So, I was at dinner with one of our Challenge Promoters, Tyler Howard, and he turns to me and says, “Blake, having Six-Pack Abs is like being part of an exclusive club.”
I couldn’t help but crack up.
But if he’s right, it has been a L O N G time since I’ve been allowed in that club. I was always very active when I was younger. Name any sport, and I probably played it. Name any extreme activity, and I did it. Well, just about.
Looking back, I spent all of high school surfing, swimming, and playing water polo. Having a six-pack was just, well, my stomach. It was the norm.
But from age 19 on, not so much.
Hey, it happens! 🙂
I guess a decade of being excluded was long enough for me. And, no matter where I turn I hear similar stories—people who talk about how they “used to be in shape,” whether it was 10, 20, or 30 years ago. We all still have the same muscles (they’re in there somewhere) and it’s time we let them come out and play!
For this 90-Day Challenge I set the goal to “Bring Back the 6 Pack!”
You’ve probably noticed that I’m a firm believer in “going public” with your goal. To be honest, it’s the #1 way I challenge MYSELF to hold myself accountable to something that I know is going to be a struggle.
This Challenge started no different. Here’s the video of me “going public.”
But, I have to admit I got off to a real slow start.
That’s when something strange happened. I was invited to Toronto to judge the World Body & Fitness Federation World (WBFF) Championships. They gave us our own section on stage where we got to select North Americas Next Vi Model! Cool experience? It was unreal.
While I went there to Judge, as I sat and watched the models—a stage flooded with ripped abs—I couldn’t help but feel motivated. And by motivated, I really mean totally humbled!
I have a personal philosophy that does not let me iconize people.
It’s easy for all of us to view people we admire and write off the idea that we could ever really be like them. And, that’s the problem. When we make icons of people, we immediately limit our own abilities.
Find people you can respect. Find people you can learn from. Find people you love. But don’t iconize them. At the end of the day, even the most successful, the most beautiful, then most powerful people in the world…are all just people. So, if they can do something, then who’s to say you can’t do the same!
And, who’s to say that you can’t do it in 90 days?
When I was 18, I was given some advice that I’ve used throughout my career. It’s quite simple actually: “Find someone who has what you want. Do what they did. You’ll get what they got.”
So in that moment, staring out into a sea of 6 Packs, I said to myself, “I can do this!”
Following the advice from my youth, I cornered some of our Vi Model Finalists to get some personal tips. You can see what they said in this video.
As with anything, it all starts by making a real DECISION. I made the DECISION in Toronto. I found someone who had accomplished the goal I wanted to achieve. I listened intently. Then, I laid out the plan.
To get below 8% body fat and “Bring Back the Six Pack”
Cut out all the refined sugar, gluten, & alcohol I could, and stick to my personal ViSalus product regiment (basically the Fit Kit + ViPak + ViDefy)
Month 1: Stability—focus on my core
Month 2: Hypertrophy—build muscle
Month 3: “Beast Mode”—get ripped by all means necessary!
Day 1: I measured in a hydrostatic tank at 11.2% body fat.
Day 90: I measured in the same tank at 6.9%! Putting me in the 99th percentile of all people.
Was it hard? Yes.
Was it worth it? YES.
Can you do it too? YES!!!!!
For those who want more details on exactly what I did (remember, find someone else who has done what you want to do), you can see all the details below.
For everyone else reading this, even if it’s not “6 Pack Abs” you want, it’s important to set a 90 day goal to do something (lose weight, reduce blood pressure, run a race, or whatever inspires you)!
You are worth it! Start by “going public” with your 90-Day Challenge! Click HERE. Tell the world what you’ll accomplish!
P.S. Tyler, can I be in the club now…? 😉
THE FULL STRATEGY
Everyone I spoke to who had “real abs” said the same thing. They all said, “Abs are made in the Kitchen.” In other words, it’s 90% about what you eat (or more so, what you DON’T eat). For this Challenge, I made a focused effort to cut out all the refined sugar, gluten, & alcohol I could.
We all know sugar isn’t good for us. However, eliminating Gluten came to me from a conversation I was having with Kris Humphries (Yes, that Kris Humphries). He said that when he cut out Gluten, he noticed a big difference.
Gluten comes from wheat, and its what gives a lot of things (like bread) their shape and texture. Turns out .5-1% of people are actually sensitive/allergic to gluten, and don’t know it. There are tons of resources on it you can find online (Start with Wiki if you care to know more http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten)
I’ll admit I didn’t know much about it, so I started with buying the book “Gluten Free For Dummies” and downloading a bunch of mobile apps. Yes I’m a nerd.
I personally ended up not using any of the information I downloaded. Instead, I just asked “is there gluten in that” when ordering my food. And, most grocery stores now have gluten-free sections to shop (making life pretty simple).
The “no alcohol” tip actually came from Alfonso Jones, our 2012 ViModel Winner. You know that layer of flab around your bellybutton? I’ll warn you now, it’s the HARDEST to lose. And, for a lot of people, that comes from the causal drink here, or glass of wine there. Try cutting it all out for a while and watch what happens!
Our ViSalus products fit this strategy well. The Vi Shake is <1g sugar, and is one of the few Gluten free Shakes on the market. NutraCookies have a very small amount of Gluten, but not enough to keep me from living off them on this Challenge. The rest of our products are all Gluten Free, very low sugar, and great sources of protein and other nutrition. Obviously I’m biased, but its good stuff and it worked!
I drank 1-2 shakes a day, typically for breakfast and always after a workout.
I ate Nutra Cookies as snacks and took my ViPak am/pm daily.
I used the Go/Pro/ViDefy as my drinks throughout the day. They help me drink the water I need. Close to 75% of people actually walk around dehydrated and don’t even know it. Not only does dehydration hinder your results, but if it’s prolonged it can lead to all sorts of health problems.
Was I perfect? Not at all.
If I were to grade myself, I’d give myself an A- on my ViSalus Product regimen, and a B+ on my “no sugar and no gluten” efforts.
However, I will say this: I did NOT drink 1 sip of alcohol (not even a glass to wine) for the last 45 days of this Challenge. It made a big difference. Try it.
Over the course this Challenge, I was in the gym about 2 times per week for the first 60 days, then 3-4 times a week over the last few weeks.
Here are the exercises I focused on. If you are unsure what these exercises are, just use that handy machine they call Google.
Phase 1: Stability (Days 1-30)
– “Correct” Plank Holds with Escalating Duration. Started at 30 seconds, and ended at 1 minute by day 30.
– Deadlifts. Starting at 95 lbs, 3 sets, 12 reps. 2 seconds down, 2 seconds up.
– Kettle-bell Windmills. Starting with 8kg, 3 sets 8 reps on each side.
– “Crow” Hold. Hold for 20 seconds.
– Headstand. Near a wall, perform a headstand with most of your weight on your hands. Progress to transitions between headstand to crow and back for reps.
– Captain’s Chair Hanging Knee-Tucks. 3 sets of 12 reps- body static and leaning forward. Progress to parallel bar Knee-Tucks leaning back for reps.
– Basic Crunch. 3 sets of 20 reps with zero hip engagement.
– Transverse Abdominal Draws. During rest periods and stretching.
– Static Stretch. Glutes and hamstrings.
Phase 2: Hypertrophy (Days 31-60)
– Bench sit-ups with increasing pitch. 3 sets of 15 reps. Progress to adding weight held at the top of head.
– Weighted Oblique Crunch Using Cables. 3 sets of 20 reps per side.
– Iron Cross (diagonal) Abdominals. 3 sets, 15 reps per side.
– “Cat Vomit” Exercise. 3 sets of 10 deep breaths.
– Sit On Hands, Floor Leg Lifts. Slow for 15 reps (3 sets) with shoulders and head off the floor.
– Dynamic Plank Drops. Lift using abs, not hips! Down and up for 15 reps, three sets.
– Weighted Crunch Machine. In our case, a “Freemotion Crunch.”
Phase 3: “Beast Mode!” (Days 61-90)
– In Circuit: Leg lifts, 15 reps/ Iron cross, 15 reps per side/ Sit up to stand-up (feet anchored by trainer) 15 reps/ Repeat circuit 3 times, as little rest as possible. You should be BURNING!
– Transverse Cable Rotations. 15 per side, 3 sets. Get heavy! Get fast! No leaning!
– Hanging Sit-ups. Use a sling and a safe setup anchoring your legs in an inverted position. Don’t do this without professional supervision! 3 sets of 12.
– Hanging Sling Crunches. Slow reps with zero swinging. Knees to elbows 3 sets of 15 reps. Add a dumbbell between feet if it’s too easy.
– Bicycle Crunches in Two Parts.
Part 1: 20 reps back and forth at high speed.
Part 2: 10 reps super slowly.
– Bouts of HIT. Sprints or Burpees, etc.
Okay, it’s not necessary, but If you want to go the extra mile to really get PHOTO SHOOT ready, try to drink a gallon of (distilled) water each of the last 5 days, and then stop drinking water completely 24 hours before you take your after photos. It’s silly results.
I’m an entrepreneur and a marketer. I am not a fitness trainer or nutritionist (and have been called a little crazy). Some of these exercises may not be safe for people with weak cores, mobility issues, or back injuries. As always, consult with a fitness professional to know if an exercise is safe for you at your current skill level.
Special thanks to my trainer PJ Hradilek, and Challenge Promoter/Cover Model Lindsay Messina for helping me lay out this strategy.
If you do take on this Challenge, be sure to keep me posted on your progress!
Follow My Whole Journey to Bring Back the Six Pack