Fitness model Greg Plitt has some of the best abs on the planet. He shared some pointers on how to build killer abs and a rock-hard midsection. How did the “ab meister” get a six-pack that could very well be the eighth wonder of the world?
FRxM: Most of our readers don’t have abs like yours. How does an average guy build a dynamite six-pack?
GP: If building great abs were easy, everyone would have them. Most people don’t have good abdominals because they are not willing to put in the work. If you do not believe you can achieve head-turning abs, then don’t even start the journey because it requires incredible sacrifice and dedication that will drown the weak-hearted. It is possible for everyone to have them. More important, once you get them, staying in abdominal shape is easy!
FRxM: Are great abs made, or are all men born with them?
GP: The quick answer to this question is YES to both choices. We are all born with the same abdominals, but lifestyle causes the difference between people with a six-pack and a one-pack. Some say it’s all genetics. They’re wrong. Hard work, sweat equity, and sacrifice create great-looking abdominals.
FRxM: What’s a good ab-training workout?
GP: Abs should be worked at the end of every workout for 10-15 minutes. Abdominals and calves are two muscle groups that can be trained every day. When doing abs, pick one exercise for each region of the abdominals (upper, middle, lower and side walls) and do a circuit-training workout doing 1 set per group and then repeating it for 4 or 5 rotations until the 10-15 minutes are completed. When lifting bodyweight exercises (sit-ups, crunches, etc.) do higher reps (30-60) per set. When lifting weighted sets for your abs, do rep ranges of 10 to 15; weight will build the depth in your abdominals, while bodyweight will get you toned.
FRxM: How important is nutrition?
GP: Everything counts! The four factors that build killer abs are the lifting program, aerobic conditioning, diet and nutrition, and rest between workouts. Nutrition, as important as it is, is not the most important. In order to have visible abdominals, your body fat percentage for a male must be in single digits. I am a firm believer that what you eat and when you eat it is just as important as how much you eat. I believe and live on a “low-no” diet. There are good complex carbohydrates as well as simple sugars, called “bad carbs,” but there are times of the day- based on your workouts- when one can be better than the other.
FRxM: How important is core training and core strength in developing a set of cut abs?
GP: Core training is your foundation. You can’t build a strong body without a strong core- an abdominal core and lower back that allows you the strength and ability to build your entire body.
FRxM: What about age? It’s one thing to have ripped a body when you’re 25, but can a 50-year-old guy have a six-pack?
GP: Anyone, regardless of age can have a six-pack, and there are countless people who have proven this to be true. The older you get, the harder it is to transform, but again, once transformed- regardless of age- you will NOT have a problem maintaining that physique. Most people hit the gym for a week or two and then give up, but that is not long enough to see results.
FRxM: As the world’s top male fitness model, you’re always in peak physical condition. Do you have cheat meals?
GP: When you train in the gym, the golden rule for transformation is forcing your body to adapt to new situations and break any comfort zones. If you do the same workout over and over again, your body will find more efficient ways to do the same workout. That’s good for health, but bad for abdominal transformation.
Your diet is the same as your workouts. If you eat the same all the time, your body will get used to it and it will lower its metabolism. A cheat meal is essential to maintaining a high metabolism, but it’s not an excuse to throw your diet down the toilet. Your cheat meal should be once a week and early in the day, so you go to bed clear of its damage because you have burned off the unwanted carbs and fats- again, not what you eat, but more when you eat it!
FRxM: In your case, Greg, will eating one piece of cheesecake totally mess up your body? Will you still have your abs the next morning?
GP: I have paid my dues and transformed my body from average to one of inspiration. I now continue to go to the gym every day and pay my dues. I can eat cheesecake if I want, but the temporary satisfaction of taste is outweighed by the work I have to do in the gym. Diet isn’t about satisfying an appetite, it’s about fueling the body. Taste doesn’t hold a candle to the high of the pump in the gym, so cheesecake isn’t something I ever desire, so it’s easy to bypass.
FRxM: Greg, you come from a very supportive family. You’ve said that two characteristics you learned from your parents are confidence and work ethic. Have these qualities enabled you to build a jaw-dropping set of abs and excel in other areas of your career?
GP: If you don’t believe in yourself, you are a dead soul walking the earth. Confidence is hard to grow without success and work ethic- these two are champions that battle with each other inside yourself to find your own individual perfection. You take away the desire (confidence) or the means (work ethic) and you have nothing but a dream that will never come true. My parents taught me how hard work can make dreams into reality, and through that process I found my confidence through sports, academics and social living as being role models and examples of such a lifestyle.
FRxM: What’s the message you’d like to give readers of FitnessRx for Men?
GP: The gym is nothing more then a metaphor to life. When you stand transformed through hard work in the gym, you stand a confident man or woman filled with self-pride and confidence- while equipped with the tools of dedication, sacrifice, sweat-equity, belief, integrity and character that you built unknowingly while building your body to one that demands the respect of all bystanders. You will be a role model.
Greg Plitt is America’s #1 male fitness model, and has appeared on the cover of more than 100 fitness magazines in the last four years. For more information, visit http://www.gregplitt.com.