Posted by: 4pack | March 13, 2009

“Ideal Shape”: Six-Pack Abs Are Unrealistic For Most Men And Would Require An “Unhealthy Diet”; Better To Shoot For A “Four Pack”

The classic six-pack would require 3-6% body fat....

The classic six-pack would require 3-6% body fat....


For men that average daily targeted intake of calories is between 1,800 and 2,000 calories.

“Having great abs starts with good eating habits,” said Michael Courser, head trainer at Physical Impact Gym and Fitness. “Until you get those under control you can do all the exercise you want but still not get the results you desire.”


 “That look would require a person getting their body fat down to between 3 and 6 percent — that’s not healthy,” Binkley-Childress said. While the look may be impressive on a magazine cover, it is only advised for people involved in intense training for fitness competitions and only for short periods.

What is more realistic, Binkley-Childress said, is focusing on healthy eating and an exercise regimen that is focused on a person’s goals while ensuring safety.

Plus, she said, when exercises are done properly, regardless of what the focus is, the results are better.

“You don’t have to work as hard if you do them properly,” she said. For people who are just starting to work out, Binkley-Childress advises taking a class or working with a trainer to get the right technique down.

For solid, well toned abs, one of the key ingredients is something people have no control over — their body type.

“Great genetics helps,” Binkley-Childress said. “We can’t change that for you but we can help you make the best of what you were given.”

It takes work

After diet, she said the next best thing people who want firm abdominal muscles can do is to get cardiovascular exercise.

“The minimum requirement for health is 30 minutes per day,” she said.

“However, to change the way your body looks you’ll have to do more than the minimum.”

Just how much more depends on a person’s metabolism or how they burn calories. Binkley-Childress said an individual’s metabolism rate can be increased with certain foods and weight training.

After learning the proper exercises and correct form, she said firming abs requires a “lot of hard work and motivation.” For people who have trouble getting motivated on their own, she advises hiring a personal trainer or joining a class.

Good abs, good diet

“Having great abs starts with good eating habits,” said Michael Courser, head trainer at Physical Impact Gym and Fitness. “Until you get those under control you can do all the exercise you want but still not get the results you desire.”

Courser advises people who want to trim weight, firm up flab and get in better shape to think of their bodies as a machine or a fire.

“You need to keep adding fuel to keep it going,” he said. Instead of the “three square meals” a day many people are accustomed to, he suggests eating smaller meals with healthy snacks in between.

“If you eat the standard three meals a day, there’s a long time between, and when you do sit down to eat you have a tendency to overeat,” Courser said. “You pile it on and basically turn your body into a storage facility.”

Over time, that storage area for many people accumulates around the waist.

Stay away from fried foods and snack on carrots, celery, granola bars and fruit, he added.

“Choose healthy,” Courser said. “Stay away from fats. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. When you eat meat for protein, normally pick lean white meat over red meat.”

Red meat normally takes longer to digest and stays in a person’s system longer, he said. Another protein source he recommends is beans.

When it comes to beverages, Courser said when in doubt, choose water over coffee, tea, soft drinks and even many juices, which are filled with sugars. Courser also advises staying away from energy drinks and choosing natural fruits instead.

The formula is simple, but hard to achieve, he said.

“For a nice flat tummy, watch what you eat and exercise,” Courser said. Binkley-Chilress echoed that.





  1. six-pack abs jut out when one is in the single digit percent of body fat. I have abs at 9% body fat. The dude in the photo is no where near 3-6% body fat.

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