A month ago, I decided I was going to focus on getting back this six pack I had in my younger days.
I've had a very busy month (with a TV appearance in the pipeline! More info after the airing) so I've not had the time to get to the gym 6 times a week as I'd planned to. But when I did, I cut out working on limbs to focus on core exercises, working the abdominals. The only other workouts I performed were cross training for ten minutes at a time, pedalling clockwise for one workout and counterclockwise (reverse) for another.
The project was a bit of a disappointment, to be fair. Since 1/10/2012 I have:
Improved my 10-minute cross trainer record by 0.01
Improved my 10-minute reverse cross trainer record by 0.07- this is substantially more of an improvement than the above movement because cross training in reverse is awkward to get used to. It feels like a strange movement. It's not physically difficult in the way training hard is, say with clockwise motion on the cross trainer. But reversing the motion slows your progress considerably the first few times you try it. After a few sessions, I smashed my personal best and put it up to 0.48.
The two abs movements I was focussing on were what would eventually give me the definition I was hoping for. This, however, was a total failure. Despite smashing these machines for the full month, I made zero improvement on them. I matched my records a few times, but just couldn't break them.
Abs machine- stuck on plate 19, performing 40 reps.
Pulley pray / cable crunch- stuck on plate 12, performing 30 reps.
Given that I spent so much time working the core muscles and didn't see any improvement all month, this is a real disappointment. I'm no more defined, either- no closer to how I used to look. There's a number of factors at play here.
- I put the effort and time in to these exercises, so there's no way my stomach isn't ready to improve. I can beat these records because I've worked the muscle loads over the last month.
- If the effort is there in the gym, the problem may be with diet. Maybe I should make a point of eating more tuna and meat. I certainly used to before I moved out.
- The six pack I had I formed at 18 through Muay Thai. I had an instructor yelling at me to do better, I was doing 3 hours of padwork a week, the instructor was slamming a kick pad into my stomach twice a week and I sparred with people 10-20kg heavier than me at every session. It was a HARD class, and left me much more exhausted than I can make myself feel at the gym. Classes of some kind- where I'm being encouraged by others- may be the way forward.