from no pack to six pack abs

From No-Pack To Six-Pack

Do you know what the best thing about having six-pack abs is?

It’s kind of like having a superpower.

Men and women alike will worship your body because you’ve achieved the impossible. You have what 99% of people will only dream about.

Although it’s difficult to get exact numbers on this, some statistics I’ve seen show EXACTLY ONE out of every 20,000 – 25,000 people have visible six-pack abs. No, that’s not a typo. In fact, it’s easier to become a millionaire – by a lot – than it is to get six-pack abs. It’s not close.

Think about the last time you went to a summer music festival where nearly everyone was walking around shirtless. How many people did you see walking around with shredded six-pack abs?

Exactly, which is why having six-pack abs is so freakin’ powerful. From internal confidence to more sex and even a higher social status… six-pack abs offer it all.

So, if you’re with me… then let me help you blast belly fat, shape your waist, and achieve the impossible six-pack by summer. If not, that’s fine — enjoy being part of the 99%. You can always walk around with a sign on your chest prominently displaying your max deadlift.

For those interested in achieving the impossible, there are two things you must do in order to get six-pack abs:

  1. Lower your bodyfat to 12% or less (depending on genetics) so you can see your abs.
  2. Build your abdominal muscles so they will “pop” and be more striking (and pleasing) to the eye.

Let’s start with getting that body fat to sub-12%:

1. Intermittent Fasting

“Everybody can work magic, everybody can obtain their goals, if they are able to think, if they are able to wait, if they are able to fast.” – Hermann Hesse (winner of the 1946 Nobel Prize in Literature

It’s no surprise here, we’re starting by addressing your diet. I’ve found working out is the easy part for most clients. I give them the workouts and for the most part, they do them. The diet on the other hand, is like a difficult symphony — it’s tough to master.

This is exactly why I freakin’ love intermittent fasting so much. Intermittent fasting simplifies things… and dare I say, makes your diet easy — almost effortless.

There is no diet strategy that is more effective at rapidly changing body composition than intermittent fasting. Period. Like the quote says, intermittent fasting is kind of like magic and it will melt fat off your body like butter. With intermittent fasting…

You’ll throw gasoline on your body’s ability to torch fat and you’ll amplify your body’s ability to pack-on lean muscle through increases in insulin sensitivity and the creation of an optimal hormonal environment.

Now that I got you pretty much foaming at the mouth excited about not eating… check out this resource for more information on what intermittent fasting is, how to do it, and even how to ensure you never feel hungry while fasting.

2. Tracking Macros

“What gets measured gets managed [or improved]” – Peter Drucker

I often get this question from guys in the gym, “What do you eat to look like that?”

Wrong question.

The right question would be, “How many carbs, fats, and proteins are you eating per day?”

It’s not the what that’s important. Take a walk through the grocery store, you already know what you should be eating. You know what’s healthy and what’s not. Stick to the perimeter of the store and stock up on lean meats and veggies over processed garbage. That’s the easy part.

The hard part is knowing how much to consume and in what amounts. That’s where tracking your macros comes into play. You see, tracking macros is a force multiplier when it comes to getting six-pack abs. Let me explain:

Blindly “eating healthy” is kind of like visiting a foreign city and trying to drive somewhere you’ve never been before without any step-by-step directions, using your smartphone, or even stopping to ask for help along the way.

Eventually, you might get there but the odds are strongly stacked against you. And if you do eventually get there, it will have taken you 10x longer to reach your destination than if you had simply used your maps app to get precise directions.

Tracking your macros is like getting precise directions to Six-Pack City. Put another way, this is the single most important nutrition secret you can learn in your lifetime. This is the lead domino that makes everything else easier or unimportant.

Tracking your macros is one is the simplest, yet most overlooked nutrition “secrets.” Learning this skill will facilitate your ability to quickly get a shredded six-pack or even pack on slabs of rock-hard muscle with ninja-like accuracy.

For more information on exactly how to track your macros and how to adjust them check out this resource.

3. Improve Insulin Sensitivity

Research indicates insulin sensitivity, the opposite of resistance, is linked to shredded six-pack abs and lean muscular physiques. On the other hand, insulin resistance, the opposite of sensitivity, is linked to love-handles, higher levels belly fat, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and even stroke.

Unless excess body fat, diabetes, and potentially an early grave interest you… I’m sure you can see why improving insulin sensitivity should be at the top of your priorities. Not only that, but the release of insulin inhibits the breakdown of fat cells. In other words, insulin must be low in order for the body to burn fat.

So, by managing insulin spikes you can dictate when and for how long your body actually burns fat. Pretty cool, huh?

This is the reason why the most effective diets and weight loss strategies focus on managing the release of insulin. It’s also the exact reason why intermittent fasting is so effective at burning body fat, because it increases insulin sensitivity and keeps insulin levels very low for long periods of time (16+ hours).

Now that you know why increasing insulin sensitivity and keeping insulin levels low will help you get six-pack abs, here are a few tips to increase insulin sensitivity:

  1. Practice intermittent fasting daily.
  2. Limit fruit intake to 1-2 servings per day.
  3. Completely avoid trans fats.
  4. Supplement with Omega-3 fish oil or Krill oil.
  5. Supplement with Vitamin D3.
  6. Drink green tea or supplement with green tea extract.
  7. Eat Saigon cinnamon to help blunt your insulin response.

4. Metabolic Resistance Training

Metabolic Resistance Training is kind of like igniting the fat burning furnace that’s been lying dormant inside your body – except, instead of lighting it with a puny little lighter you’re going to light it with a gigantic flame thrower.

More technically speaking, MRT is simply the combination of strength training and cardio. It’s a match made in gym heaven like creatine and carbs or hot girls and yoga pants. To expand, metabolic resistance training is simply a group of mostly multi-joint free weight exercises performed with little rest targeting the entire body.

Unlike McDonald’s I’m going to tell you what’s in the secret sauce so you know exactly why MRT works so well. There are 4 reasons this type of training is so effective at burning body fat:

  1. Increased energy expenditure in the gym. This simply means, you’ll burn more calories when you workout. It’s not uncommon to burn 500+ calories in a 45-min MRT workout.
  2. Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). This is also known as the “afterburn effect.” EPOC is when your body continues to burn calories after you’ve already finished your workout. The most popular research study on this topic shows that calorie expenditure can remain elevated for up to 38 hours post-exercise.
  3. Increased testosterone and growth hormone (GH). According to research, workouts like metabolic resistance training which stress high volume, high intensity, short rest periods, and large muscle groups is far superior for stimulating testosterone and growth hormone than traditional workouts with low volume and long rest periods.
  4. Increased work capacity. By increasing work capacity you’re able to train more frequently, for a longer duration, and more intensely in the future. The benefits from this should be obvious: more caloric expenditure, more fat burning, etc.

Here is my favorite 25-min metabolic resistance training workout circuit. I call it The Alpha Circuit because it was inspired by a workout in the book Engineering The Alpha by my mentor John Romaniello.

Directions: Perform each exercise in circuit fashion resting no more than 20s max between exercises and no more than 2-min between circuit rounds. Perform 4 total rounds.

  1. Goblet Squat 10-12 rep
  2. Incline Dumbbell Press 10-12 reps
  3. Single Arm Dumbbell Row 8-10 reps
  4. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift 12-15 reps
  5. Up & Down Plank AMRAP 30s

5. HIIT Cardio

HIIT Cardio is kind of like installing flame throwing nitrous oxide boosters on your metabolism.

It’s that powerful, but the vast majority of people simply don’t take advantage of this power. That’s also why the vast majority of people don’t have shredded abs. You’re going to have to do things you’ve never done in order to get what you’ve never had.

I’ve worked with with a few thousand clients over the years and the large majority of them (both male and female) want to decrease body fat. No surprises there.

What is a surprise, however, is that the vast majority of them still think that doing traditional cardio such as a treadmill, elliptical, stairmaster, or stationary bike is the best way to burn body fat. This is completely back-assward, err — I mean ass-backward. The fact is, steady-state cardio is a waste of time at best and harmful at worst for these 3 reasons:

  1. Burns up muscle mass. This will cause you to get weaker and smaller then nobody will like you. Just kidding, people might still like you but that’s all you’ll have going for you because your precious and beautiful muscle mass will be gone. It also means you’ll burn less calories throughout the day and your metabolism will slow down.
  2. Reduces your testosterone levels. Low-T is linked to higher levels of body fat, lower levels of lean muscle mass, and a decreased sex drive. Not only will you be fat and out of shape, but you won’t be having any sex either. Yikes!
  3. Increases your appetite. Steady-state cardio actually increases your appetite causing you to eat MORE CALORIES and pack on MORE BODY FAT as a result. Conversely, HIIT cardio suppresses your appetite.

Nothing is going to ruin your chances for six-pack success faster than steady-state cardio. On the other hand, HIIT Cardio has some pretty amazing fat-blasting six-pack sculpting benefits:

  1. Preserves muscle mass. This will ensure you look awesome, but it will also ensure your metabolism remains high allowing your body to burn as many calories as possible on a daily basis.
  2. Increases testosterone levels. Increases in testosterone are linked with lower levels of body fat, higher levels of lean muscle mass, and an elevated sex drive which is great — I mean, if you’re into those things.
  3. Increases both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. You’ll improve your body’s ability to push harder during exercise. The harder you push, the more calories you burn, and the more ripped you’ll get.
  4. Is highly effective at burning body fat, especially abdominal fat.
  5. Increases insulin sensitivity. This means you’ll process and store carbohydrates more effectively allowing you to burn more fat and build more muscle.
  6. Takes less than 20-min. This study concludes that doing 4 – 6 bouts of 30s sprints is more effective for fat loss than doing 30 – 60 minutes of steady-state cardio at 60% of V02max.

If I haven’t convinced you yet that HIIT cardio is your key to six-pack abs then you’re probably one of those guys that still trains in a gray sweat-suit wearing a weight belt while carrying around a gallon jug of water. In that case, your treadmill awaits your arrival King Meathead.

Here is my favorite HIIT Cardio workout:

6. Prioritize Your Abs

Just take a look around the gym and see how the majority of gym-goers treat their abs. Abs, almost always, get prioritized last in the workout therefore abs often get skipped, they get very little focused attention, and they get poorly executed reps.

For example, “I’m exhausted and I only got 5-minutes so I’ll just knock out 100 quick crunches.” Yeah, that’ll definitely get you six-pack abs.

This idea of doing abs at the end of your workout first gained popularity due to the belief that if you fatigue your core, then you’ll most likely injure yourself doing compound movements like deadlifts, overhead presses, squats, etc.

This isn’t a bad premise, but most people simply accept it without even questioning it or trying something different. With this approach, it’s an absolute certainty that your ab workout will suffer. Hence your six-pack or potential six-pack will suffer or remain non-existent.

If you’re running short on time, you’ll either rush or simply skip abs altogether. If you actually do have time, you’ll often be too mentally and physically exhausted to really give your abs the energy, effort, and focus they require after lifting weights for 45 – 60 minutes.

I’m not telling you to start each workout with abs and prioritize them over everything else. That would be a mistake too. However, you need to increase their priority or at least get smarter about the way you train them.

Try a few of these easily actionable tips:

Train abs for the first 10-min of your workout.

Arnold famously developed big calves when he prioritized them by doing them first. Apply that same idea to your abs and take the first 8-10 min of your workout to knock out an ab routine with mountains of energy and focus. Plus, it will be a good warm up since you’re probably not stretching anyway.

Incorporate abs into your regular workout.

Perform an ab exercise in place of your normal rest period. For example, if you are scheduled to do 4×12 on Incline Dumbbell Chest Press try doing Reverse Crunches on the incline bench instead of resting for 60s. I call these Abdominal Difference Supersets. You’ll shred your abs AND burn body fat at the same time.

If you’re doing circuits like metabolic resistance training (see tip #4) you should be including a core/ab exercise into almost every circuit you do anyway.

Train your abs on your HIIT cardio day.

If you execute on tip #5 you’ll be doing an extra day of HIIT cardio. Since HIIT shouldn’t take you more than 20-min you’ll have plenty of time and energy to focus on your abs either before or after your HIIT routine.

Train your abs during their own training session.

You can do this at home without equipment for convenience or go to the gym if you’d prefer. Whatever you want, just make it happen.

Cut your regular workout down by 10-min.

Do this as a last resort to ensure you have at least 10-min of focused and dedicated time to give to your abs at the end of your workout. Make it easy on yourself, set the timer on your phone to notify you when it’s time to train abs.

7. Weighted Ab Exercises

You don’t need Photoshop like some Instagram fitness model in order to get your abdominals to “pop” like you see in the magazines. Now that you are finally prioritizing your abs by executing on tip #6 above, all you need to do is train and develop them using progressive overload and time-under-tension.

Heavy weight training is a concept that most people are familiar with when it comes to chest training, bicep training, or even leg training. However, for some reason it’s a concept that’s completely foreign when it comes to abdominal training. Your abdominals are a muscle like any other, as such they’ll respond to training like any other.

Most people will think this gives them a license to jump in the weighted ab crunch machine and go to town. Sorry Charlie, that machine isn’t going to get you the sculpted six-pack you desire.

Instead, I want you to give the three exercises below a shot. Follow the weighted abdominal workout below and it will be like nothing you’ve ever experienced or done before. As such, it has the potential to dramatically and rapidly change your body for the better.

Lastly, before you freak out thinking weighted ab exercises will make your waist bigger… like Aaron Rodgers, I’d like you to R-E-L-A-X. They won’t. This is the exact reason tips 1-5 focused on REDUCING your body fat and SHRINKING your waist. Hmm, maybe there is a method to the madness after all.

Once your body fat gets low enough your abs have the potential to show, you must develop and build those muscles in order to get them to really “pop.” You can do crunches until you’re blue in the face, but if you want to develop the deep cuts and shadows necessary to see your six-pack from a distance — you need to do weighted ab exercises.

Working as a fitness model for 10+ years, posing for Men’s Health, and being around some of the best trainers and models in the business — I can tell you with absolute certainty that this is what they’re doing. This is what separates them from you and this is what has the potential to get you on the same level.

Directions: Perform 1A – 1C sequentially in circuit fashion resting no more than 30s between sets. Rest up to 60s between circuits as needed. If you hit failure before the specified number of reps, rest for 20s then continue until you hit the specific number of reps before moving to the next exercise. Perform 3 total rounds.

1A) Standing Cable Rope Crunch 10-12 reps

1B) Reverse Cable Crunch 8-10 reps

1C) Knee to Elbow Oblique Crunch 8-12 each side

There you have it, your 7 steps to blast belly fat, shape your waist, and achieve the impossible six-pack by summer. My advice, don’t try to do all of these at once unless you’re an absolute master of discipline. And unless you’re a Navy Seal or something, odds are you’re not a master of discipline. Set yourself up for success not failure.

Instead, pick ONE of these, take massive action, and execute ruthlessly until you perfect it. Then move on to the next. Keep in mind, the list was specifically designed to move from top down meaning #1 then 2 then 3, etc.

This is the exact process I take my clients through. Of course, there are adjustments and course corrections you’ll need to make along the way — but that’s expected. Whatever you do, just keep making progress and always keep moving forward.

So, will you be joining the elite 1% or staying with the mediocre 99%?

You must choose, but choose wisely.



About the Author

“Action” Jackson Bloore is a former computer nerd turned nationally-published fitness model, online coach, and cupcake connoisseur. Named San Francisco’s “Best Trainer For Abs” Jackson helps regular guys go from no-pack to six-pack in record time without starving themselves or spending endless hours in the gym. Click here to visit his website and get his step-by-step blueprint that's helped 1,000+ guys go from no-pack to six-pack in weeks -- not months.