It seems like everybody wants six-pack abs these days, and some products promise nothing short of a miracle. The truth is, though, getting a six-pack takes a lot of work. Results won't come easy, especially as you get older.
If you don't already regularly hit the gym, if you're overweight or if you only think the word "captain'" when you hear somebody mention "crunch," the only way you're going to get a six-pack in one week is by going to the off-licence.
If you set out on a workout regimen and change your eating habits, it is possible to see results in a matter of weeks, but it usually takes at least two to three weeks and often much longer to get a true six-pack.
Getting six-pack abs is all about building muscle and losing fat. As the saying goes, "Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym." Everyone has abs, it's just a matter of exposing them, and getting a six-pack is more about diet than it is about exercise.
If you're looking to slim down and tone up, and you only have a week to do it, start with your diet. Cut out the fats, add more fruits and vegetables into your daily meals, and stick with fish and chicken or dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale for protein. Drink plenty of water and stay off the booze. Stay away from high-sugar food and drinks such as fruit juices and even so-called health snacks like granola.
Try to get in at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day. That could mean walking down the street to get lunch or a cup of coffee, or going for a walk or taking a jog on a treadmill or around your neighbourhood. Take the stairs at work, at least part of the way. Through it all, keep an upright posture, which alone will strengthen your core muscles. The point is to get your blood flowing and your metabolism moving.
Getting a six-pack in a hurry is going to require some sweat. Crunches are good, but traditional sit-ups are better. Proper form in each is key. Use a yoga mat or exercise mat for cushioning on the floor. If you have a workout partner, opt for the sit-up. Have him kneel at the base of your feet while you get into position. Your back and feet should be flat on the floor, with your legs bent. Have your partner hold your ankles while you use your abs to lift your chest to your knees. Do not use your arms to lift your head. Work your core no more than four days a week, and try to mix up your routine.
As an alternative to crunches or sit-ups, Pilates and yoga offer a great core workout, and for more advanced ab work, invest in a Swiss medicine ball.
If you can't quite manage six-pack abs in a week, don't stop! If you eat right and stay active, you'll reveal your six-pack in no time. Monitor your calorie intake on a daily basis.
Always consult with a doctor before starting any new exercise or diet program.