 days, I ate anything BUT took care not to eat calories more than my BMR for that day (Check yours from one of the sites). HIIT on an ESE day? Well, my fasts were and are from Dinner to Dinner and my Workouts were in the Morning and I always go to the Gym in a fasted state. So yeah I did my HIIT on ESE days too, I think its much more effective that way (gives a better HGH rush I think). And I have my first meal after an hour or two of workout only. This was the routine I followed (And I did not miss my Weekend Beers). Once I reached 11% I QUIT HIIT(and any kind of cardio) (and I do not do Cardio now). From that point on all I did was follow ESE with 3 fasts and ate anything I wanted with a calorie cycling aim (which means I have overeating and undereating days). I eat anything now, maybe even 5 beers a week too and I am still at a constant bfl now for the last 1 and a half months (7.2% as of yesterday evening). Its all about ‘Calories In Calories Out’. I take care to keep my calorie within my bmr for a WEEKs time interval now (meaning if my weekly BMR is 14000 I try to eat below that number). Getting those defined abs is about diet 90% of the time and 10% how you work those abdominal muscles once you reach below 10% bfl). Resistance training for your body is important too else you will look waif thin over a long period of caloric restriction. You can get in touch with me on my email : overdoze.ad1@gmail.com if you want to know more. Cheers! πŸ™‚

Yavor March 18, 2010 at 4:30 am

Making obscure but funny pop culture references is your fortΓ©, Rusty! Kung fu was a immensely enjoyable series. I got introduced to it on TV when the next installment: Kungfu, the legend continues started airing in the 90’s here. Rest in peace, Dave Carradine! It was a good run. Especially the Kill Bill movies were fantastic.

-Your fellow Bulgarian fitness nut (lol!)

Jason G March 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm


Its been a while since I commented on your site. However these last two articles are relevant to me because I have stepped off the six pack path and became lazy. Yet a few months ago I made a bet with an already skinny friend who has a skinny mans six pack that I could have a better one in six month time. Childish I know.

Anyway I have two and half months to lose 15 to 20 pounds. I signed up to a boxing gym a few weeks ago(already missed three sessions) and plan to take “The Beach Approach” from here on out which involves about two hours(i have a physical job that will make up for the other lost two hours) of boxing a day with a very aggressive diet. Planning two protein shakes a day with a reasonable serving of beans and/or chicken breast(1000 to 1200 calories a day). I wanted to mention this on your site to increase my accountability. By May 4th, my 28th birthday, I WILL weigh 175. I am 190 now and six feet 2 inches. I WILL DO FOR THERE IS NO TRY! Six pack competitions ends May 30th. Going to win!

Tamara of In the Night Farm March 19, 2010 at 9:57 am

@Dan — I used to have the flat-morning-stomach followed by post-meal bloating problem almost every day. I scoured the internet for answers and kept coming across advice to eliminate grains (including whole grains) and legumes from my diet. That was a huge change because I was mostly vegan at the time, but I finally decided to give it a shot. Wow! Bloating gone within a week — it had been the result of gut inflammation caused by the grains and legumes. I read up on primal/paleo eating and am now 10 lbs heavier but much stronger and leaner (6-pack present and accounted for), and my stomach stays flat all day. πŸ˜€

Bangkok Jay March 19, 2010 at 10:45 am

Thanks for your personal opinion/feedback of how easy Phase 3 was. That decides it then. Users on Lyle’s own forum bitch about how tough UD2 is and hard to stick to. For the same results, I’ll stick to VI’s approach then. While UD2 shares similar underlying concepts, the implementation of those principles do look vastly easier to do in VI. He hasn’t updated it since it’s first edition release in 2003 as well so it seems your protocols are more refined for simplicity.

Cascade March 20, 2010 at 4:47 pm

HI Rusty,

I am a long time lurker on your site and I love all the info you post. I have a question — I still have some belly fat (post-pregnancy) from having my 2 children (and that was 6 years ago) and I am just not able to lose it. Will a combination of ESE and bodyweight exercises (like the crazy 8 circuit) be sufficient to get rid of it or do you suggest adding in HIIT as well ? Do reply…

Thanks in advance — and keep up the good selfless work πŸ™‚ You are helping so many of us through your blog.

Michael H March 23, 2010 at 11:48 am


ESE and bodyweight exercises, especially ones like the crazy 8 circuit would work REALLY well for losing some body fat. Just make sure you eat less than normal even on the days your not fasting. Don’t give up! Sometimes you will think you gained some pounds and others you lose, but a lot of times your water weight will go up and down.

GOOD LUCK!! I think if you stick with it, you’ll do great. Trust me, I recently lost 10 pounds of body fat. πŸ™‚

cascade March 23, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Michael, Thanks for your encouraging reply !! Way to go on your losing 10 lbs of body fat ! Hope u are also close to your goal.

Junqin Li March 24, 2010 at 1:24 am

Great post! You do a good job of dispelling false ideas about the coveted 6 pack. The six packs in magazines are more often than not the product of careful photography. Achieving personal fitness goals takes a lot of patience and everybody’s case is different. Not everybody’s abs will look the same because your muscles and body type are unique.

tami April 2, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Maybe men seeing other men’s abs is the equivalent of what women see in magazines and try to emulate. Even though it’s impossible because no one has perfect conditions in real life, but we keep trying, because that’s what we want no matter what.

I Refuse To Age Gracefully April 17, 2010 at 11:28 am

Love the articles & newsletter tips but I’m wondering – if we fast, drink some caffeine for energy, and still work out hard to kick in the SNS, is that not a recipe for cortisol production?

And would this increased cortisol production not cause us to store additional belly fat, and end up with that stubborn poochy gut that nobody wants?

Affordable Personal Trainers April 19, 2010 at 12:12 pm

In 2010, Almost both male and female wants to have six pack abs. Thanks for sharing tips related to six pack abs. They are really useful.

Al August 13, 2010 at 11:50 pm

The best workout for 6 pack abs is cardio. Everyone has a “6 pack” but most people have layers of fat over it. If you look at some National Geographic videos of poor people from Africa with no food they have six packs as well. It’s not from working out.

The Situation August 13, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Crunches baby, 5000 a day.

Mobility Aids October 29, 2010 at 10:22 am

I’m in my late 30’s and have decided that I would like a superb body just one more time. I’m going for it and from the many comments on here it seems like Rusty’s the man to listen to I’ll give it a go. Cheers

Gary - Simple Exercises November 22, 2010 at 10:24 am

If you get bored trying to build your abs by doing the usual sit-up routines, invest in one of the many ab machines on the market. It might just help you get motivated.

braunability February 7, 2011 at 5:16 pm

These are some fantastic tips you posted! Good to know that there are fantastic ways to get fit. Of course, like most exercises — you have to be so careful about how you handle your body while working out. I’ve known lots of people who have strained and hurt their bodies doing the most simple exercises.
Either way, I’ll certainly take your advice. Thanks! πŸ™‚

Rebecca S.
Parkour n00b

Toni July 10, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Hi Rusty! I love your site, it’s so informative. Anyway, I’m glad you addressed the whole “razor sharp” abs thing. I have gotten down to 17% body fat and my abs are really starting to show quite nicely so you can imagine my surprise when (like you mentioned) some days, they look outstanding and others not so much. I was wondering what I was doing to make them “disappear”. I was starting to get a little obsessed over it, lol. I drink lots of water, religiously and my sodium intake I monitor very carefully as well yet it’s nice to know that the fitness models that I see gracing the covers of magazines have a little “help” and don’t always have that sharp quality to their midsection. I will say that if I lose another 1% or so of body fat that my abs would look even more defined so I’m still a work-in-progress. Although considering that my stomach was stretched quite a bit due to two pregnancies, I’m pretty thrilled with my results thus far. Who knew I’d finally have decent ‘girl abs’ at the age of 39?!?

Toni July 10, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I have to respectfully disagree with you, Marc. I know for me as a 39 year old female, I’ve always had a soft layer of belly fat covering my abdomen. I started to get serious about obtaining a nice midsection about six months ago. I implemented a running/HIIT cardio program along with a clean diet and strength training and the fat just melted off me. Granted, I wasn’t a big person to begin with – 5’6″ tall and 117 lbs. but still I’m living proof that it’s never too late. Also, it took about 3 months for some nice ab definition to come in. It appeared in dribs and drabs, lol. First, the obliques then the top two abs followed by the ‘v’ cuts by my thigh and finally the definitive line down the center of my abdomen. The last four abs are there just not very ‘ripped’ but that’s fine with me. The toned, ‘girl ab’ look was what I was after anyway. I think if you want something bad enough, it will happen IMO.

Sam Childs August 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Nice post on abs rusty, its true that men magazines often use tricks to get better abs!

Ahmed-Live, Don't Survive August 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Having patience is almost as important as the diet when it comes to abs, you’re right on here Rusty!

Ios On Android Phone January 18, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Even though it’s impossible because no one has perfect conditions in real life, but we keep trying, because that’s what we want no matter what.

Directorio Web June 23, 2012 at 11:45 am

I started to get serious about obtaining a nice midsection about six months ago

growing August 7, 2012 at 7:17 pm

The cool thing about growing up in the 70β€²s and 80β€²s was that everyone watched the same TV shows.

M. Stuart June 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm

I had a good belly laugh when you mentioned Lawrence Welk. I had relatives that watched that and I thought it was dorky even then. I guess it belonged to a previous generation.

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