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How Long Does It Take to Get Abs?

    Rippling stomachs are now a paradigm of being fit, healthy, and of course, alluring. So, everyone dreams of getting one, but the fear of late outcomes, difficult nutrition, and training requirements make people barely dare to begin the process. But how long does it really take to get a defined core?

    It takes between a few weeks to a few years to get abs, depending on your athletic level, gender, current size, etc. Use this handy tool to calculate your starting BF amount and the ACE chart to get the final BF based on your body metrics. Then, use our magic formula to achieve the exact duration.

    In this article, we’ll talk about how long getting abs takes for men, women, overweight, average, fit, and athletic people, in general. We’ll also give you step-by-step instructions to estimate the exact duration for you. In the end, you’ll learn a few ways to accelerate this process or ensure it doesn’t take any longer.

    The Standard Six-Pack Timeline

    Your six-pack timeline can vary largely from person to person, depending on their gender, athletic level, body fat percentage, diet, and the amount of daily effort they put into the process.

    But generally speaking, men need to reach 6 to 13% of their body fat to get a well-defined midsection. And women must get down to 14 to 20% of their body fat to achieve that dreamy core.

    This can translate to 1-1.5 years for an average man and 1.5-2 years for an average woman. However, that’s only a rough estimation, and you need to do a little math to get the exact time. 

    Below, we’ll show you how the desirable body fat percentage varies depending on your fitness level, so you can find your own target. Then, we’ll teach you how to calculate the time you need to hit that target.

    Ideal Body Fat Percentage for a Ripped Abs

    Due to how lean your muscles are right now, how much fat is stored in your belly, and your gender, you may see the bumpy muscles in your abs sooner or later than others.

    Fortunately, ACE has provided a comprehensive chart to help you discover your exact target BF:

    Fitness Level Required BF for Men Required BF for Women Estimated Time
    Essential fat 2%–5% 10%–13% A few weeks
    Athletes 6%–13% 14%–20% 1-2 months
    Fitness 14%–17% 21%–24% 2-3 months
    Average 18%–24% 25%–31% 6 to 12 months
    Obese >25%  >32% 1-2 years

    Measuring the Time it Takes to Get a Six-Pack

    Now that you know where you exist within the above chart, you have a goal–for example, to reach 20 percent of your BF as an average man. So, it’s time to find out your current status and how long it takes to transit from this starting point to your ideal abdominals. Here’s a guide:

    Find Your Current BF

    Measuring your current body fat percentage is the first step in pinpointing how long you need to strive for shredded abs.

    And the good news is, it’s as easy as using an online tool and inserting some of your factors such as overall weight, age, sex, as well as your stomach, thighs, wrist, and forearm metrics.

    Here are two automatic calculators to use:

    Discover How Quickly You Can Hit the Target

    Your current body composition doesn’t only affect your target; it also plays a role in how long you can hit that target.

    As a rule of thumb, one can shed between 2 to 4 percent of their weight per month, which means a 1-2 percent monthly drop in their body fat.

    However, these numbers can go higher as you get closer to the end of the above chart. That’s because losing weight through a certain activity happens faster in obese people than moderately chubby or average ones.

    It’s all about how our body treats weight loss: The more pounds you want to cut away, the quicker it occurs. But as you get leaner and leaner, this process takes longer.

    Use these Magic Formulas to Get the Timeline

    Now that you have your current status plus your to-be status, the only thing you should do is subtract them from each other to see how far you are from your desirable form.

    The amount of fat you have to burn= your current BF – your target BF

    Then, to divide “the amount of fat you have to burn” to “how quickly you can burn it”—1 or 2 percent—to get the number of months.

    How long it takes to get Abs=

    the amount of fat you have to burn / how quickly you can burn it

    But since you’re likely to shed more fat in the first half of your weight-loss cycle where you’re still chubby, it’s more accurate to divide the total number of fat you want to burn to half. Then, divide the first part to 2 and the second part to 1. The sum of these two numbers would be the number of months it takes to get shredded abs.

    Here’s an example:

    Assume you’re a medium-sized man with 30% body fat, and you have to reach 18% to get a washboard stomach. In this case, you have to burn 12% of your body fat (30-18=12).

    But you’ll likely lose the first half of 12 percent with a different ratio than the other half (2% monthly ratio as opposed to 1% monthly ratio).

    So, you break 12 into two halves (12/2=6).

    Then, divide the first half into 2 (6/2=3) and the second half into 1 (6/1=6).

    Finally, sum up the results (6+3=9).

    It takes nine months until your belly muscles head out.

    What It Takes to Get Six-Pack Abs

    Knowing how many months you’re away from a coveted core is only the beginning of the story. It’s all about theories and won’t turn into reality unless you know what to do in this period.

    You have to train properly and tweak your diet to see your abs muscles pop out. Here are some techniques to cut away from your belly fat:

    Adopt HIIT Cardio Workouts

    Cardio exercises are super effective at reducing your waist circumference and overall body weight, especially if you’re obese. And it doesn’t matter what cardio you choose: running, swimming, biking, or just gym equipment such as treadmill and cross-trainer.

    However, if you really want to make your six-packs visible in the targeted time frame, you need to do it every day. If you don’t have that much time, transit to the HIIT style.

    Research proves it as the fastest and most effective way for weight loss and visceral fat burn. And its only difference from steady-state cardio is that you should vary between low and high-intensity intervals.

    Depending on the type of exercise and your ability, the ideal plan is to go hard for about 30-40 seconds, take a 20-seconds rest (low-intensity), and repeat the cycle.

    As your body adapts to this style, you can gradually increase the all-out phase in favor of the recovery period.

    Do weight Training

    Add resistance training to your workout routine to get better fat loss benefits.

    A 2011 study proved that those who mix cardio with strength training in their weekly workout plan could further reduce their waist circumference and produce more lean muscles than those who only included cardio workouts.

    Among the strength exercises, rows, deadlifts, sit-ups, crunches, bridges, planks, squats, and curls are the most effective ones for abs emphasizing.

    An abs roller wheel is also an inexpensive piece of equipment to have at home. The Vinsguir wheel has a stainless steel shaft, comes with a kneepad, and supports up to 440 pounds. And the great thing is that you don’t need to set up bulky equipment. You can use this device anywhere to get your ab exercises. 

    Vinsguir Ab Roller for Abs Workout, Ab Roller Wheel Exercise Equipment for Core Workout, Ab Wheel Roller for Home Gym, Ab Workout Equipment for Abdominal Exercise (Black&Red)
    • Efficient Ab Workout Equipment : Easy to install, Vinsguir ab roller provides superb convenience and efficiency for abdominal & core strength training. Unlike big machines, benches, push up bars, dumbbells, or other heavy workout stuff, the ab roller wheel is portable size-wise -- a compact design that enables you to take it anywhere to exercise, be it your home, office, gym, or outdoors
    • User-Friendly for Both Beginner and Advanced Levels : The ab trainer comes with one knee mat, offering solid support and caring protection for beginners to smoothly perform movements without getting injured. Once you’ve built your core strength, try to embrace more exciting and challenging routines without using the pad

    But don’t just rely on one of them. Vary your exercises as much as possible to target all your abdominal muscles, such as your Transverse Abdominis, Rectus Abdominis, plus both external and internal Obliques.

    Transverse Abdomins

    If you work with machines, be careful about what you choose, the load, and your posture during the sets. This article gives you a list of the best abs equipment you can use.

    Here are two sample programs that let you a great variety of abs exercises:


    3 months workout

    Cut Down on Your Calories

    According to Harward medical school, getting a killer six-pack and generally losing fat requires you to omit 500 calories from your daily diet. This amount lets you lose 1 to 2 pounds of weight.

    To bring about this calorie deficit, you have to make a few revisions in your diet:

    • Leave out the sugar: By sugar here, we mean added sugar, not naturally occurring types in fruits and dairy. Sweeteners, fizzy drinks, pastries, and candies are the main sources of added sugar. You would also be aware of any processed food that contains dextrose and sucrose.
    • Eat more fiber: fibers help reduce your appetite and hence decrease your calorie intake. It also digests later than other nutrients, so you’ll remain full for most of the day and don’t consume much. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes are usually rich in fiber.
    • Replace complex carbs with simple carbs: They tend to digest more slowly than simple ones, and they’re also richer in fiber. They’re mostly present in brown rice, beans, rolled oats, grains, peas, and green veggies.

    Note: If you’re exercising, reducing only 250 calories will also do the job because you’ll lose the other fat by physical activity. 

    Increase Your Protein Intake

    Consuming protein can help you lose belly fat by reducing your appetite, adjusting hormones, and boosting metabolism. It also encourages muscle gain, decreasing the time your six-packs will reveal themselves.

    Studies suggest you consume 0.8 to 1.6 grams of daily protein per kilogram of your total body weight to grow muscles. It translates to almost 55 grams for men and 45 grams for women.

    This is especially helpful if you’re trying to build abs with strength training.

    The best sources of lean protein include:

    • Meats like chicken, turkey, and beef, and its alternatives like tofu.
    • Dairy products like Parmesan and Greek yogurt.
    • Legumes and nuts, especially peanuts and pumpkin seeds.
    • Whole eggs.

    In Summary

    Men need about 1.5 years and women about two years to get a chiselled abdomen, but that may vary depending on your physique, level of obesity, readiness, age, genetics, and many other factors.

    So, to get the exact duration, first, you have to measure your current body fat percentage, find your target body fat percentage—in which the abs show off—and then calculate the time you can get from point 1 to point 2.

    You also want to make sure to give your all to the procedure. Adapt a low-calorie diet, and switch to fiber-rich and protein-rich foods. Also, include both cardio and resistance workouts, and do them persistently to succeed.

    Last update on 2022-10-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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