Six packs are often seen as the ultimate statement of exceptional fitness, almost like a passage into the community of ‘serious’ physical refinement, and as such is what most people working out strive for.

However, when it comes to what works best to achieve this Holy Grail, there is much debate. Consequently, it can feel extremely challenging to distinguish which sources are the most reliable – ab challenges and crunches are staple examples of getting those washboard abs, but do they really work?

Firstly, it’s important to know the fact from the fiction, something which is a lot more taxing than it should be. The issues often arise from what you’re told via word of mouth – too often people assume doing a 100 crunches and then nothing more will get you those dream abs. Sadly, this is incorrect. Crunches and sit ups alone only work a certain section of your muscle group, meaning you only target one problem area instead of all. Furthermore, crunches burn very few calories in reality, which means that while you work on strengthening your abdominals you aren’t actually burning the layer of fat sat on top of those muscles.

Another important myth to overcome is to understand that you don’t have to work your abs every single day for you to get results, in fact, working them too hard on a daily basis can be counterproductive. According to Modern Man, if you push yourself with a particularly gruelling routine, you should rest your abdominals for at least 48 hours. Prolonged hard-core routines can lead to a number of problems, such as increased injury risks and reaching a plateau (a level of no change).

In addition to ensuring you train properly, you also need to make sure you’re eating correctly. Diets that are low in fat and Low carb geared towards lean definition tend to be heralded as the only way to go if you’re looking for perfect abs. Although there are many benefits to opting for a low carbohydrate diet, such as reduced water retention, not everyone is suited to this approach. Furthermore, if you’re one of these individuals, you could actually achieve better results by dropping the low carbs – it’s all about knowing your body and how it reacts to change. Also, anyone working towards a six pack needs to understand that there really are no ‘magic foods’ that target just stomach fat. There are plenty of internet claims that say this, but the truth is that balance is what’s needed.

Lastly on this run-down of myths and truths, the idea that your work is done when you get that six pack couldn’t be further from reality. Once you have those abs, you can’t simply ditch all the effort and return to your old routine. The fat you’ve burned off and the muscles you’ve strengthened can easily regress if you become lax.

Obtaining impressive abs, just like everything else, takes time, effort and dedication. What is more, you need to understand that there is no easy fix or overnight changes – you need to target all your muscle groups and eat right to get the best results. It’s about a lot of hard work and high motivation levels to keep it up.