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A six-pack is perhaps one of the worst judgments by which to determine how healthy someone is.

Does situps =six pack abs? Oh for sure dude!! So, like if I was a world champion at situps I should have the leanest, meanest abs EVER! Right? Right?

Go into any gym across the country and you will see people crunching themselves into oblivion trying to find these abs… Without success.

See below:

And yet the sit ups = six-pack is one of the foundational reasons upon which this fitness industry was created!

Six-pack abs are not a good judge of abdominal ability. Nor are they are good judge of actual health.

Left and right I see programs promising 6-pack abs in 4 weeks, 5 secret moves to give you a six-pack, 6-pack in a bottle of pills, 6-pack in an ancient secret passed down through chinese scrolls…

But if you go back to our friend with the unfashionable socks, you see he does not have that six pack… So if 45,005 sit ups is not enough, then what does it take?

You want 6-pack abs? Here’s some strategies that you see today that usually work to get the 6-pack ab look:

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Four strategies to achieve six pack abs:

#1 Take amphetamines and party like a rock star.

Hopefully the amphetamines will override your bodies natural instinct to sleep and you will be able to stay active for extended periods of time and dance the night away, burning calories aplenty thanks to your increased activity and super-boosted metabolism (if you start talking like daffy duck you might want to cut back on the dosage).

Just look at all those models? They have 6-packs and they show them off every chance they get (of course, the sunken dark eyeballs and jaundiced liver indicate they are severely dehydrated and are going into liver shutdown – but who am I to judge – they want their 6-pack and they shall have it, no matter the price!)

#2 Start popping diet pills like candy

They can increase your metabolism, dehydrate your body, cause you to poop more, super accelerate your livers ability to convert fat to calories and suppress your desire to eat. The perfect combination to help you create dramatic body change – as long as you never stop taking them… the second you do, your systems that are used to having a drug do the job for them will be asking for payback.. for a long time. So whatever you decide to go with, buy a lifetime supply and hope your liver, heart and intestinal system manages to keep from spontaneously combusting.

#3 Start counting calories and hope for the best

Counting calories does not equal lost weight. You might read plenty of diets that give a complete calorie by calorie breakdown – they are written for the general public – not for you. Weight Watchers is a program that is based mostly on calorie scores – some people claim great results, others claim none. The most important thing that the Weight Watchers program overlooks is our own individual biochemistry. We each respond differently to different food and calorie intake combinations.

Too few calories, your bodies metabolism will slow down.

Eat foods that your system has a mild reaction to (with no obvious symptoms) and the end result is poor digestion and weight retention.

#4 Do what the movie stars do

Movie stars hire trainers.. no, scratch that, they hire teams.

They spend time working out, eating right, sleeping right, hiding out and generally doing everything they humanly can to look good for their movie role.

For his part in the movie “Troy”, Brad Pitt spent 4 hours a day for 6 months working out hard-core. How good do you think you could look if you were able to put forth the same effort?) They also have nutritional programs, contracts and publicity events that they have to think about – did I mention that movie stars make pretty good money? How much would you workout for $20 mill?

The result of 6 months of grueling work

Brad Pitt showing off six months of grueling 4 hour daily workouts as part of his carefully scheduled and highly restricted nutritional/lifestyle plan.

Mind you, they also have fancy lighting, professional makeup artists, special soft camera lenses and know exactly for which days they need to look their very best.

In case you ever picked up a magazine and wondered what it took to ‘look like that’, here is a video that shows what the ‘TV Magic’ can do:



There is no such thing as spot reduction through exercise.

Doing ab work will not burn the fat around the abs.

You probably already have a washboard stomach.. you just have some laundry to take care of.

You might not be losing that last layer for reasons other than calorie intake (e.g. lifestyle/stress/allergic reactions to food/excessive exercise/poor sleep patterns)

A six pack does not equal good health. Plenty of people walk around with their six pack abs while the rest of their body/joints/internal organs fall apart around/within them.

A six pack just means someone has low body fat. It doesn’t make them healthier than you (or would you want to have a side by side health comparison to some of the more emaciated models in todays fashion world?)

My new favorite t-shirt

A six pack does not equal amazing health. It is just something you want because you are have been trained by society to want it.

There. I said it. Six pack looks nice but there are many other measures of health we should be focusing on other than what we look like in the mirror (mental/emotional/acceptance of self analysis, anyone?)

Some women drive their natural body rhythm into shutdown in an attempt to get a sixpack at the price of their future baby-making status.

Some guys get the fat sucked off their belly without really stopping to ask (A) how it got there or (B) what they are going to do to prevent it coming back.

Few of us define the picture of health further than to say we want the six-pack. It is achievable for many. But it requires work, nutritional attention and depending on where you are, a long term approach and a determination.

As a personal trainer, I aim to help clients get their body fat to a healthy level, but at some point I am duty bound to focus on other aspects of health other than body fat… or is that all anyone cares about nowadays?

Is a six pack all YOU care about? What do YOU think is an optimal measure of health?

Jamie Atlas

Top three all time blog posts:

how to get the perfect butt

the key component missed by 90% of flexibility classes

which is best:  treadmill, bike or elliptical?

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  • […] LeeB wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptA six-pack is perhaps one of the worst judgments by which to determine how healthy someone is. Does situps = flat abs? Oh for sure dude!! So, like if I was a world champion at situps I should have the leanest, meanest abs EVER! Right? Right? Go into any gym across the country and you will see people crunching themselves into oblivion trying to find these abs… Without success. See below: […]

    • Derick Oct 10, 2009 Reply

      you are a complete idiot. you don’t have to do amphetamines and workout for 4 hours a day to get abs. ( and just btw brad didn’t work out for 4 hours a day you idiot. he trained one muscle per day and did 1 hour workouts.) all you have to do to get abs is burn more calories then you take in everyday which isn’t very hard since your body alone expends around 2000 of them a day and do ab and core workouts, which could be done in about 10 minutes a day. im just gonna go out on a wing and guess that your a democrat, right?

      • jamieatlas Oct 13, 2009 Reply

        Hey Derick! Thanks for your comment! I am always keen to spice it up in this blog. You are totally right, I am an idiot. But I knew that already – a bunch of people beat you to that observation years ago.

        Just to clear up the ‘once body part for one hour’ statement, here’s a link to what Brad said he did for his training regiment:

        In case you are interested.

        I am glad you think that “expending more calories than you burn” is real easy – I would love it if you could help some of my clients who struggle to lose weight. A lot of people actually find it harder than you might think. I agree, it is an important part of getting a six pack. Its not the only part though.

        Oh and I never knew that whether I was a democrat or not was relevant to the process of getting sixpack abs. Sorry you felt the article didn’t give you what you were looking for.

      • Daniel Dec 29, 2011 Reply


        May god bless you and i hope one day you lear to appretiate other peoples work and desire to help. There are ways to give positive feedback and to give your opinion without lowring yourself as a human being.

        Have a great day today!



  • Jeffrey Jun 29, 2008 Reply

    Wonderful post.

  • sivag Jun 29, 2008 Reply

    then how can i getrid of my fat around my waist

  • jamieatlas Jun 30, 2008 Reply

    Hey Sivag – that is a great question. The fat around your waist can be from a variety of things non-calorie related. Take a look at this post

    The key thing to remember is that if your sixpack progress hits a wall, try to find a door… that is to say, keep changing up your methods – try focusing on more exercise/better nutrition/lifestyle factors. Alone each factor can make subtle change, but together their influences are synergistic.

  • […] Situps do not equal sixpack abs […]

  • […] Sit ups do NOT equal sixpack abs […]

  • jaco otto Sep 17, 2008 Reply

    i really believe that what your saying here makes sense and all… thanx for your insight… people, drink lots of water, it helps detoxify you and lose weight(flab)

  • jamieatlas Sep 27, 2008 Reply

    Some great insights here – I am starting to think the readers leaving comments should be writing the articles instead! Thanks for all your contributions. I really appreciate all of your comments.
    Please be sure to read some of my other articles that pull back the curtain on the disinformation that is being shown by the mainstream media.

  • […] The second highest viewed article (2,445 hits) is about the awful truth that sit ups alone have very… […]

  • 2Para Jan 7, 2009 Reply

    Your almost right, but sit ups can and do get 6 pack abs, but for it to work without taking drugs or starving yourself etc you have to spend alot of time doing it. 6 pack abs is not really strong abs alone, it also requires you to have little fat around your waist, you can do it healthly but your looking at 500 sit ups a day for 6 months, and thats after loosing the belly. Most people should be able to handle 50-100 sit ups in one go, just fold your arms over your chest and do as many as you can. Do that 5 times a day, it only takes 2-3 mins to do 100 sit ups. You cant get 6 pack abs in 4 weeks, not in 8 weeks and not even in 12 weeks unless your rich or like bringing death closer to your organs. But 500 sit ups a day for 6 months you WILL get results. Either be happy fat or finally learn it takes time to have abs like brad pitt. Stop looking for short cuts and dig in deep!

    • jamieatlas Jan 7, 2009 Reply

      Thanks for your comment 2Para. Perhaps I am being a bit too dogmatic in my approach. If I were to do 500 situps a day for 6 months I might get to my sixpack status, but I cringe to think of the low back shearing forces and the neck and hip flexor issues that might come as a result of a situp-a-palooza the scale of which you are proposing. I might also propose a theory that I could get a sixpack doing 500 squats a day, an exercise that would still work my abs (through stabilization) but would burn significantly more calories therefore reducing the fat covering my abs (and the rest of my body) but would also give me a nicer booty at the same time…

      I definitely agree that many programs promising 6 pack abs are overestimating how quickly results will come. I also think that different people might get different results at different speeds. If someone has been lean and muscular before, the body is able to approach that level of fitness much more readily than if they were never at the point they are trying to achieve.

      So 2Para, not sure I agree 100% with you but definitely 70-80% agree 🙂 Thanks for your post – I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

      Jamie Atlas

  • jamieatlas Jan 7, 2009 Reply

    One last thing, Para. While we all could benefit from doing situps to work the rectus abdominals (thats the name of the muscles that make up the sixpack) I dare say the gentleman at the top of the picture (you know, the world champion situp guy) probably rips out a few thousand before breakfast every day – if he still has some ‘excess covering his rectus’ then the theory of reps = lean abs doesn’t quite fit… don’t you agree?

  • Sue Mar 11, 2009 Reply

    Great post! The photoshop work is amazing – there is nothing left of the real person at all…

  • Martin May 7, 2009 Reply

    run, cardio, sex…… 🙂

    Start doing cardio with a 15 minute warm up. fat burning occurs at a 160-172 bpm. Maintain that for 45 to 1 hour(if you can). if this is to much for you, work your way there.

    do this 3 times a week. Maybe even try Yoga or Plyometrics(Jump training).

    • jamieatlas May 7, 2009 Reply

      Ahhh, Martin you have hit on a very important point – cardio to burn fat. I might challenge the ‘fat burning begins at’ statement. Each of us have different levels at which we burn different amounts of fat – I would agree that cardio is important, but perhaps varying the cardio with different machines (see my article of treadmill vs elliptical). I would also say there is nothing wrong with doing cardio 5-6 days a week and although I think yoga and plyos are great, if I have a bunch of fat to shed doing big jumps is not going to be good for my knees, and being in a yoga class is not going to be good for my ego.. know what I mean? So, not sure I agree with the middle part of your post, but am diggin’ your trifecta approach of run, cardio, sex. Now, if only I could make up my mind which one burns more calories?! I guess it depends on your training partner, right?

  • themaster Feb 23, 2010 Reply

    your all idiots. you dont need to do any ab exercises to get a six pack period. six packs happen when you get your body fat to single digit percentages. only then should you do isolated ab exercises to improve upon the already existing ab exercises. do 500 situps a day is a complete waste of time. unless you are an athlete you dont need to do this. also when you do reach the single digits in body fat crunches are the last exercise you want to be doing to enhance the abs.

  • John Mar 3, 2010 Reply


    May I call you master? So it’s safe to assume that your body fat percentage is in the single digits then? You’re probably right though it really is a magical phenomenon…once you do get into the single digits the six pack just appears. It’s weird that the average person doesn’t understand something as basic as that isn’t it?

    Personally, much like yourself probably, I believe we don’t need to workout at all. Honestly if we all just closed out eyes and wished ourselves to be as fit and masterful as you more than likely are it would happen.

    Word of advice for someone in your situation…drop the act…admit you love eating loaded nachos while sitting on the couch watching the biggest loser wishing they would accept your application.

  • corybrothas Nov 7, 2010 Reply

    If u watch ur diet and work out hard and long u shouldnt be worried about getting muscle.

    • jamieatlas Nov 18, 2010 Reply

      Ok Corybrothas – gimme the long version of that. I like that you wrote it but can you be a little more specific?

  • Thomas Oct 14, 2011 Reply

    Ok I don’t know why people dislike sit-ups and say they don’t work. I have a six pack and have had them from when I was about 10 or 11. This was from about a year after I started karate. They were not big but yOu could see them. I’m now 17 and a black belt , my abs are as hard as a rock. So any one who says sit-ups don’t or won’t give you abs does not know what there talking about.

    • jamieatlas Oct 15, 2011 Reply

      Hey Thomas! Thanks for the comment. Sooo… take another look at the picture of the guy who just did… erm… 26,000 situps in 24 hours.. have a think about it and then tell me again what your position is on situps and six packs. Come on matey – you’re 17! Your metabolism is through the roof and it sounds like you’re superactive. I’m not saying situps won’t give you abs… I’m just saying that doing them doesn’t guarantee anyone will be able to see them underneath whatever layer of fat might be covering them! 🙂

  • Abongile Dec 8, 2011 Reply

    Hi there, I have an average body and I’m quite content with my six-pack. But I have a problem with working out my chest, its flat and I’d really love to know how do I go about building the muscles on my chest?

  • Erin Mar 24, 2012 Reply

    Jamie! Don’t ever say that you are an idiot! Your blog is awesome. I’ve known this advice for many years and it still amazes me that it is not that people don’t get it, they don’t WANT to get it. They want to believe that using the ab-cruncher they bought at 3:00 am while watching that super-convincing infomercial is the answer. I love that you mentioned that it can be unhealthy because tons of women who achieve that 6 pack look stop getting their periods (how normal or healthy is that?). I had a friend who ran marathons and ate healthy and developed a 6 pack but she lost her period. I think healthy with a flat stomach (but not ‘cut’) is the way too go. Loved your perfect butt videos. So glad you posted them. <3

  • Sincerityrules Apr 16, 2012 Reply

    Health is something people should prioritize. But having goals is not always a bad thing. it can be a motivation factor as well.

  • sixpack trainieren Apr 19, 2012 Reply

    You need to be a part of a contest for one of the finest websites on the internet. I am going to recommend this site!

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