One woman recently wrote to me and said she would do anything to have a body like Miss Figure Olympia, Erin Stern

The very next day, another woman e-mailed me and said, “I wanna look like Demi Moore, Sheryl Crow, Jennifer Aniston, or Halle Berry in their prime, NOT Miss Olympia.”

A 19 year old wrote to me and said he wanted to get huge – absolutely massive – like the pro bodybuilders.

Other guys tell me they don’t want to get too big – they want to fit into their business suits nicely and they just want to take a few inches off their waist, and get that “Men’s Fitness” look.

I’m not sure what your idea of a “perfect body” looks like because everyone has different goals and different standards of physical attractiveness.

But there is one thing that everyone wants …



I’ve never met a single person, male or female, young or old, who didn’t want a lean, flat stomach with a “six pack” of abs.

Abs are the one “defining” part of the body considered universally attractive and desirable… abdominal flab is always an unwanted guest.

Ironically, getting great abs is the one goal that seems to elude most people.

How many people do you know – maybe even yourself – who have successfully reduced their body fat percentage, taken in their belt a few notches, dropped a few pounds, and yet still, they don’t have that rock-hard, flat-stomach six-pack look?

When you flip through the fitness magazines, you see awesome abs everywhere, but when you go to the beach, the pool or the park in the summer, how many sets of 6-pack abs do you actually see in public?

You have to agree – a truly impressive set of six pack abs is a rare sight.

Why is it so hard to achieve the ripped abs look, and how do you get it? There is an answer and explanation.

Most people are either going about it completely wrong, or they are on the right track, but their approach is incomplete.

The first place they stumble is that they believe abdominal exercises alone will get them a six pack. Abdominal exercise strengthens and develops the abdominal muscles but it does not remove body fat.

You could have great abdominal muscle development, and abdominal strength, but if your body fat percentage is too high, then you still will not be able to see them.

This is because most of your fat is “subcutaneous” – which means the fat is stored right UNDER your skin, but ON TOP of your muscles – covering up your muscle definition.

A good example of this is when a competitive bodybuilder “bulks up” after a competition, gaining excess body fat. This bodybuilder already has impressive muscle mass and awesome abdominal muscle development. The muscles are still there – underneath – but when they get covered over with fat they simply are not visible.

So, the #1 key to getting great abs is body fat reduction.

If your body fat is not low enough, you will never see your abs. You need a method for reducing body fat to a level low enough that allows your abdominals show through.

And if you’re ambitious and you want truly “ripped” abs, then your body fat level has to be so low, that your skin literally lies right on top of your abdominal muscles (imagine the skin tightly clinging to your abdominal muscles like saran wrap!)

The ideal fat reduction method must include nutrition, cardio training and strength training. Ask yourself, are you leaving out any one of these critical components?

Are you dieting without exercising? Are you doing cardio, but not weight training? Are you training hard, but eating poorly? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you are going to have difficulty getting the six pack abs look until you get all three into place at the same time.

The research has shown that diet alone is very ineffective at keeping fat off permanently. When strength training and cardio training are added, results are not only improved but also maintained long term.

Key #2 is to diet properly in a manner that is hormonally and physiologically correct, in order to make sure you avoid hitting a fat loss plateau.

It is common to get great results initially, but then you hit a fat loss plateau within 4-12 weeks. Sound familiar?

This occurs because there is a lag time before your body recognizes a severe calorie deficit and when it does, your body fights back to maintain homeostasis

Once your body starts getting clear signals that there is a food shortage, your metabolic rate will decrease. Fat burning hormones like leptin and thyroid will also decrease and the hunger center in your brain will get turned on full blast.

This explains from a physiological point of view, why “the last 10 pounds” is so hard to lose – it’s because your body went into “starvation mode” before you got lean enough to see 6-pack abs.

How do you avoid starvation mode? It’s simple – don’t starve yourself! My entire Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle program is based on this premise:

It’s better to burn the fat than to starve the fat (eat more, burn more)

Key #3 to 6-pack abs and the body you want is to use the right combination of cardio and strength training.

There are actually three different types of training you must do to get great abs.

One is cardio vascular training to assist with the fat burning process.

The second is weight training – for your entire body – which will increase lean body mass. Lean muscle is the engine that drives your metabolism.

The third is the specific abdominal exercises.

Ab exercises alone don’t work.

“Diets don’t work” is more than a cliché, it is a physiological truth when you mean dieting alone with no training

Exercise combined with nutrition is the answer, not one or the other.

When I developed my Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle program, I based the program on all three of these keys… plus the motivational tools you need to put these keys to work in your life. Burn The Fat is not merely a diet program and not just an exercise program. It’s both.

When you add the “mental training” component into the mix, which includes setting goals properly, visualizing, affirming, and focusing your mind on what you want (not what you want to avoid), this gives you the motivation to stick with your exercise and nutrition program more easily and consistently.

And there you have it…

How do you get 6-pack abs? The simplest formula is is a combination of these 3 keys:

1. Nutrition
2. Weight training
3. Cardio training

If you add “mental training” that is the key to sticking to the first 3. This is the same formula we’ve been using in our Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle community for 20 years, and the formula still works to this day. The specifics of each of these 4 keys is spelled out in detail in the Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle book.

I’m not sure if you have newest revised and updated edition of the Burn The Fat, Feed the Muscle program yet, but if you don’t, grab a copy in hardcover, kindle or audiobook on amazon here:

Tom Venuto,
Author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (BFFM) – The Bible Of Fat Loss
Author of The BFFM Guide To Flexible Meal Planning For Fat Loss
Founder, Burn the Fat Inner Circle

PS. Related: How Often Should You Train Your Abs?

tomvenuto-blogAbout Tom Venuto, The No-BS Fat Loss Coach
Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilding and fat loss expert.  He is a former competitive bodybuilder and today works as a full-time fitness coach, writer, blogger, and author. In his spare time, he is an avid outdoor enthusiast and backpacker. His book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle is an international bestseller, first as an ebook and now as a hardcover and audiobook. The Body Fat Solution, Tom’s book about emotional eating and long-term weight maintenance, was an Oprah Magazine and Men’s Fitness Magazine pick. Tom is also the founder of Burn The Fat Inner Circle – a fitness support community with over 55,000 members worldwide since 2006. Click here to learn more about Burn the fat Inner Circle


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