6-Pack Challenge – Can I Build Abs in Just 30 days?
2019 has been quite a year for me in regards to reaching my weight loss goal. Since I started working out with kettlebells coupled with dieting, I’ve lost nearly 100 lbs. There’s been ups and downs for sure, mostly due to getting off course with healthy eating from time to time. However, less than two years ago I weighed 265 lbs. and had a variety of health issues. Recently, I reached 168 lbs. and haven’t felt this great in a decade or so. Although, thanks to the holidays I’ve added several pounds back!
Now with the new year approaching and the holiday feasts in the rear window, it’s time for a new challenge. I’ve never been a vain person and in the past would scoff at the idea of building 6-pack abs. However, after putting so much effort and work into bettering myself and body, flattening my stomach completely seems like the next logical step.
Honestly, it’s more about feeling great than looking great. Some people are turned off by bulging muscles and don’t understand what all the fuss is about. There’s nothing wrong with that line of thinking considering we all have opinions and preferences. In my opinion, I’m not looking to become Mr. Universe. I just know that if I strengthen my core, abs, legs, chest, etc. muscle groups, I’ll be in better shape. Doing so will allow me to pursue new personal goals for a longer and happier life.
6-Pack Challenge Rules & Guidelines
When I hear the phrase 6-pack, two things come to mind: beer and abs. If the above graphic didn’t give it away, this challenge doesn’t involving me chugging beer. Rather it’s about developing definition of the abdominal muscles as quickly as possible. Thanks to using my ab roller for the past couple of months, I already had a 2-4 pack I suppose you could say. My only downfall seems to stem from my struggle with dieting which has been the most difficult part of my previous challenges.
Fortunately, my dedication and stubbornness always seems to prevail and I’m proud to say I’ve never strayed with following my own challenge guidelines. Exercising, for me, is easier to stick to since it only requires committing 20-30 minutes each workday. Compare that to dieting where hunger and temptation are constant obstacles that require a lot of mental toughness. As the saying goes, “To destroy is easier than to create.” A couple of bad nights of eating can ruin any weight loss or toning that took so long to achieve.
So here are the guidelines for this challenge broken up into two categories: dieting and exercising. My plan is to begin January 2nd and finish February 1st. It’s the perfect opportunity since no holidays, birthdays, or other special occasions fall within that period. No matter what the results, I’ll know I’ve given it my all.
- No Junk or Fatty Foods
- The plan is to rotate low-calorie meal options such as smoothies, yogurt, soup, talipia, kielbasa, and various paleo-friendly veggies
- Restricted Calorie Intake
- It’s back to tracking calories again! Everything I consume will be logged in the SparkPeople app. I’ll be limiting myself to 1250-1300 calories max per day.
- Intermittment Fasting
- 16 hours of fasting each day with an allowed window of 8 consecutive hours for eating. From 2pm to 10pm is my planned eating window unless certain circumstances force me to adjust it.
- 50 ab rolls a day Monday-Friday before exercising. This isn’t all that intimidating since I currently do 30 ab rolls before each workout.
- Kettlebell Workouts
- A mixture of workouts every Monday-Friday for 20 to 30 minutes. These workouts will focus on core muscles and feature exercises that target the abs, of course. I don’t have them planned out but expect to do both cardio and strength-based training as well as switching between my 35 lb. and 45 lb. kettlebells.
Progress Tracking & Reporting
I believe that weekly updates are the best way to keep track of my progress. The first entry will show my starting weight accompanied by some photos of my stomach. I want to provide details for the benefit of everyone else who is interested in building 6-pack abs. That means taking unflattering shots in certain positions of my belly fat. Hopefully, you’ll see obvious differences after each week. The question is whether 4 weeks is enough time to go from several pounds of being overweight to rock-hard 6-pack abs.
Why I’m Doing This Challenge
As I mentioned before, the goal isn’t to flaunt my body or seek attention for myself. I want to be in the best shape possible and prepared for whatever life throws at me. Becoming fit and healthy has changed my mindset in ways I could never have imagined. It’s given me a different perspective on life and fueled my desire to help others. Not just to inspire people to reach their own fitness goals but to learn new life-saving skills such as CPR.
It may seem ridiculous to some, but if there is an emergency I’d rather have the ability to help any way possible instead of standing around feeling helpless. Performing these various fitness challenges keeps me on track and avoids any serious regression. I’ve certainly put in a lot of effort and have come along way with building strength and losing weight. It’d be a shame if I let that all slip away in 2020.
Beginning Weight and Photos
Here I go! It’s the first day and I already have the workout of the day completed. Going forward, I’m going to try to perform these workouts first thing in the morning. For one, it helps to clear the rest of my schedule without worrying about getting it in later in the day. Secondly, I do believe it will help increase my metabolism and maximize the results of this experiment. Finally, my wife has decided to start doing kettlebell exercises again and mornings work best for her!
As much as I hate getting up early, it just makes the most sense to exercise shortly after waking up. I noticed that drinking organic (caffeine-free) tea beforehand gives me a slight energy boost to help get me started. So hopefully I can continue this trend until at least the end of this challenge.
After hitting a new low on 12/18/19 of 168.6 lbs, my holiday gorging saw that jump to 174 lbs.. This is much better than what I saw on the scale last night which registered at 178 lbs. Luckily, that was most likely water and waste weight that has since left my body. I should clarify that I’ll post the daily results of my weight during my weekly progress updates. As I’ve done today, I’ll record my weight right before fasting ends at 2:00 pm.
Day 1 – Current Weight
At the end of each week from today, I’ll post photos of my front, side, and back to show any sort of progress that has been made. I’m going a little bit outside of my comfort zone, especially in the beginning phase. Some of these photos, have me a little self-conscious. However, I’m doing this for science, as well as to inspire others who want to lose weight or belly fat.
Day 1 – Front, Side & Back
Expanding on this, I’m also including an animated gif of myself doing the jiggle test. I can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous I look but there is a purpose! At the end of the challenge, I expect zero jiggling of my stomach. All in the name of science right?!
For some added humor, I’m putting myself in good company. Right between Homer and Chunk performing the truffle shuffle. Just about everyone should recognize Homer from the Simpsons, now in its mind-boggling 31st season. Younger folks might not place Chunk, portrayed by Jeff Cohen, from the iconic 80’s film The Goonies. One of my favorite movies watching as a kid and still holds up well today! By the way, Jeff is looking great these days and is a well-respected author and attorney.
Homer’s Jiggle Analysis
© 20th Century Fox
Ryan’s Day 1 Jiggle
Chunk’s Truffle Shuffle
© Amblin Entertainment