From geek to fit: Six pack abs in 3 months

I read a ton about fitness and nutrition, but obviously that didn’t help me get the six pack abs — for many years.

But I finally managed to get my body fat mass down from 25% to 11% in 3 months, thereby getting the visible ab cracks.

My secret? A coach and accountability. Here’s how it came down.

Remember carrots and sticks from psychology? People are motivated by what they want or what they don’t want.

I made a bet with a friend and came up with a consequence that I absolutely wanted to avoid.

The bet was this: If I don’t have the abs the end of March, I have to join and sing in my friend’s church choir.

That was my stick and I would do anything to avoid that.

So my journey to six-pack abs began.

I called Kesung, a model and trainer friend to help me out. He’s ripped and vascular, and he’s always topless on Halloween.

Right Posture, Right Movement

I lift some weights and my trainer tells me I’m flapping my arms and not targetting any muscle.

I attempt air squats but I lose balance and tumble. I embarrass myself with my lack of coordination.

When you’re learning to lift, get the posture and movement right.

Those two thing are more important the number of reps or the heaviness of the weight. It’s very important to learn them not only to target the correct muscle group but also for your mobility.

This is where having a trainer makes a huge difference.

Result

After a little over three months of training, my weight went from 76 kg (167 lb) to 65 kg (143lb) and body fat mass from 25% to 11%.

And here’s how I feel as a result.

  • My confidence and self-image went through the roof. I feel so good about myself that I virtually stopped the negative chatter in my head.
  • I fall asleep faster, within 30 minutes of laying in bed.
  • I have always felt groggy in the morning, but that’s no longer the case.
  • I don’t get the mid-day fatigue as much as I used to.
  • I lost sugar cravings. Like, you can wave a chocolate chip cookie in front of my face and it won’t affect me at all.
  • I feel calm, collected, and more in control of myself.
  • People around me say I look happier and more energetic. It’s probably true, they’re not just saying that to be nice.

So here’s how I did it.

Workout Routine

Month 1~2:

  • Hit the gym 4 to 5 times a week, targeting different muscle groups on rotation – shoulders, chest, arms, legs and back.
  • Ab exercise every day.
  • I spent 90 to 120 minutes in the gym each time.

Month 3:

  • Hit the gym 5 to 6 times a week.
  • Abs exercise every day.
  • High intensity interval training (HIIT) after every workout.

Diet

Month 1~2:

  • Lots of eggs, chicken breast and vegetables.
  • No strict dietary restriction, but refrained from junk food, sweets, and usual culprits for fat gain.
  • Red meat after the workout.

Month 3:

  • Lots of eggs, chicken breast and vegetables.
  • Red meat after the workout.
  • Smoked salmon before bed.
  • Coconut oil in the morning (consuming, not spreading on my body, mind you).
  • Started the carb-cycling diet. One to two sweet potatoes before and after each workout. Added a half bowl of oatmeal in the morning on leg or back days (high carb days).
  • Completely cut other carbs—rice, noodles, bread, fruits, juice, milk, cheese, etc.
  • One cheat hour a week on leg or back day after the workout (note that it’s a cheat hour, not a cheat day).

Photo shoot

We decided to have a photo shoot so I have a proof of my having the abs.

A week before the photo shoot, I drank like 10 liters of water and ate lots of asparagus every day for 4 days straight. Naturally, I had to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes.

Then comes complete dehydration–no water for 2 days.

I became weary, frail, exhausted, cranky, and my feces were no longer of those of human’s.

On the day of the photo shoot, I ate a bag of gummy bears and a jar of peanut butter to get the pump.

Then we took the photos.

Breakdown by each week

Over the three months, I definiely improved and learned how to lift.

Day 1: Novice

  • I pick up some weights and start doing reps. I do not feel any pain even after 20 reps. I wonder what I’m doing wrong. I see my trainer lifting weights three times as heavy as mine. He sweats and grunts even after just a few reps.
  • I attempt air squats, lose balance and tumble. People at the gym patiently coach me and show me how to do very suggestive pelvic movement exercise.

Week 1~3: Metabolism increased

  • I find the right weight for me, and start to feel the strain in my muscle after 8 to 12 reps.
  • I become more in tune with my body. I start to discover the muscle groups I never knew existed.
  • I notice my brain requiring more oxygen as I push myself harder.
  • I eat and sleep a lot to recoup energy.

Week 4~9: Energy increased

  • I feel like giving up a set, because my brain needs more oxygen and it can’t bear the discomfort—but that does not mean I have reached muscle fatigue. I push myself and focus on exhausting the muscle and doing the reps until failure.
  • My body adapts to the intensity of workout. I require less sleep than before.

Week 10: Carb cycle diet

  • I start the carb cycle diet and HIIT. Goodbye rice, bread, and noodles.
  • I am low in energy from not having enough carbs to fuel.

Week 11~12: Abs start to show

  • The body gets used to the carb cycle diet and I feel more energetic. My trainer says that’s because my body is absorbing nutrients faster from eating clean.
  • Completely lost cravings for junk food and sweets.

Week 13: Getting ready for the photo shoot

  • Cut the carb completely except for the legs or back days.
  • Low in energy.
  • Drink close to 10 liters of water a day and ate lots of asparagus.

Last 2 days: Starvation

  • Dehydration period. Stopped drinking water.
  • Could not push myself at all during the circuit training.
  • Mind is sharp, but body felt very weak.

D-Day: Photo shoot and abs ripped

  • I put more gummy bears and peanut butter in my mouth than I can chew. So I down the remaining peanut butter with water. Not the best dining experience.
  • Weight: 76 → 65 kg
  • Body fat: 25% → 11%

Takeaways

This three month experience has taught me a number of lessons and I learned a few things about myself.

  • Have a specific goal. When you know what your end result looks like, you will take action accordingly.
  • I’m more motivated to avoid a consequence.
  • Trust the process, and results will come. I followed my trainer’s instruction to the tee.
  • Action first, attitude later. There will be days when you do not feel like pushing hard. Hit the gym anyway and start moving your body. When your behavior changes, so will your attitude.
  • Be consistent. Granted, not every day will be a perfect day. Still, show up and put in the time to do the work.
  • Keep your psychology in check and avoid the negative chatter inside your head.
  • Focus on one thing at a time. Concentrate on the set you’re doing right now. Worry about other stuff later.
  • If you want to improve your life, start with fitness. It’s the fastest way to gain self-confidence. Changes are immediate and measurable. When you go through the process and succeed in your fitness goals, it’ll give you the confidence to succeed in other areas of your life.

I was skinny-fat, and I never thought I could achieve this feat. If I could do it, I’m sure you can, too.

Ready to take your fitness to the next level?

Click this link to get the magical fat-burning supplement for the limited price of… no, just kidding–I don’t have anything to sell.

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