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Last Updated on January 8, 2018

How to Get a Six Pack: The Proven Way to Never Fail Again

How to Get a Six Pack: The Proven Way to Never Fail Again

I remember that one client approaching me in the gym, where I work as a trainer.

He told me that he’s been training for so long to get a six pack, but still hasn’t seen results yet. He asked me how to get a six pack and if I can recommend him some ‘stuff’ to get the six pack faster. He was referring to steroids.

Instead of answering his question, I asked him how long he was training so far. He told me that he’s been training for years. This sparked my curiosity, as I only see him in the gym a few times a year. I asked if he’s training at home in the meantime. He told me that he takes a break every 3 months, because he’s not seeing results.

This habit of regularly taking breaks prevents that person from chiseling his midsection. Getting a six pack takes more time than you think.

     Three Common Six Pack Myths

    “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.” – Richard Feynman

    Where the person taking multiple breaks failed is consistency. You can do hundreds of core exercises one day, but if you don’t do it on a continuous basis, you’re doomed to fail.

    I have to be honest here: real results usually only start coming after three months to a year. There is no shortcut. Most people start in May to get their six pack for summer. That’s about one month. That’s too short of a time period and you will be frustrated if your six pack has not arrived yet. Your goal should be able to motivate you, but it should also be fairly realistic.

    Most people fail in getting a six pack because they’re bound to some stubborn six pack myths. Some beliefs that the media, your friends or unscientific newspapers has engrained in you. Let me tell you the three biggest myths so they won’t stop you in achieving your goals.

    #1 No Carbohydrates In The Evening Or Other Diet Fads

    I was following a No-Carb Diet once. I’m ashamed to tell you this, but it’s true. I’ve done this diet fad for two weeks. The result? I had no energy in the gym and was angry all the time. I lost some pounds – which I gained all back immediately after stopping the diet.

    You don’t need to follow the latest top-notch diet trend that you’ve read about in a fitness magazine. Stick to the basics. Carbohydrates will not make you fat. Carbohydrates are fuel for your body and brain. Neither will intermittent fasting surely lead to weight loss. Long-term habit change is king. Simply start eating better today than you did yesterday.

    You have to realize that six packs are made in the kitchen. You can’t put out a fire while pouring oil on it. Pay attention to your nutrition. Eat whole, un-processed plant foods. Plants are lower on calories overall than meat and contain more fiber, which means they will make you feel full faster and with less calories.

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    #2 Follow A Rigorous Workout Schedule

    I remember trying out high intensity interval training. HIIT is a high performance training made for athletes. I decided to start my workout routine at 5AM in the morning. I stuck to this workout schedule for two days.

    My workout schedule was too rigorous. 100 sit-ups a day won’t bring you a six pack. Working out two hours for 7 days won’t get you closer to that chiseled midsection either. What matters, like in all aspects of life, is consistency and a long-term view. Ask yourself: Is the current workout schedule that you’re following sustainable and focused on your goals?

    The best workout for a six pack is, based on my experience, a whole body workout. With a focus on compound exercises. Compound exercises are for example: the squats, deadlifts, pull ups and bench press. Basically movements where a lot of muscle groups are trained simultaneously. This will burn more calories and increase your testosterone levels. Supplement this workout schedule with two times low-intensity, long-duration cardio per week. Endurance training for 30 minutes minimum.

    If that’s too hard, no problem. Start with 5 minutes and then slowly amp up.

      #3 Six Packs Are Purely Genetical

      I was not blessed with a six pack from birth. Most people that you see walking around with a chiseled midsection aren’t. To some people it comes easier, other people have to work really hard for it.

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      The tendons are genetic, though. Genetics play a role in determining whether or not you will have four, six or eight packs.

      Genetics will not determine, whether you’re willing to work hard enough to lose that excess fat around your belly or strengthen your core muscles. Everyone is able to lose fat and everyone is able to build muscles. What truly matters is how important it is for you to reach your goal.

      Where Most People Fail

      My little brother used to tell me of his first attempt to get a six pack. He went jogging, approximately for 10 minutes, to the next supermarket and bought himself an energy drink. He then returned home.

      Little did he know that this ‘exercise-routine’ actually lead him worse off in the long-term. The energy drink contained more calories than his jogging exercise would burn.

      Most people fail to see the big picture. I certainly did. My sixpack took years to be revealed. It could’ve taken me less time if I could’ve fixed my mindset earlier.

      Your nutrition may be top-notch but you may be drinking and partying every weekend, which drastically blunts your exercise results. Or your exercise routine may be great, but you’re never sleeping more than 4 hours a night and are constantly stressed out.

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      You have to look at the big picture. How good is your workout routine? Is your diet in check? If not, what could you do to make it better?

      The Proven Way to a Six Pack

      Get Your Mindset Right

      You’ve heard me talking about your mindset in my latest posts. Because it’s such a crucial factor. Your mindset is one of the biggest parts that you would need to change and it’s also the hardest one.

      Ask yourself: how bad do you want it? What is my motivation? Even with all the tips in check, it usually takes years of training until the six pack slowly fades in. Everyone that is telling you that they got a six pack by doing that magic exercise or swallowing that magic pill, is just, sorry to tell you that, lying in your face.

      Use a Shopping List

      Clean up your diet. Once I’ve stopped living with my mother, following a healthy diet turned out to be much easier. Not because my mother is a bad cook or forces us to eat McDonalds – no. But because she often bought chocolate and cookies for special occasions. These special occasions turned out to be nearly every evening when I came home after work.

      You can’t eat buckets of ice cream at 1 AM in the morning when you’re not buying the buckets of ice cream. It can be that easy. Start using a shopping list and buy healthier foods.

      Hire a Personal Trainer

      If you’re still searching for more accountability: hire a personal or an online trainer. The latter often being a little bit less expensive. A trainer can be the person that fully understands your health goals and that guides you to a healthier you with a chiseled midsection.

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      Reading such articles is a great start, but studying a couple of articles won’t replace a couple years of experience of a professional.

      If you want to know more about how I get a six pack, watch this animated video: Six Pack – How To Really Get One

      More by this author

      Florian Wüest

      Qualified and experienced fitness trainer and online coach.

      Why You Should Keep a Fitness Journal to Jumpstart Weight Loss The Truth Behind Rapid Weight Loss and the Best Way to Shed Pounds How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss? How Vegan Bodybuilding Diet Keeps Hunger at Bay While Plant Based The Biggest Myth Debunked: The More Protein You Eat, the Faster You Build Muscles?

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      Published on November 14, 2018

      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

      With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

      For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

      In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

      Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

      Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

      It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

      For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

      Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

      Symptoms of Fatigue

      Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

      • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
      • mental blocks
      • lack of motivation
      • headache
      • dizziness
      • muscle weakness
      • slowed reflexes and responses
      • impaired decision-making and judgement
      • moodiness, such as irritability
      • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
      • reduced immune system function
      • blurry vision
      • short-term memory problems
      • poor concentration
      • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

      Causes of Fatigue

      The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

      • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
      • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
      • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
      • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

      Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

      Medical Causes of Fatigue

      If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

      Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

      Anemia

      Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

      Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

      There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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      This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

      Diabetes

      Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

      Sleep Apnea

      Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

      Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

      Thyroid disease

      An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

      Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

      • Lack of sleep
      • Too much sleep 
      • Alcohol and drugs 
      • Sleep disturbances 
      • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
      • Poor diet 

      Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

      • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
      • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
      • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
      • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

      Psychological Causes of Fatigue

      Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

      • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
      • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
      • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

      How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

      Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

      1. Tell The Truth

      Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

      To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

      Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

      The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

      One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

      • How you feel
      • What time of day it is
      • What may have contributed to your fatigue
      • How your mind and body reacts

      This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

      2. Reduce Your Commitments

      When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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      If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

      When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

      Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

      3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

      If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

      Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

      If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

      Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

      Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

      4. Express More Gratitude

      Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

      It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

      Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

      5. Focus On Yourself

      Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

      There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

      But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

      We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

      6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

      Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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      Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

      The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

      Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

      7. Take a Power Nap

      When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

      Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

      This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

      8. Take More Exercise

      The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

      Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

      The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

      You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

      9. Get More Quality Sleep

      To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

      Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

      My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

      10. Improve Your Diet

      Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

      Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

      On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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      To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

      Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

      Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

      11. Manage Your Stress Levels

      Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

      When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

      Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

      My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

      12. Get Hydrated

      Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

      Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

      If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

      The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

      The Bottom Line

      These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

      If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

      Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
      [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
      [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
      [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
      [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
      [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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