The Six Pack! Myth Or Truth?


Everyone knows about the six-pack, right? No, I’m not talking about six bottles of beer sold at the liquor store. I know some of you cheeky monkeys will come up with this suggestion! I’m talking about the six muscles on your abdomen.

If you are someone who follows celebrities and gossip magazine, you would have realised the unending supply of articles on how to get a six pack. In addition to that, you would have also noticed that the media portrays many people with washboard stomachs. It seems as though everybody has a six pack these days and that somehow you are inferior for not having one!

However, there is more than meets the eye. For a start, you don’t know whether what the media portrays is true. You have probably read about magazines and TV shows copping flak for incorrect portrayal of people. You see, with photoshop and similar programs, images can be retouched to give the illusion of a great physique. Other techniques such as lighting can also do that for media of the more videographic variety. Does this mean that you have been duped into believing the biggest fitness myth of all time – that anyone can get a sixpack? The answer is yes and no! Let me explain.

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The first fact I want to clear up is that the number of packs on your stomach is genetically determined to a certain extent. If you really trim off the fat from your abs and worked the muscles, you could have four, six, eight or twelve “packs”. The number isn’t always six all the time. And if you have lost a lot of weight, the packs might not even be visible because of the excess skin on the surface covering it.

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, let us stop splitting hairs here. Going back to the examples of celebrities, the reason why they have the abdominal packs is because they need to for some purpose or role. Imagine this – if some cologne company wants to pay you a huge sum of money for a photoshoot, with the condition that you must have washboard abs, don’t you think that would be enough motivation for you to actually do it?

Furthermore, don’t forget that celebrities have all kinds of people at their disposal – including a dietician, a physical trainer, a wardrobe stylist, a hair stylist, a photographer, a PR team etc etc. Of course they will have the resources to keep them in shape, right? That’s something us normal people don’t have access to!

Now let’s move onto another example – bodybuilders! While some people admire their physique, others cringe at the way they look. But what is undeniable is the impressive physique on their abs. Again, as bodybuilders, they have a tailored plan for their body and can stick to it all day – something which the rest of us can’t!

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I highlighted the examples above to demonstrate that even those with washboard abs might not have it all the time throughout the year. If there is motivation to have it, then they will do what it takes to get it for that period of time. This is the same deal with boxers and cage fighters. Of course, there are sportsmen who do have it all year round.

Now that we have provided such a discussion, the next question would relate to how you can get chiselled abs. If you think through it logically, the two requirements are these – your abdominal muscles need to be big enough to be visible and anything that covers them has to be removed, right?

Most people do not have trouble meeting the first objective. After all, we have all learnt about many variations of sit-ups and crunches. It’s the second objective that is more difficult. Truth be told, the best way to do it is to lose body fat. This means having a calorie deficit and exercising using either cardio or high-intensity interval training. Basically anything that can reduce your body fat percentage enough.

I hope this article was helpful and cleared up any misconceptions you might have about this topic. Of course there will always be those who disagree, such is the nature of the beast.

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