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Crunching his way to a six-pack

By Madison Park
CNN
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(CNN) -- Jason Dinant has the opposite problem of most Americans -- he has flat abs.

Jason Dinant's New Year's resolution is to shape up his abs from flat to muscular.

Jason Dinant's New Year's resolution is to shape up his abs from flat to muscular.

Standing 6-feet, Dinant has a beanpole leanness many Americans covet. The 27-year-old's ribs protrude from his chest, but he has some fat collecting in his stomach.

"I don't have that much body fat, but it tends to stick right here in my stomach," he said pinching his belly.

"My goal is to get a six-pack by summer," Dinant declared in a video he submitted to iReport.com.

Dinant often peels off his shirt and gives what he calls "the naked truth about today's news" in Web videos he posts on his blog called "Naked Boy News." Watch Dinant's video.

"I give reports without a shirt on, so I should have the best body," he said. "Who wants to see a guy with skinny arms and no abs?"

CNNhealth.com recently asked viewers to talk about their New Year's resolutions on iReport.com and to upload photos and videos during their journey to change. Share your story with iReport.com.

Dinant works in sales during the day and has a night job as an emcee at a Las Vegas, Nevada, night club, where he is surrounded by toned and fit dancers.

"There are go-go boys and girls with killer stomachs," Dinant said. "I get up on the stage, I don't take my shirt off. I'm nervous about my stomach."

He doesn't mind going topless on his videos, but he gets self-conscious in person.

With his high school reunion fast approaching this summer, Dinant wants to tone up in the next six months and develop chiseled abs like Shemar Moore of TV's "Criminal Minds" or Ty Pennington, host of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

Until recently, the extent of Dinant's exercise has been walking up the stairs and parking his car far away from stores.

Now Dinant works out four times a week in a gym inside his apartment complex, cycling on a stationary bike, using weights on his upper body and doing 500 sit-ups a day.

A televised Britney Spears interview gave him the idea for the sit-ups routine.

"I heard her saying that she'd do 1,000 sit-ups a day," Dinant said. "She had amazing abs. If she can do it, I can do it."

But the sit-ups get old, Dinant said.

To distract himself, he watches TV shows such as "The Bachelor" while crunching, or he thinks of games ("Every time you do sit-up, you name an Osmond child") to pass the time.

Contrary to popular opinion, traditional sit-ups aren't the most effective way to get a six-pack, said Robert Dothard, a personal trainer based in Atlanta, Georgia.

"Crunches are great to flatten the stomach," he said. "For men, we have to put abs under weight resistance to make them stick out."

The ab segments that make up a six-pack exist under layers of fat and skin. To make the six-pack more pronounced, a person has to exercise and lose the excess fat so those muscles are visible. That comes through cardio exercises.

To make those stomach muscles bigger, "abs have to be put under resistance," Dothard said. Those muscles need weight training to become bigger and more prominent.

He recommended doing sit-ups on a stability ball while holding a medicine ball over the head and crunching. Using a resistance band anchored around a stationary bar while performing side-to-side twists also creates resistance, he said. Dothard demonstrated these moves on a video. Video Watch Dothard's fitness demonstrations. »

Someone with a svelte frame such as Dinant's may not look as if he or she needs to exercise, but appearances can be deceiving.

"People can be lean, but still carry a lot of fat," Dothard said.

Research suggests that it's wise for even lean people to lose the belly fat. Even with a normal body mass index, people can carry extra weight in their stomachs, which increases the risk for cardiovascular disease. Those with belly fat have a higher risk of dying compared to their peers without it.

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But, Dinant's reasons for wanting a taut stomach remain purely aesthetic.

"I have my 10-year high school reunion coming up," Dinant said. "I want to go back and be like, 'Bam. Look at me.'"

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