Man revealing his abdominal muscles

How to Get a Six Pack After 40 (Case Study)

First off, some awesome news:

You already have abs.

OK, they might be small, they might not be very strong…

…but you have them all the same.

How do I know?

Because for over 30 years, I thought it was impossible for me to have six-pack abs.

(Call it genetics, bad luck or whatever)

Well, I was wrong.

In my mid-40s, I achieved this…

First six pack at the age of 45
…while breaking pretty much every rule in the how-to-get-a-six-pack handbook.

Even better:

I’m going to tell you how I did it.

(And why those “ab secrets and shortcuts” often lead to frustration and failure)

How to Get Six-Pack Abs in Two Easy Steps

Yeah, I know – it sounds almost too simple, right?

But here’s what getting a six pack ultimately comes down to:

1. Having big, strong abs

2. Losing enough body fat to reveal them

That’s all there is to it.

So, here’s how I achieved a six pack in less than 7 months…

Abs in hiding

…with this ↑ as my starting point.

1. Getting Big, Strong Abs

OK, few people are going to have big, strong abs without working out.

And here’s what most folks expect that to mean…

Hours in the gym, hammering your midsection with every exercise under the sun.

But that really isn’t necessary.

The Essential Ab-Blasting Exercises (…That I Didn’t Do)

I know, conventional wisdom says you have to blitz your abs from every conceivable angle with “core-busting moves”.

So a typical six-pack workout might include stuff like:

Crunches, sit ups, cable wood chops, pikes, planks, windshield wipers, leg raises, v-sits, reverse iso-lateral ca… (OK, you get the point, right?)

I don’t know about you, but that holds all the appeal of beating myself repeatedly with a hammer.

And let’s be honest.

All that “no pain, no gain” and “feel the burn” stuff is sooo 1980s.

The upshot?

I did pretty much zero direct ab work.

(I used my ab wheel a handful of times, but quickly got bored and gave it away)

But that didn’t mean my abs goofed off, drank beer and played poker…

How I Got My Abs Big and Strong

OK, are you ready for this?

I did nothing more exotic than squats, overhead presses, deadlifts, bench presses, and weighted chin ups.

That’s it.

Five exercises in total using a really basic program

…for just two 1-hour sessions per week.

(As I’ve been doing for the past few years)

Forget all that 2-hours-per-day, 5-days-per-week stuff.

We’ve all got way better things to do with our time, right?

But here’s the deal:

While you might only be spending 2% of the week working out…

…you’ve got to make those sessions count 100%.

That means consistently adding small increments of weight over weeks and months, and focusing on becoming whole-body strong.

Instead of trying to pound your core into submission…

…strong abs will simply come along for the ride.

And that’s the only resistance training I did.

But what about the dreaded c-word?

Cardio (…the “Destroyer of Abs”)

So, the dude in the “abs secrets” video stops smiling, turns deadly serious, and says:

DON’T do cardio…

Then he’ll mention a stress hormone, cortisol, that your body releases when you do cardio.

And how it does a whole bunch of evil stuff like:

  • “Kill testosterone”
  • “Makes you put on weight”
  • “Makes it IMPOSSIBLE to lose belly fat”

Heck, maybe they’ll even throw in a picture of an overweight person jogging, just to hammer their point home.

Cardio. Makes. You. Fat.

Face, meet palm.

Why?

Because here’s a shot taken mid-way through training for my first marathon…

You can have abs while training for a marathon

…at which point, I’d run at least a half-marathon distance every weekend for the past 2 months.

(That’s in addition to doing another 1-2 shorter runs each week)

So here’s the reality:

You CAN get a six pack while doing a whole bunch of cardio…

…regardless of what the “abs secrets” dude in the video says.

2. Losing Body Fat to Reveal Your Abs

Listen guys, this is at least as important as getting bigger and stronger abs.

Why?

Because having big, strong abs covered with a thick layer of fat simply won’t cut it.

Put it this way:

Place a baseball under a thick duvet, stand back and tell me what you see.

Yep, you won’t even notice it’s there.

Now place a golf ball under a thin sheet, and do the same.

It stands out in bold relief.

It “pops”.

And here’s what that means for you and me:

When your body fat is low enough, you don’t need massive muscles to look in great shape.

Abs after 40

In reality, I actually look kind of skinny in regular clothes.

(And I’m totally cool with that)

So, once you’ve got a little muscle mass, it really comes down to shedding body fat.

And that’s another place where the “shortcuts and secrets” guys try to hook you with…

Fat-Blasting Workouts

OK, let’s be honest:

Workouts that promise to “torch off body fat”, “release fat-burning hormones” and “re-ignite your metabolism” sound fricking awesome, right?

Throw in some science-y stuff about “the afterburn”, and – BOOM! – maybe you’ll get a six pack in a week.

But here’s the deal:

It simply doesn’t work that way out in the real world.

Why?

Because losing weight with exercise is just so inefficient.

Think of it this way:

It takes only a few minutes to fill your car with fuel…

…but you’ll have to drive for hours to burn through all that gas.

And it works the same for our bodies.

The Big Mac that took just a few minutes to wolf down?

You’d need to torture yourself on an exercise bike for over 30 minutes to burn that off.

And the much-vaunted “afterburn”?

Unfortunately, it’s so small that it’s not even worth thinking about.

Don’t get me wrong – I’d LOVE to be able to do a hard 20-minute sled-pushing session…

Short, hard workouts don't guarantee six-pack abs

…and then hog out for days afterwards while my body turns into a fat-burning machine.

But in reality, the afterburn might only amount to a couple of hundred calories.

In other words:

Have an extra handful of nuts or a latte, and you’re back to square one.

So, here’s what it boils down to…

The Best Exercises for Fat Loss

Listen, exercise is just awesome if you’re doing it because you enjoy it.

Walking, swimming, running, cycling or whatever.

But putting yourself through all that just to burn calories?

That’s going to suck, big time.

Ultimately, it’s way more efficient to throttle back on caloric intake instead.

That’s why the three best exercises for fat loss are:

Head shakes

Fork putdowns

Table push aways

(Take it from someone who learned that the hard way)

As the saying goes:

Strength is built in the gym but abs are made in the kitchen

Write that down.

Memorize it.

And repeat it to yourself every day.

The Six-Pack Diet

Now, where dieting is concerned, you read some of the kookiest stuff on the planet.

Things you’ve got to eat

Times you’ve got to eat

Things you’ve got to eat (but only at certain times)

And it gets worse:

Some six-pack experts even claim that…

Dieting causes your metabolism to shut down and store fat

Hey, perhaps they think I started out looking like the photo on the right, cut calories…

…and ended up looking like the photo on the left.

Who knows?

The bottom line is 99% of the things you’ll read about diet are either misleading or just plain wrong.

Here’s the kind of thing I’m talking about…

Foods You Must Avoid to Get a Six Pack

Spend enough time on the InterWebs, and deciding what to eat can seem more like a game of Russian roulette.

“Tofu, soy sauce, dairy and white rice?”

“Dude, that’s a one-way ticket to belly fat and weight gain!”

Hmm…

The thing is, I live in Japan and I eat a ton of those foods.

Heard the one about starchy carbs in the evening being a fast track to fat gain?

Well, I ate 22 lbs of white rice in 31 days (most of that after 6pm), and here’s how I looked at the end:

You can eat white rice and still have visible abs

And get this – blood tests confirmed that it had no adverse effect on my health…

…and I actually LOST weight.

Bottom line?

Ignore the gurus and stop majoring in the minors.

Here’s What REALLY Works

Listen, the best advice I can give is to focus on these three simple things:

1. Have a target daily calorie and protein intake

Protein should be 1 gram per pound of bodyweight per day, calories should be in line with how fast you want to lose fat.

2. Make sure that the majority of your calories come from minimally-processed whole foods

Having a rule of eating only single-ingredient foods can work really well.

3. Meal frequency and meal timing should come down to personal preference

As long as you hit your target daily calorie and protein intake, how many times you eat (and when) is completely up to you.

Get those three things on point, and you’ll be miles ahead of all those folks trying to “hack” their way to a six pack.

And Here’s the Biggest “Secret” of All

There’s a world of difference between knowing something…

…and actually putting it into consistent action.

What’s the biggest catalyst for taking action?

Desire.

So, if you REALLY want six-pack abs, you’ll get them if you follow the steps in this guide.

But if you’re holding out for:

• Cheats

• Hacks

• Shortcuts

Or an expensive piece of plastic that will magically give you abs like Cristiano Ronaldo…

six pad shortcut to a six pack

…you could be waiting for a looong time.

Can You Get a Six pack After 40?

Oh, yeah.

(Take it from someone who didn’t see his abs until he was 44)

Get strong with a proven training program.

Then strip off the fat using a few basic principles.

And – BINGO! – you’re good to go.

Not only will you have a midsection that will make 20-something guys (and their girlfriends) double take…

…you’ll also feel better, move better and have energy to burn.

It really isn’t that complicated.

– Tim

Images: Bigstock

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