why in the hell would you want six pack abs? -Chad Howse

This may be an odd post for someone who’s technically in the fitness industry, but why would you want six pack abs?

I’m serious.

I’m not talking about being leaner or stronger or more athletic, I get those goals. They’re an improved version of who you are. That’s good. That’s honorable. That’s something to aspire to have and be.

I’m not even talking about having them. That can come as the result of hard work, strength training, physical improvement and a healthier lifestyle. Which are all good things. Heck, when I was fighting I had a popping six pack because abs are armor when you’re in the ring.

What I am talking about is the desire to get six pack abs above the desire to be stronger, faster, more powerful. Explain the logic behind the desire to me.

Visible abs don’t make you stronger. They don’t make you tougher. If anything they can have the opposite effect. They may make you more vain or the attempt to get them may be rooted in vanity.

What’s vanity?

An odd obsession with how you look. It will get you nothing of value in life. Success is dependent largely on the opinions of others. Thus, abs, the desire to have visible ones is like buying things to impress people you don’t care about, ah la Fight Club, except this time you’re dieting and crunching to have something on your body to impress people you really don’t care about impressing.

So, again, why abs?

For the majority of your life you wear a shirt. If you’re on vacation it’s awesome to be in shape, cut, strong, athletic, and powerful, but do you honestly care if you look down and see some bumps on your belly?

Forget about abs.

It’s a silly, vain goal. It’s a goal that I once had. I had it as a goal when I cared about what others thought. I had it as a goal when I cared about impressing people when I took my shirt off. I had it as a goal when I was much more vain.

There has to be a point in your life when you quit wanting to have visible abs as your goal. It’s typically when you grow up, when you realize that you train for deeper reasons than ripples on your belly, when you’re aim is to protect your family and get the most from life.

If your primary fitness goal is to get abs and you’re no longer in your early twenties, you need to think about this. Your goal may be rooted in vanity, it may be seeking the approval of others.

By all means get six pack abs as the result of training your butt off, but stop fretting over such an insignificant goal. You’re meant for bigger things, better things, more important missions in life. Six pack abs are for kids who fall under the spell of whatever fitness magazine is thrust into their face.

No longer wanting abs is liberating. You’re after performance and not aesthetics. You’re trying to get stronger and faster and in better shape and there’s real benefits to the training you’re doing.

Trying to get abs can make you weaker, more lethargic, and the discipline in your diet that’s necessary to get them is useless. Who wants a life without beer or lasagna on occasion?

Discipline is freedom, except in this case because of the focus of the goal. The focus of the goal of getting six pack abs isn’t at all self improvement. It’s to look good for the 5 days in a year you have your shirt off, and for whom? For the lady you think you’ll impress.

Think about that.

Do you actually want a lady that’ll go out with you because you have bumps on your stomach?

How fickle and vain is she?

What happens when they go away?

Odds are she’ll be on top of the next guy who has them.

It’s like going out with a girl who’s impressed with the car you drive and actually thinking she’ll be with you through the ups and downs of life, the hard times, the struggles. She’ll be long gone.

And so, through this thought process, the goal of getting six pack abs will leave you with less value, less happiness, and less freedom.

Maybe it’s time you switched your goal? Maybe instead of a goal you see in the mirror, your goal can be an adventure that you can only embark on if you’re in great shape, or a weight to lift, or a race to partake in. You know, something real, something that will show you what you’re made of.

Who you are does not include abs. If you place too much importance on a goal like abs – as many, many men do – you’re preventing yourself from building the qualities that can be forged in the gym as vanity weakens them all.

About The Author

Chad Howse: Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live. He’s a former 9-5er turned entrepreneur, a former scrawny amateur boxer turned muscular published fitness author. He’ll give you the kick in the ass needed to help you live a big, ambitious life.
You can contact him at –


  1. Rafael Contreras

    I can’t imagine Fedor Emelianenko worried about not having visible abs.


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Chad Howse

Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live.

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