For many men, the perfect body would include a well-defined six pack, but the road to that toned torso is one that takes time, determination and good old-fashioned hard work.
Though you'll still need plenty of patience, there are ways to improve your abdominal workout to maximise torso toning.
Underneath every beer belly is a six-pack waiting to get out - remember that those abdominal muscles will only appear once the layer of fat covering them has gone, so fat-burning is essential if you are to achieve your goal.
Eating small, regular meals will help regulate blood sugar levels and encourage your body to store less fat. Focus on low GI foods, and fill your plate with good quality protein and vegetables, rather than filling up on carbs. To lose weight, men should aim to eat 2,000 calories a day - a good way to lower your intake is to cut out empty calories from alcohol.
To help boost your body's fat-burning, cardiovascular exercise is essential. All the sit-ups in the world won't help if you maintain that midsection excess, so get that heart pumping and benefit from calories burned and an increased metabolism post-workout.
To maximise your time at the gym, it's important to plan your workouts. The abs are so often left until the end of the session, but if you've already worked up a sweat on the treadmill, your body may be tired and the intense muscle-building stuff could suffer as a result. Change your routine occasionally, starting your workout with your six-pack training.
And if you're just setting out on your perfect abs goal, try targeting the weaker, lower abdominals first. Since you'll need different exercises to tone different areas of your torso, if you start with the most difficult, the rest will seem like a breeze in comparison.
Sit-ups are of course a necessary evil when it comes to getting that washboard stomach, but a variety of other exercises will help to work all areas and keep your interest. Also include sit-ups with a twist, where your elbow crosses to the opposite knee, hanging leg raises (bringing your knees up as you crunch), the plank, side plank and even spiderman plank, where you bring your knee up to the side whilst maintaining the plank position, as well as trunk rotations, adding resistance as you gain strength. Also remember to keep your shoulders back whilst working your abs - proper posture will ensure you're getting the best out of your workout.
Change it up
For many people, motivation wanes as a result of sheer boredom, particularly if your workouts are all at the gym. Give yourself the best chance of success by changing your abs exercises, adding resistance by way of a cable for rotations, try your workout with the aid of a gym ball, or even take it outside. Varying your regime will help to keep your interest and ensure you're working the whole abdominal muscle.
More isn't always better
Endless sit-ups aren't necessarily the fastest way to a sculpted stomach. So instead of aiming high in terms of numbers, stick to 25 reps for each exercise, and improve your toning by adding resistance or increasing the intensity.
Are you currently on a six-pack mission? What exercises do you find give you the best workout? Leave your comments below...