Perfect six pack abs are desired by just about everyone.  In reality, they’re attained by only a few. Many believe that eating endless salads and doing sit-ups all daylong are all you need to get that sexy midsection. I beg to differ! You’ve got to have a plan that includes hard work, the correct exercises and good nutrition. Here’s a strategy that may help you to be ready for swimsuit season!

First, there are some bad habits you need to break and some good ones you must begin if you want results.

Quit starving yourself. This is not the best way to lose weight and get a flat stomach. Your body will only respond by storing fat more stubbornly, and your metabolism will tank, leaving you with low energy. Instead, embark on a high protein diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Cut out saturated fats and focus upon eating low-glycemic index carbs that will give you the energy you need for those ab classes.

Stop late night eating and mindless grazing. Consuming extra calories in such reckless ways will pack on pounds and inches in no time. Instead, begin the day with a healthy breakfast and eat smaller healthier meals and snacks throughout the day to avoid being ravenous at night.

Cut back on booze. Alcohol is empty calories (7 calories/gram) that do you no good and are stored as excess sugar and fat by your body. Instead, drink more water. Did you know that food cravings are often just a sign that you’re dehydrated? A tall glass of water is a lot less calories than a doughnut.

Now, here are a few surefire ab crunch exercises that will torch fat and sculpt muscle. Work abdominals 2-3 times per week, maximum, as you would any other major muscle group. Use 3 sets of 10-12 reps for each exercise.

Plank Crunches. Start in a traditional plank position with your forearms on the ground and you body perfectly straight. Bring your right knee forward toward your right elbow, then return to the plank position. Repeat by bringing your left knee toward your left elbow. That’s one rep.

Bicycle Crunches. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and legs raised and bent at 90 degrees. Alternate sides by bringing your right elbow toward your left knee, then your left elbow toward your right knee, building up to 60 seconds. Try and hold the crunch for a 2 count on each side to force a slower, concentrated movement.

Swiss Ball Rollout. Kneel on a mat with your hands on a Swiss stability ball. Keeping your back straight and abdominals engaged, roll the ball as far away from you as you can, then slowly roll the ball back to starting position.