a couple showing off their exercised abs

7 Ways to Get Abs Fast


Written by fitness expert Chris. Last updated:

Getting abs fast will require a mixture of cardio and abdominal exercises to build muscle, in which we will go into more detail shortly. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a good place to begin with. It is far more than simply aerobic exercise – it is cardio and strength training all in one, which will help you build muscle and burn more calories.

It can be tempting to get carried away with thinking that endless sets of crunches and hours spent doing planks will get you your six-pack. Yes, a decent abs workout will undoubtedly help fast track your journey to getting abs fast. Below, we will list some of the best exercises to incorporate into your training. However, fat loss and getting rid of stubborn belly fat are far more important. Diet is vital if you want to reveal your abs. You will want to maintain a caloric deficit while increasing your protein and fiber intake, and decreasing the amount of processed junk food and refined carbs you eat.

a woman showing cheap junk food vs healthy diet

You can have quite limited musculature and still have a six-pack if your body fat levels are low enough. Conversely, you can have incredibly well-built, strong abs, and have no hope of seeing a six-pack. You can see this by watching the World’s Strongest Man competition.

Timelines also need to be appropriate: you need to manage your expectations if you want to build a six-pack. Getting abs in a week will likely be challenging. If you have low body fat and good musculature to begin with, it may be possible to fast track your way to success. Otherwise, go for a slightly more realistic goal. It should take about a month for abs to show, at a minimum. This is far more realistic for most people at an average body fat percentage. At 2 weeks, you will likely begin to see some definition. At 4 weeks, your abs should be starting to show.

We’ve chosen a selection of professional tips covering both diet and exercise for you to try out with all of this in mind. If you take them to heart, follow them all, keep your nutrition clean, and your training on point, then you should be able to get that six-pack to show.

Cut Down Your Caloric Intake

a man eating a salad near a window

Losing weight is more important than building muscle when it comes to getting abs quick. Cutting down on calories is more important than exercise when it comes to losing weight – you will need to maintain a caloric deficit to achieve six-pack abs. Therefore, cutting down on calories will be your best chance of revealing a toned midriff.

Your caloric deficit should be between 500-1000 calories per day, meaning 3500-7000 per week. One 1lb (0.5g) of fat = 3500 calories, so burning at this rate will mean losing 1-2lb (0.5-1kg) of fat per week. The higher the deficit, the faster you will uncover those abs. However, try not to go over 1000 calories. Above a certain threshold, you will be metabolizing muscle rather than fat, which is exactly what you don’t want when you are trying to build up your abs.

Do Your Cardio

Cardio (aerobic exercise) raises your heart rate. Aside from the obvious health benefits of strengthening your heart, you will be burning extra calories as you perform cardio. This makes it perfect for maintaining a caloric deficit. Continuing with the above arithmetic, if you can reduce your caloric intake by 200-300 calories per day and increase your caloric burn through cardio to 200-300 calories per day, you will be able to lose roughly 1lb (0.5kg) per week.

Though it will depend mostly on genetic factors, cardio has been shown to reduce belly fat specifically, which is what we need if we’re going to uncover your abs. Getting rid of that stubborn belly fat will mean emphasizing the chiseled appearance you are going for.

Try to get 20-40 minutes of moderate to vigorous cardio exercise daily, including a mix of activities like running, walking, cycling, and swimming.

Cut Out Processed and Refined Foods

It’s not all about counting calories, however. Not all calories are created equal; the type of food you eat is just as important as the energy it gives you.

Heavily processed foods need to go if you want to get abs quick. Convenience foods like ready meals, takeaways, sweets, and chips are generally heavily laden in calories and high in carbs, fat, and sodium. They also lack key macronutrients, like fiber and protein, as well as much-needed micronutrients. If you’re looking to limit calories (which you should be to get abs fast), you can’t afford to waste calories on junk food. You will find a deficit hard to maintain with them included in your diet. What’s more, these kinds of foods are inappropriate for building muscle. Try swapping processed foods out for nourishing whole foods that will help you on your journey.

Also, refined carbs like pasta, pastries, and white bread should go. Most of their good nutritional value is stripped, leaving simple carbs. These digest very quickly within the body, which may cause drastic spikes and crashes in insulin and blood sugar. Spikes and crashes like this mean that you will get hunger pangs and energy dips, and your body will be more likely to convert energy into bodyfat clustered around your belly.

Instead of going for refined carbs, go for whole grains like brown rice, barley, wholemeal bread, and bulgur wheat. They are slower to digest and will help you remain fuller for longer, cutting out the energy peaks and crashes that simpler carbs will subject you to. Instead of convenience food, stock your diet with fruits, vegetables, plenty of fiber, and healthy, lean protein (more on this below).

Make Use of HIIT

a couple exercising together in the gym

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves rapidly switching between intense bursts of activity and lighter, recovery periods. It’s perfect for burning many calories in a very short space of time, aiding the caloric deficit we’re looking for. It’s also great for building muscle, as a lot of work is done in the hypertrophy range of resistance.

Alongside HIIT, circuit training works well. It involves rotating through several exercises (usually five or six, but as many as you want), meaning that you can keep your heart rate up, your energy output high, and your muscles burning and building. Full-body exercises like squat jumps and cleans can be interspersed with core exercises like layouts, Russian twists, and crunches for a good all-round workout that zeros in on the six-pack muscles. We’ll go into more detail below on how to exercise to build abs fast.

Take in Plenty of Fiber

Including plenty of fiber in your diet is a perfect way to boost your chances of getting abs fast. It will improve weight loss by filling you up with low-impact food and filling up the gastrointestinal tract, slowing the emptying of your stomach and thus increasing satiation. It will also allow for more regular bowel movements and a decrease in bloating, making your midsection appear as lean as possible. Go for fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Eat Your Protein

You will want plenty of protein in your diet if you’re looking to build abs fast. Protein is slow-burning, so it will also aid satiation as your body breaks it down over a longer period. It is also vital for building muscle so that the core exercise you’re doing will pay off. You will likely develop less body fat and more muscle by increasing protein intake. Aim for 1.5-2g per 1kg of body weight every day (so, if you weigh 80kg, aim for 120-160g of protein daily). This is crucial when building the best diet to get abs.

Good protein sources include lean meat, like beef or chicken, and fatty fish, like salmon and cod, and non-meat animal sources like dairy and eggs. Vegetable sources like legumes and nuts offer good options, and you should always feel free to use supplements like whey protein shakes.

Train Your Full Midsection

a woman and a man exercising together

Of course, once you’ve lost the weight, you need something to show. This means training your core. However, though most people focus on one specific element of the abs (the abdominus rectus – the six-pack abs themselves), four sections need to be worked on. Alongside the abdominus rectus, you also want to hit the transverse abdominus and the inner and outer obliques for a full, rock-hard core.

These are some of the best exercises and the best ways to move for greater core strength and musculature. Using all the following will help you fully engage and exercise your abs, including your rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, and obliques. If you’re in doubt, it may be worth getting some ab workout machines to help you out at home.

Some of the best ab exercises that you should include in your routine include:

  • Planks (transverse abdominus)
  • Renegade rows (transverse abdominus and obliques)
  • Lay-outs (transverse and rectus abdominus)
  • Crunches (rectus abdominus)
  • Sit-ups (rectus abdominus)
  • Leg raises (rectus abdominus)

Common exercises for the obliques include:

  • Single-arm farmer’s carry (both)
  • Cable twists (both)
  • Leg raises with a twist (both)
  • Crunches with a twist (external obliques)
  • Sit-ups with a twist (external obliques)

woman working out at home doing twists abs exercises

For a less effective, yet passive and easy-to-use training method that you can incorporate as a supplement into your daily life, you could try giving an ab muscle stimulator a go. Electric ab toning belts will be a good place to start. Use one in conjunction with the above exercises to give yourself the edge. Doing all of these regularly throughout the week with a good diet in place will help you get abs in a month or so.

Six pack abs are the holy grail of training for aesthetics. Whether you’re a budding bodybuilder or you’ve got a big holiday coming up for which you want to look your best, it’s perfectly normal to want to buff up your midsection and get abs quick.

Getting abs fast will require dedication and hard work, but the process can become much simpler by following a few bits of pro advice. As we have seen, you will need to follow a healthy diet with a good caloric deficit, as well as engaging some hefty fat burning mechanisms to show off your midsection’s muscle definition. At the same time, you will probably need to increase the muscle mass across your abs and obliques – your core section’s main muscles. It’s tough, but if you follow all the above exercises, then you should be on track for success.

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