If you want great abs fast, you need to focus more at reducing your body fat level than building up your abdominal muscles.
You see, you probably already have a six pack (or 8 pack for that matter) muscle underneath your fat. In order to bring your fat level down so you can see and display your six pack you need to focus on nutrition, resistance training, cardio-vascular training, healthy lifestyle choices, goal setting, social support, and rest and recovery.
We also need to talk about what fast means to you. If you have a well thought out fat loss plan, you can expect to see your abdominal muscles within 12 weeks. There are a lot of variables to consider, but we have seen many amazing results with clients in 84 days. Clients can safely lose up to 8-10 inches off their waistline with 3-5 hours of exercise per week, in 12 weeks; ideally losing 2-3 lbs. of fat per week.
HIIT VS Low Intensity, Long Duration Cardio
One of the biggest mistakes I see people making when attempting to speed up their fat loss is by doing the wrong type of cardio work. IT IS A MYTH THAT LOW INTENSITY, LONG DURATION CARDIO WORKS BEST FOR FAT LOSS.
Interval cardio (1-2 minute challenges) is by far the best type of cardio for fat loss and for a stronger and healthier heart and lungs. While it is true that low intensity / long durational type cardio (50-65% of your maximum heart rate) does take a higher percentage of energy from the fat cells, the problem arises when your body stops burning calories the second you stop exercising.
It is also true that when you do high intensity interval cardio that your body gets a higher percentage of energy from glucose (the body breaks carbs down into glucose) stored in the liver and muscles. But the fat burning advantage is that because of the intensity of the exercise the body burns more calories for the next 3-6 hours after exercise completion. So it is not from where the body gets the energy from nearly as much as it is a total calorie thing.
The positive affects of exercise come after the session is over as the body adapts, changes, and reacts to the stimulation. When you do low intensity / long duration cardio sessions, the body says "it's a good thing I had the energy in the fat cells, so it stores more carbs into the fat cells. You actually create more of a fat storage machine. On the contrary when you do high intensity interval, the body says it's a good thing I had that glucose in the liver and the muscles so it stores more of your future meals there. You actually create more of an energy storing machine.
Because the heart and lungs are muscles, albeit slightly different than skeletal muscles (cause they have more red fibers for endurance for obvious reasons) when you work them with low intensity / long duration type exercise they will get smaller because the body is smart and will lose what it doesn't use. When you train them with high intensity (80-95% of max. heart rate) short duration (60-120 seconds) challenges you actually force the heart and lunges to grow bigger. A bigger heart (with more stroke volume) is better equipped to fight heart disease and heart attacks and bigger lunges are very important in our ability to age gracefully.
Pick any mode that raises your heart rate. I prefer the treadmill, power walking and jogging are very functional and the tread absorbs much of the shock. After a warm up do 6-9 1-2 minute challenges with each one getting slightly more challenging than the last. Rest enough between challenges to get your breath and energy back. Rest periods get longer between challenges as they get more intense.
Do 2-3 45 minute interval cardio sessions per week, first thing in the morning in a fasted state (have not eaten yet) and watch your abs appear fast!!
With that being said; seeing your razor sharp mid-section is definitely about a lot of things other than interval cardio.
My Best 10 Tips Are...
Intense Interval Cardio
Doing Intense Interval Cardio first thing in the morning in a fasted state. Making sure to have set up the cardio session with nutrition from the day before (limiting starchy carbs in the last 2 meals of the day).
Eating small meals often with carbs and protein in each meal, including healthy fats, and utilizing carb cycling (more starchy carbs on weight training days, maybe none on cardio days (depending on your body type, how fast your metabolism is running, etc)
Utilizing intense functional type exercises for core:
Announce your intentions to everyone. You will turn into who you hang around.
Change Of Clothes
Wear tighter (spandex) and more form fitting (tailored ) clothing.
Proper goal setting (deadlines are powerful)
Visualization (see your razor cut mid-section in the "Theatre of Your Mind" right when you wake up, and right before you go to bed. See it, and feel the emotion of having a sexy midsection. The law of attraction will bring to you what you need to make any goal happen; but you must see, and feel. See it, like it is already accomplished. Cut out a physique you aspire to; and look at it. We are visual creators.
Vary The Exrecise
Get a variety of ab techniques in. Give them new stimulation.
Your Inner Weight Belt
Get in tune with your "inner weight belt", your Transverse Abdominis (TVA). Simply pull your belly button in away from your waist band during exercise's and sporadically throughout the day.
Tip For A Stronger/Pain Free Back
Getting in tune with your TVA (your inner most ab muscle / your true deep core muscle) and strengthening it will not only give your Rectus Abdominus (8 pack muscle, underneath the skin) a more firm foundation (you can't shoot a cannon out of a canoe) but it will also give you a better chance at being more athletic than ever before with less of a chance of injury to your vertebrae and disk.
With the stress levels at an all time high (forcing people to frown and slump forward) along with the sedentary lifestyle, protecting your back by strengthening your deep core muscles is very smart.
There you have it. Any one can have great, razor cut, sexy abs; at any age. I am 43 and have way better abs than I did when I was 30; very exciting. And I see 100's of my clients doing it as well.
A ripped mid-section is about much more than sex appeal; it can be a very powerful asset for you. Now Go Out & Do it!!