No, you aren't likely to get abs in 30 days. Here's how long it actually takes.

While getting a chiseled six-pack is certainly easier said than done, just about everyone is capable of doing so at one point or another throughout their life. Accomplishing this starts with a strict commitment to eating right and being willing to frequently engage in stomach-strengthening exercises.

"There are multiple exercises to improve abdominal and core strength," explains Dr. Shelby Johnson, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester. These include planks, crunches, reverse crunches, sit-ups, hanging knee raises, mountain climbers, scissor kicks, leg raises and bicycle kicks. "Even squats, lunges and standing arm exercises can target the core and are good for stabilization," she adds.

What are abs?

Abdominal muscles, usually referred to as abs, are a set of muscles located toward the front of one's body that consist of five main muscles: external obliques, internal obliques, transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis and pyramidalis.

These are muscles that nearly everyone anatomically has, so the idea of "getting" abs is a bit of a misunderstanding, says Austin "Ozzie" Gontang, a licensed psychotherapist at Pacific Pearl of La Jolla and the director of the San Diego Marathon Clinic. The trick to getting what we think of as defined or chiseled abs, however, is building these existing muscles up and making them visible, he explains.

Doing so isn't only about building confidence or looking more attractive to others though. "Abs play a role in the overall function and stability of the human body," Gontang explains. They are also part of one's core group of muscles and help stabilize and move the spine and pelvis. In this way ab muscles help strengthen other muscle groups throughout the body and can reduce one's chance of injury.

Is it possible to get abs in 30 days?

As beneficial and desirous as obtaining visibly defined abs can be for many people, it isn't something that happens overnight. Though many home workout challenges proliferating across social media promise abs in as little as 30 days, the experts say that amount of time is only possible if one is already close to getting them anyway.

That's mainly because it isn't possible to have visible abs so long as that group of muscles remain covered by excess body fat. "Depending on your current body weight, genetics, and approaches to diet and exercise, burning excess fat alone may take 6 months or more than 1-2 years, even if you follow a strict diet and exercise routine," says Dr. Michael Fredericson, director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the co-director on Longevity at Stanford Medicine.

How long does it take to get abs?

Because of this, the first step towards gauging the length of time it will take to obtain visible abs is to ascertain a healthy body composition for your body type, then drop any excess fat accordingly. Gontang explains that men typically need to achieve a body fat percentage below 10-15% and women below 15-20% "in order to make their abs visible."

It can be helpful to meet with a registered dietician to ascertain what your body fat percentage currently is. There are also various body fat calculator tools online that can also be useful in determining a starting point - but it's important to understand that such tools fail to take into consideration a person's race, metabolic health, and the amount of muscle mass vs fat mass one has.

More: How many muscles are in the human body? The answer may surprise you.

After accounting for such factors and accurately determining your current body fat percentage, you can start better tackling eating choices and aerobic exercises to begin trimming down, if necessary. "It is recommended that 1% of body fat loss per month is safe and attainable" as you do this, says Fredericson.

At the same time, you can also start working on building up your ab muscles by regularly working on any of the aforementioned ab-strengthening exercises, so those muscles will be prominent after any excess fat has faded away.

The disciplined combination of both healthy eating and ab-strengthening exercises can, over time, help you achieve any goals related to obtaining defined abs. "If one is starting with an average body fat percentage and adheres to a disciplined diet and exercise plan, it might take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to start seeing noticeable changes in abdominal definition," says Gontang. "If you start with a higher body fat percentage, however, it will take longer to reduce fat to the level where abs are visible."

Beyond diet and exercise, other lifestyle factors also play a role in getting visible abs. "These include stress, sleep quality, and genetics," says Johnson. Because of all such factors, "improving your core strength and creating more defined ab muscles can be a slow process you may need to be patient with."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How long does it take to get abs? Likely more than 30 days, experts say