How Long Does It Take To Get Abs?

General Rules & Fat Loss Timeline Calculator

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTUpdated: March 9, 2023

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

Well, I’ve created a quantifiable timeline for getting abs to answer that question. Next, 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 body fat levels for men and women.

Generally, men have less body fat than women. That’s because women have more “essential” fat for reproduction.

However, men tend to store more fat in their midsections. 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. Remember, 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 how much fat you have to lose and how fast you lose it.

First, the fat you must lose is 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 at a 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. For example, a 220 lb obese man must 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)

Guys in this category haven’t fallen too far off the wagon. But you’ll still have to lose 20 to 30 lbs of fat to start seeing your abs.

So you could expect to have visible abs in 4 to 5 months. However, 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 clear 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 six 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 ordinary! You could be leaner than average in as little as three and a half months. 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 your appearance. But the good news is, a little work will go a long way for you.

You could start seeing abs with just 6 to 8 weeks of dedication. And you could see all 6 in as little as three 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 want 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. You should have a tight, flat belly at this level of leanness. And a noticeable 6-pack to boot.

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.

This calculator gives you an estimated timeline for getting abs. But to reach that goal, you need a strategic diet and workout plan. Click below to create your custom fat loss plan.

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How Long to Get Abs FAQ

With the information and calculator above, you should have everything you need to determine how long it will take you to get abs. But let me answer some other common questions surrounding the ab timeline.

Is it possible to get abs in 30 days?

To have visible abs in 30 days, men must already be below 20% body fat. And to get a shredded six-pack in a month, you need to start from around 122% body fat.

By comparison, women could see abs in 30 days if they already have 26% body fat or lower. And for defined six-pack abs in that timeframe, a woman would need to start from under 20% body fat.

Can you get abs in 3 months?

Three months is a much more manageable timeframe for guys to get abs. The average male with 25% body fat could expect to see visible abs after three months of diet and exercise. But you would need an athletic 18% or less to see a peeled midsection in that time.

For the average woman, three months of dieting should also get you visible abs. However, getting rid of all belly fat will take much longer.

Can you get abs in 6 months?

A six-month body transformation can be pretty impressive. For example, a man could go from being obese to having visible abs in that amount of time. And even overweight guys with 26% body fat could get shredded in half a year.

Similarly, a woman could theoretically go from 40% body fat to visible abs in 6 months. And woman starting with an average amount of body fat could achieve a six-pack in six months.

More Ab Answers & Information

Now you have a good idea of how long it will take you to get abs. If the process seems a bit daunting or discouraging, don’t worry! I’ve got a bunch more tips and strategies to help you get abs faster.

4 Pack Abs vs 6 Pack Abs

How to Do A Rope Crunch Correctly

Decline Crunches vs. Sit Ups

Cruch Vartiations for Chiseled Obliques

10 Tips for Getting Abs Faster

If your midsection is cramping from all this ab talk, sit back and relax with some of my other fitness content below!

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