Overall muscle definition is the sign of true health and fitness—but a six pack is the blue ribbon of weight room achievements.
Here’s the bad news: Men hold the most fat in their abdomen, says Christopher Jordan, CSCS, Director of Exercise Physiology at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute and creator of the 7 Minute Workout.
Even worse news: You can’t spot reduce body fat. That means your only path to revealing your washboard is to reduce overall body fat, Jordan explains. The lower your number, the higher the likelihood of a drool-worthy stomach.
Even though 18 to 24% is considered healthy by the American Council on Exercise, your abdominals are but a shadow at this number, says ACSM Health Fitness Instructor, Jim White, R.D., owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach. Cut it down to 15% and you’ll start to see the upper two abs, but the bottom probably won’t be coming in as much.
Trim off just two or three percent from there and bam—your hard-earned six pack has stepped up from understudy to lead role. “If you're anywhere from 6 to 13 percent body fat, you definitely have a six pack—in addition to being totally ripped,” White says.
However, there are a small percentage of men in the country who have a six pack—so to get there, you have to do what the majority of people are not doing, White points out. You’re already a healthy guy, which means when it comes to taking it to the next level of lower body fat, it’s a whole lot of finesse.