Find your abs—and elite fitness—with this training plan.

As a society, we’ve been conditioned to think that getting fit not only doesn’t take much time, but is also incredibly easy. You’re inundated with infomercials and fitness products that promise you results:

“Hate dieting? Lose weight fast and eat the foods you love with the Cookie Diet!”

“Never work out again. Build a toned stomach without moving a muscle—just buy this abs-sculpting electrical belt for 3 easy payments of $9.99!”

"Need to lose weight? Simply sprinkle weight loss crystals on your food and you can eat as much as you want of all the foods you love!”

Fat-burning crystals won’t transform your body. #workhard
Fat-burning crystals won’t transform your body. #workhard

I run one of the best gyms in the world, where some of the fittest people in the world train—guys ranging from pro NBA and NFLers, to movie stars and elite Special Forces soldiers.

Do you think if I had just a handful of weeks to transform an actor or athlete’s body, my approach would be to have the person train his or her abs for 8 minutes a day and sprinkle fat-burning crystals on his cookies?
Never! Yet people consistently fork over their hard-earned money for similar methods, believing they’ll quickly get a body like a movie star.

The truth is this: In fitness there’s no free lunch, there’s no magic pill, and no shortcuts. Becoming incredibly fit and staying fit requires hard work.

How much hard work? For the majority of people, it takes roughly 130 quality hours to get fit.

A lot of people ask me where I got that number. It’s equivalent of training hard, an hour a day, 5 days a week, for 6 months.

Your hours can’t be half-ass hours, either. You need to spend them doing genuinely hard work. Each hour should be uncomfortable—but that’s what’s required for real change.

Don’t half-ass hours at the gym - each hour should be uncomfortable.
Don’t half-ass hours at the gym - each hour should be uncomfortable.
130 work-out hours needs to supplemented with good nutrition.
130 work-out hours needs to supplemented with good nutrition.

If you’re able to log those 130 hard hours while also paying attention to your behavior outside of the gym with good nutrition and recovery practices, you’ll be successful.

This is, of course, just an observation I’ve made after working with thousands of men and women. Almost every single one of them was able to make a radical transformation—by way of an improved physique and excellent performance numbers in the gym—in 6 months following my parameters. One hundred thirty hours in 6 months is the answer for most people, and it’s totally doable.

The secret to the fit you: 130 hours at the gym for 6 months. @bobbymaximus
The secret to the fit you: 130 hours at the gym for 6 months. @bobbymaximus

In fact, if you want to get started right now, I put together a 130-hour training plan in my new Men’s Health book Maximus Body. It contains the 100 workouts I’ve used to help everyone from A-list celebs to busy accountants get ripped, laid out in a schedule that makes it easy for you to stay on track.

There is another way. People have made equally radical transformations in just 12 weeks—but the 130-hour rule still stands. If you want to get fit in 12 weeks, then training for just an hour a day, 5 days a week won’t cut it—you’d only reach a total of 60 hours. That’s nowhere near the 130 hours required to change.

To accumulate 130 hours in 12 weeks, you’d have to train twice a day for an hour, Monday through Friday, and once each Saturday. That’s a lot. But that’s what it takes. (Maximus Body also includes a 12-week program. Each day’s training is planned exactly, so you just have to go to the gym and work hard.)

Think of this concept like taking a 15-year mortgage versus taking a 30-year mortgage. One gets you to the end goal faster, but it has much higher monthly payments. End of story. There’s no shortcut or deal. The cost is the cost and you cannot escape it: 130 hours is non-negotiable. There’s no free lunch, shortcut, or timesaving technique here.

So budget your time. Set your schedule however you want, but you can’t cheat the end cost.