You want a six pack, right?  Well, who doesn’t?  There’s no doubt that ripped abs are one of the most highly sought after and elusive fitness goals. Sure, it can be challenging to dial in the precise diet and exercise plan required to reveal your abs, but it’s not impossible.

Believe it or not, a flat stomach won’t cost you four payments of $39.95, and there are no pills or powders to purchase.  All you have to do is implement these simple fat burning, muscle building tactics, in the gym and in the kitchen, to hack your way to a six pack.   

First, let’s look at WHAT NOT TO DO if you want a six pack. 

You can’t crunch your way to abs.  And, running hundreds of miles each week isn’t the answer either.  Still worse is eating fewer calories as part of a low calorie, low carbohydrate starvation diet.  But, above all, you can’t rely on a fat-loss pill as the answer to your six pack prayers. 

The truth is if you want abs, you will have to reevaluate how you are training and eating.  The overarching goal is to boost your metabolism and lose your gut in order to reveal your abs.  And, what you eat is 75% of the battle; training makes up the other 25%. 

Hack # 1 – Dial In Your Diet  

If the recipe for a six pack is 3 parts diet and 1 part training, you’ve got to prioritize what you’re eating.  The first step is to cut out all of the junk.  That includes processed foods, refined sugar, bread, grains, and alcohol.  Put simply, if it comes out of a box or a bag, stay away from it. 

Now, eliminating all of that food might seem a bit drastic, until you realize that you will be replacing them with much more nutritious foods.  Eat lean protein, fresh vegetables, some fruit, healthy sources of fat, limited number of starches, and no added sugars.  Aim for three meals during the day and one or two snacks, depending on hunger and activity level.

Hack # 2 – Cycle Your Carbohydrates  

Once you get the handle on your eating – by eliminating all of the fake food from your diet, fridge and life – it’s time to mix up your carb intake.  If you were to eat a super-clean, low carbohydrate diet on a continual basis your body might begin to store fat.  Your stress and growth hormones could also go haywire; sabotaging your fat loss and muscle building goals. 

Avoid this altogether by alternating between high, moderate, and low carbohydrate days.  For instance, consider three low carb days followed by one high carb day.  Or, two low, one moderate, two low and one high.  This concept is not an exact science and can be tweaked based on your individual training schedule.  Personally, I keep everything low or moderate and then go big on high intensity training days or a refueling day at the end of the week. 

Hack # 3 – Get Off Your Back

No more laying down on the job.  Sit-ups and crunches are not the best way to train your core.  Think of yourself as the CEO of your body.  Your job is to get the biggest return from your exercise investment.  You can do a million crunches that will burn a few calories. Or, you can use compound and explosive exercises to train strength and cardio at the same time.  Yeah, I’d go with the second option too. 

Compound exercises engage multiple muscle groups at the same time.  Prioritize movements like the squat, dead lift and thruster.  And, when I refer to explosive exercises I am talking about athletic based movements with some component of jumping or hip drive.  Become acquainted with kettlebells and plyometrics to boost that return on investment we talked about. 

Hack # 4 – Question Your Cardio 

Most everyone hates running on the treadmill or pounding the pavement mile after mile.  And, just as many people think that is the only way to lose weight and get a six pack.  Well, we can toss that idea right out of the window.  High Intensity Interval Training is a far more effective method for burning fat and preserving muscle than running long distances. 

During a HIIT training session, alternate periods of maximum effort or intensity with brief periods of recovery at a moderate or low effort.  You can sprint, bike, jump rope or even create a body weight workout using jump squats and burpees to increase intensity and max out your heart rate.  15-20 minutes is all it takes to get a killer cardio workout using the HIIT technique. 

Ready to reveal your six pack?  What have you been doing wrong?  How can you use these hacks to transform your workouts and your body?