How Long Does It Take To Get Abs?

For most men and women, the benchmark for being in great shape is having 6-pack abs. And if that’s your goal, you’re probably wondering, how long does it take to get abs?

To answer that question, I’ve created the definitive timeline for getting abs. You’ll see how long it will take to reach your goal based on your starting point, gender, and how defined you want to be.

How Long Does It Take To Get Abs

Understanding Body Fat

Before we get into how long it takes to get abs, it helps to understand the different levels of body fat for men and women.

Generally, men have less body fat than women. That’s because women have a higher amount of “essential” fat for reproduction.

However, men tend to store more fat in their midsection. So, by comparison, men have to get leaner to have abs.

  Men Women
Obese >30% >39%
Overweight 24-30% 32-39%
Average 18-24% 25-32%
Athletic 10-18% 18-25%
Very Lean <10% <18%

How Lean Do You Need To Be To Have Abs?

You should be able to see visible abs at around 17% body fat for men and 24% for women. Keep in mind they won’t be well defined and you may only see the top 2 or 4 abs at this point.

For a shredded 6-pack, you’ll need to get below 10% for men and below 18% for women.

How Lean To Have Abs

How Long Does It Take To Get Abs?

The amount of time it takes to get abs depends on two things; how much fat you have to lose and how fast you lose it.

First, the amount of fat you need to lose is simply your goal weight subtracted from your starting weight. Of course, you’ll want to lose fat and not muscle.

So the second point is to lose weight reasonable rate. Studies suggest that losing 0.5 to 1% of your body weight per week results in fat loss with maximum muscle retention1.

For example, if you weigh 200 lbs, your average rate of fat loss would be 1.5 lbs per week (200*(0.75/100)). With that in mind, it’s easy to get a rough estimate of how long it will take you to get abs.

How Long Does It Take To Get Abs - Men

How Long Does It Take To Get Abs: Men

Obese (>30% Body Fat)

When your body fat is over 30%, you have a long road to getting abs. As an example, a 220 lb obese man will have to burn at least 35 lbs of pure fat.

Frankly, losing that much fat takes several months. Or even a year or more if you’re well into 40% territory.

But don’t be discouraged, those of you in the 30% range could see your abs peaking through in 5 or 6 months. And a 6-pack could be attainable in 8 months.

Overweight (24-30% Body Fat)

For guys in this category, you haven’t fallen too far off the wagon. But you’re still going to have to lose 20 to 30 lbs of fat in order to start seeing your abs.

So you could expect to have visible abs in 4 to 5 months. Although a 6-pack will take 5 to 8 months.

Average (18-24% Body Fat)

Next up is the 18-24% category. This is most of you weekday warriors out there who aren’t overweight but aren’t lean either.

For you, abs could be in sight within a month or two. But it’ll be 3 to 5 months if you’re looking for the shredded 6.

Athletic (10-18% Body Fat)

Now we’re at the stage where you should be able to see your abs under a layer of fluff. Even if it’s only the top 2 or 4.

The good news is, you can shed that last layer of fat and reveal your 6-pack in just 1 to 3 months.

Very Lean (<10% Body Fat)

Finally, when you break into the single digits of body fat, you’ll start seeing the detailed separations in your abdomen.

And you’ll even have feathering in your obliques. This is the pinnacle of fitness for men.

How Long Does It Take To Get Abs - Women

How Long Does It Take To Get Abs: Women

Obese (>39% Body Fat)

For women, body fat over 39% is the longest road to getting abs. You’re looking at losing 40 lbs or more before your belly is flat enough for abs.

But don’t let that scare you off. Because before you get abs, your body will transform significantly.

With 6 months of hard work, your abs could make an appearance. And you could have a full-blown 6-pack in 8 months.

Overweight (32-39% Body Fat)

More and more women are finding themselves in this category. As the stresses of modern life collide with fast food, being overweight is the new normal.

But let’s not settle for normal! In as little as 3 and a half months, you could be leaner than average. And you could have a 6-pack in 5 months.

Average (25-32% Body Fat)

If you find yourself in the average category, you may still be unhappy with the way you look. But the good news is, a little work will go a long way for you.

With just 6 to 8 weeks of dedication, you could start seeing abs. And you could see all 6 in as little as 3 months.

Athletic (18-25% Body Fat)

If you’re in the athletic category, you’re already leaner than the vast majority of women. You should have some ab definition if you’re at 24% body fat or lower.

And if you’re looking to get a super toned 6-pack, you could get there in 1 to 3 months. Depending on your starting point.

Very Lean (<18% Body Fat)

For women who want that fitness model look, your target is 17% body fat. At this level of leanness, you should have a tight, flat belly. And a noticeable 6-pack to boot.

bodybuilding meal plan

Custom Fat Loss Meal Plan

If you want to get abs as quickly as possible, you need a personalized meal plan designed specifically for your body and lifestyle. Including custom recipes formulated to fit your macros and calories – no counting required!

All this for just $13.99/mo! Click here to choose your plan.

How Long Does It Take To Get Abs: Calculator

With the information above, you should have a good idea of how long it will take you to get abs. But what if you want an even more precise target?

For that, look no further than my “how long does it take to get abs” calculator. With this tool, you can see how many weeks it will take you to get abs.

Plus you get your target weight, how much fat you have to lose, and your weekly fat loss rate.

how long does it take to get abs – calculator

Note: This is an estimate based on reasonable rates of fat loss. Your results depend on your adherence to a strategic fat loss plan.


Now you should have a concrete timeline for getting abs. But in order to reach that goal, you need a strategic diet and workout plan. Click below to create your custom fat loss plan.

Customize Your Plan

In addition to knowing how long it takes to get abs, I want to help you understand the entire process of fat loss. So check out my related articles below.


10 Tips For How To Get Abs Faster

A simple explanation of the physiology of how to get abs. Plus 10 tips for how to get abs faster! Including diet, exercise, & supplements.

Share with your community and get the conversation started!