Walk into any gym, and you’ll likely see someone doing crunches. Because crunches are the only way to get six-pack abs, right? Wrong!  So how do you get amazing abs? Simple: You need to make your body – especially your belly – as lean and strong as possible. Your abdominal muscles sit behind a layer of fat that was put there to protect your organs and help keep you warm. So if you want to see your abs, you need to make this layer of fat as lean and tight as possible.

To achieve this, you have to:

1. Clean up your diet

Your granny was right: You are what you eat. So if you keep eating koeksisters and burgers, no amount of crunches is going to make you lean.

Focus on a diet that’s low in carbohydrates, refined foods and sugars. Opt for meals with a moderate amount of protein, and an abundance of healthy fats (like avocado, extra virgin olive oil, etc) and fibre (hello, green leafy veggies!).

The trick with diets is to turn them into a lifestyle and you can’t do this if your chosen diet is not sustainable. So avoid fad diets that promise great results but will leave you feeling ill, weak or just plain frustrated. Keep it simple: Eat whole foods – the right ones.

2. Get the right exercise

Running on the treadmill for three hours every day, chasing the six-pack abs dream is NOT going to give you that six-pack. Too much high-intensity exercise could result in a nasty injury.

Plus, there’s plenty of evidence that cardio training alone is less effective than a mix of cardio and strength training. What’s more, you need overall body strength – not just abdominal strength – to get closer to the six-pack abs  you’re after.

We recommend you create a workout schedule that offers you a mix of interval training, including weights/strength training, as well as cardio exercise. And don’t forget that a rest day once or twice a week is also beneficial. You could use those rest days to stretch, or engage in say, team sports that get you moving and keep you engaged with your goals.

Oh, and keep in mind that functional abdominal exercises will be more useful than regular old crunches (which ca hurt your lower back).

How to get those six-pack abs

3. Give it time

Getting lean takes time. You won’t see huge changes in your abdominals in one week, or two. It may take months before you start to “see” your six-pack abs. So be patient and just keep up the hard work. Remember that, once you start getting lean, you have to work harder to see big losses.

Also, keep in mind that every body is different. In fact, science has shown us that men lose body fat easier and quicker than women (women need to have a higher body fat percentage for normal bodily function). So be realistic in your goals from the start. Some of the bodies you see in music videos and on magazine covers have been made with the help of chemicals and drugs.

If you own more gym pants than jeans, and your friends regularly ask you for workout advice, maybe you’re destined to be the next superstar personal trainer? Sign up today for a Comprehensive Personal Training Certificate from Trifocus Fitness Academy and make it a reality!