Are Six-Pack Abs Worth The Trade-Off?

Getting ripped abs is a much bigger undertaking than most people realize. There are definite benefits to getting very lean (<10 percent for most men, and <20 percent for most women), but there are real trade-offs too.

Alcohol, processed foods, and desserts all need to be severely limited if you’re trying to lose fat and show off a washboard stomach. Social situations often become difficult. Other interests and hobbies may need to decrease.

However, if you really want to get a six-pack in the healthiest possible way, you’ll need to follow these principles 90-95 percent of the time:

  • eat protein and vegetables at every meal
  • include healthy fats at most meals
  • eat a small amount of carbs post-workout only
  • limit carbs at all other meals
  • exercise intensely 4-5 times per week, and
  • get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.

Armed with this information, you can have an honest conversation with yourself and decide whether you want the six-pack badly enough. (Or if you’d rather settle for moderately lean and healthy without giving up some of the other things you enjoy).