With Giuseppe Labrador in tow, a mate and I walked Sculptures by the Sea from Bronte to Bondi Beach on Sunday. Upon arrival in Bondi, I thought a magazine cover was walking towards me – a tanned, sculpted couple with perfectly fit bodies.
Pulling up his elastic banded shorts with a fizzy drink in hand, my newly single friend asked, "MJ, how in the hell can I get those abs?"
Well dear friend (and faithful Boot Camp readers), put down that drink and read this.
Here's what you'll need to consider:
1. The time commitment
If you're in reasonable shape to start, a two-month commitment is a suitable timeframe. If you can commit to a regime of perfect eating and high intensity fitness and little else, that eight pack ab is yours. On paper, the journey is pretty simple – it's about weight loss, toning and leaning up.
2. Target all sections of the abdominals
The abdominals consist of four sections: the rectus abdominis (the front / washboard), the internal and external obliques (love handles/muffin top), and the transversus abdominis (inner core). A proper abdominal exercise regime does not neglect any of these groups.
3. Crunch 'til it hurts
Use the ab wheel. Hang from a pull up bar and perform leg raises. Plank and side plank. Smash out crunches, leg extensions, scissors, burpees, and mountain climbers. Keep it varied, and keep it intense.
4. Or? Don't crunch. Ever.
Swimmers, Olympic weightlifters, surfers, and many other athletes do little to no ab specific movements. Instead, they're concentrating on full body, multifunctional movements that strengthen and tone their entire body. Add proper nutrition, and eight packs abs are a result, rather than the goal.
5. Train the whole body
You can't put new rims on a rusted 1968 Holden and think you've got a sweet ride. The body is no different. Doing an hour of abdominal work every day and nothing else only creates an unbalanced and unhealthy body. Legs day, cardio days, and upper body work is just as important as ab exercises.
6. Smash the cardio
You're building muscle and shredding up via cardio. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) like spin class, outdoor / treadmill sprints, smashing the rower, and skipping rope will do the trick.
7. Will you need supplements?
No. Before you drop $300 at a supplement shop, I ask – what are your nutrient deficiencies? If you don't know the answer, the young lad at the shopping mall won't know either. Get your head out of the cookies and cream protein tub and into the gym – you can't buy your way to an eight pack.
8. Food. Food. Food.
Understand this – you already have abdominal muscles. The proper training regime will build those abdominal muscles, and what you do in the kitchen creates the window to see those abs. Protein, fruit, and veggies are your friends. Processed junk is out, while monitoring healthy calories and portion size is in – for every single meal, every single day.
9. Drink water, not wine
You're after perfection, and empty calories must be binned. Some black coffee and healthy tea might be part of your day, but it's all water, green juice, and milk on your eight pack journey. Alcohol is 100 per cent out.
Beware. Going to extremes for abs and Instagram glory can have a price. Recently, an Aussie Insta-star paraded her body throughout pregnancy, but her toned abs created a pseudo 'baby jail'. Upon delivery, an emergency caesarean was required so the bub could see daylight. Rest easy – the baby is healthy, and Mum has more Instagram followers.
10. Is it worth It?
On my chubby to fit journey that I scribed a book on, I was shocked when women weren't giving me their mobiles at every city street. Why hadn't Hollywood called? Where was my parade? I had an eight pack damn it! The world should have changed for me.
Getting a tighter bum, bigger arms, and a toned tummy … I like it as a goal. If a little vanity inspires you to go harder at the gym? Then I'm all for it. But this 'gonna get ripped abs' seems to breed a cocky bravado that results in a 'look at me I'm shirtless at a festival on Instagram' culture that is, well, silly.
An eight pack is not the be all, end all – yet glorifying a Dad Bod culture where 70 per cent of us are overweight is, well, un-Australian.
Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his 'Cut The BS' diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.