Hacking The Six Pack: 3 High Leverage Hacks To Six Pack Abs
This is a guest post from Joel Runyon of Impossible HQ.
I love a good challenge. For the last 2 1/2 years, I’ve been steadily working on a list of impossible challenges and crossing them off my impossible list. My most recent one was to get six pack abs and do a photo shoot. Despite not having worked out for a couple months and being way out of shape I committed to do it in 8 weeks. I realized too late that for the entire program, I was going to be traveling in the Dominican Republic and wouldn’t have access to a gym. It seemed like I had gotten myself into an impossible situation.
But it didn’t matter and I was committed. So, over the next 8 weeks, I lost 34 pounds, dropped to 5.4% body fat and finally got the six pack abs I wanted.
So how do you do it? Well, instead of focusing on everything that could possibly work and doing them all poorly, I decided to focus on the three highest leverage things to help me burn fat and get six pack abs. Here’s how you hack the six pack.
Hack #1 Clean Up Your Diet
You’d be surprised at what you can do simply be cutting the crap out of your diet.
Some people work in phases, but I find going cold turkey is the best way to stay far, far away from temptation. Otherwise, it’s too easy to rationalize and make excuses.
- No bread/grains.
- No processed foods.
- No sugar.
- No alcohol.
I usually choose the nuclear option and throw out anything that falls in that list above. From here on out, your menu consists of meat and vegetables and some fruit. Don’t grieve too much over missing out on your morning english muffin, remember – you can eat all the steak and bacon you want. This approach also cuts out the dreaded calorie counting, which isn’t only ineffective but incredibly tedious and time consuming.
But why cut out the foods above in the first place? The science is quite in-depth, but long story short: carbohydrates are sugars. Sugars in your system, spike your insulin levels. High insulins levels prevent your body from burning fat and when your body doesn’t use fat for energy, it stores it on your body and you get fat.
So if you cut those carbs and sugars out of your diet, and you stop that whole process at it’s starting point. No matter what you’d like to think, you simply can’t out run a bad diet. If you’re not willing to clean up how you cook, you won’t clean up how you look.
Hack #2 – High Intensity Interval Training
Stop running. Please stop running. If you really love running – that’s fine, but if you want to get a six pack and burn fat fast, for the love of God please stop running. You can also forget about the 2 hour long gym sessions.
You don’t need to work out for hours on end, meandering through the gym and hoping that the bench press is open and you don’t need to run marathons to lose weight (in fact it just might do the opposite). While you might lose weight running, you’ll also have a tendency to lose muscle (hence why you see so many “skinny fat” marathoners).
A 30 minute high-intensity interval training session not only has the benefit of saving you an incredible amount of time over 8 weeks, but it also means you’re moving the entire time. These keeps your heart rate elevated and not only ensures that the fat you’re losing is fat, not muscle. It also keeps your body burning fat for the 24 hours after you’ve finished working out.
Instead of running 20 miles a day for your daily workout, try 20 minutes of running 100m sprints intervals followed by 30 seconds of rest.
Hack #3 – Intermittent Fasting
Yup, #3 is about your diet as well (I told you it’s that important). Want to see incredible results in your body? Try skipping the common 3 meals-a-day ritual everyone has and experiment with intermittent fasting. No, you don’t have to run off into a desert and stop eating for 4 days straight like Maneesh, but limit the times you eat throughout the day to an 8 hour window from 11am to 7pm. This not only allows you to maintain your stable insulin levels that you achieved while sleeping, but it’s simply harder to eat as much food in 8 hours as you normally would in 16-18. Experiment with different feeding windows.
The biggest hack of all:
When it comes to six pack abs, or hacking anything in life for that matter: if you want something, go after it intensely. Go all out. If you want to get a six pack, hack the crap out of your body and go hard for 8 weeks or however long it takes. Don’t waste your time wondering if you can do it or not. Just do it. Take that first step today. That’s how Maneesh ended up traveling the world and becoming a DJ in Berlin.
Once you’re where you want to be, then pull back on the intensity if you want. By then, you’ll have built the systems you need and formed the habits that let you turn on your fat burning mode anytime you want. And, while you don’t have to maintain a walk-around six pack if you don’t want to, you’ll be able to maintain at a point close enough that you should be able to get back to your six pack abs on demand with a couple a weeks notice.
How To Hack The Six Pack: A Summary
There you have it, the 3 biggest hacks to getting a six pack:
- Cut out the crap food. No bread/grains, processed foods, sugar or alcohol.
- Trade your 2 hour workouts for 20 minutes of high-intensity intervals
- Eat between 11am and 7pm.
Oh, and if you want something – go after it. Go all out. Life’s too short to waste your time telling yourself it’s impossible.
Joel does the impossible through physical challenges like his recent six pack abs transformation. You can do the same with your own personal Impossible Abs six pack challenge.