This is somewhat theoretical, but I find the situation comes up often enough.

I'm in good shape, good athletic build, etc. I have decent definition in my abs (you can see the makings of a 6-pack or at least a 4-pack). Like most people I've got a bit of fat in the lower abdominal section. Also I've noticed that my stomach looks better at some times than others.

Say I was going to the beach one week from now, and wanted to do everything I could to look as good as possible, with a focus on my abs. What would be the ideal things to do between now and then? I'm thinking specifically about:

Diet - What should I eat between now and then, and how much?
Exercises - Which are most likely to have the best effect in such a short time period?
Day of - Should I starve myself the day I'm going? Obviously I wouldn't eat 8 slices of pizza half an hour before going to the beach, but how long before I go should I eat? Are there "last-minute" exercises I can do? But what even about water? I assume it would be a bad idea to drink anything at all, just because it would take up space in my stomach, right?

Thanks, and don't hate me for being vain!

  • 10
    i would say focus on your personality and it won't even matter what your abs look like ;)
    – Jason
    May 12, 2011 at 20:00

2 Answers 2


As Berin noted, bodybuilding cutting techniques are applicable here. In one week you really can't lose any appreciable fat, but what you can do is try to drop water weight. A few tips for this:

  • Stop taking creatine about a week before
  • Limit fluid and sodium intake, especially during the last 24 hours
  • Eat a high protein diet (can act as a diuretic)
  • Day of: sweat (wear too much clothing, spend time in a dry sauna, or wrap with saran/neoprene)

Also, a tan never hurts. Notice how in many before & after pictures for diet products, the "after" picture has a noticeably darker shade...

Disclaimer: this is not particularly healthy, but it should help to make you look more cut for special occasions.

More info:

  • 3
    Good answer, bad advice: getting dehydrated before going to the beach is a recipe for trouble. On the other hand, I have to admit that passing out is certainly one way of making a lasting impression with the ladies?
    – Sylverdrag
    Jan 23, 2013 at 17:52
  • I'm not sure dehydration prior to going to the beach is even in good answer territory - that's a very dangerous suggestion
    – andrewb
    Jul 25, 2017 at 23:23

What you are talking about is what body builders call cutting. So understand the following two major principles about six pack abs:

  • Body fat covers the abs you already have, so you want to trim the fat
  • Diet takes care of 80% of your weight loss goals, the other 20% come from the exercise.

There's a book called "The Truth about 6 Pack Abs" that outlines what you are talking about. Now, I have not read it, nor am I endorsing it. I'll provide this link to a review of the book so you can form your own opinions.

Bottom line, I would focus on your diet, and low heart rate aerobic workouts to supplement what you are currently doing. Drink plenty of water, helps with fat loss, healthy muscles, and healthy brain activity. Focus more on protein, and limit carbs to slow burning ones.

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