I’ll never forget my first session with a personal trainer. She had the body of a swimsuit model and the face of a cosmetics cover girl. I was about to be trained by a goddess! I remember pausing to absorb the awesomeness of that very moment, ‘Lock it in because today will go down in history as the greatest day of my life!’
After a quiet introduction, she pulled me close, and as I felt her warm breath caress the tiny hairs on my neck, she whispered to me, ‘Do you want a six pack?’
Do I want a six pack?
She had me at “Do”. I paused again as the moment just exploded right off the awesomeness scale.
I soon discovered that with that body and that face came the uncompromising dogma of the world’s most brutal US Marine Drill Sergeant. Over the next three months, our weekly sessions became a cruel punishment of orders barked at me to thrust, squat, twist, stretch, plank and crunch like my life depended on it. More than a few sessions pushed me to the brink of puking up my lunch and sometimes beyond.
‘I KNOW A THIRTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL WHO CAN DO MORE LEG RAISES THAN YOU!!’
Arrrgggh – just one more – like she had a gun to my head.
After the first month, I was convinced that Satan himself had sent her to repent my entire lifetime of sins, plus those of every member of the Nazi Party, the Khmer Rouge, their children and their children’s children. She also had me on a strict diet of celery, fish and coconut oil. It was the life of a dungeon gimp, living off the miserable pickings of an island castaway except without any hope of a rescue.
I waited for the day when she would order me to lay down, lock my hands behind my head and bring my bile filled head to my knees, but it never came. As far as she was concerned, sit-ups were one of the least beneficial exercises in the pursuit of perfectly toned abs. In fact, much of what she had me doing was standing, squatting or crunching exercises that required either the most basic equipment or none whatsoever. Everything she taught me I could do at home which, of course, was expected.
When my three months of suffering came to an end, there was no six pack, not yet, but there was a dramatic improvement in everything else. It felt like I had superhuman balance and stamina, running and cycling was a breeze, every outing came with an unwritten guarantee of smashing every personal best I might’ve set on any previous outing.
I continued with the training that she had taught me at home, but at half a notch shy of losing my lunch, and a few short months later, I had a nicely formed four pack. Mathematically, that’s two out of three and in the famous words of Meat Loaf, that, “ain’t bad”.
If you’d like to work on getting your own six pack without copping a Drill Sergeant ear bashing, and in the comfort of your own home, try some of the suggested routines above.