The recent craze sweeping men all over the world: six-pack abs courtesy of cosmetic surgery. Our deep dive into this craze amongst men revealed some pretty disturbing things, like for instance the fact that men now opt for cosmetic surgery at a greater rate than women.
Selfie culture seems to be taking a pretty big hit on the egos of men around the world, but what if you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a quick surgical upgrade? Or what if you prefer to do things the more natural way? We once again put our favorite, and our least important, staff writer through the ringer, and challenge him to shape up or ship out as he does sit-ups for 90 days straight.
Day 1: Journey to doing sit-ups for 90 days
Well, as far as insane challenges go I guess I should count my lucky stars that this one is pretty mild. Doing sit-ups for 90 days is probably the tamest thing that the team has put me through in a long time… maybe ever, and I guess I could use it. I like to stay in shape, but I have an unreasonable hatred of doing any kind of ab workout.
It’s exhausting on an emotional level, like having to be the shoulder your friend cries on after the guy you warned her to never date, inevitably breaking up with her. Only it’s my abs doing the crying. If you’ve read any other of these challenges, you might remember that I also hate running, and for exactly the same reason: complete and utterly boring exercises.
I know first-hand the benefits of constant sit-ups though, and used to rock a six-pack throughout my military career thanks to all the constant running and ab exercises. Seriously, the military loves making you do sit-ups, it’s the weirdest thing in the world and almost on a fetish level, but you’re always doing some variation of ab exercise from sit-ups to burpees.
There were daily lunges, mountain climbers, burpees, side planks, supermans, bicycle crunches, Godzilla stomps, Russian twists, and butterfly kicks- so many insane ways to torture your abs that you probably didn’t realize I made one of those up.
So I guess I’ll be hopping in a time machine and going back in time to restart my old daily exercise routine. I stopped my normal exercising for a few weeks before this to get a better sense of how effective this would be for the sake of the challenge, so I’m looking forward to not feeling flabby and gross again, but I am not looking forward to the actual exercises. There’s literally nothing more tedious than ab workouts, except maybe running.
My routine will consist of the following, in sets of 3:
- 20 butterfly kicks
- 20 traditional crunches
- 20 russian twists
- 20 elbow-to-knee crunches
- 20 burpies
- 20 mountain climbers
I don’t expect that I’ll be able to fully complete 3 sets at first and it’ll take a while, so if you’re following at home and can only do one of the sets, or part of one of the sets, don’t sweat it, just keep at it and note how you gradually get better and better. That kind of slow improvement is a great source of inspiration. I’ll check in every thirty days, so I guess I’ll see you guys in a month.
Day 30: My experiences after 30 days of sit-ups
As predicted, I couldn’t fulfill all three sets of each exercise at the start. In my regular life, I stay pretty fit, but since I stopped exercising for a few weeks in preparation for this challenge, I definitely lost a lot of stamina and strength. I could barely crank out the first set on each exercise at first, and now at the end of the month I’m hitting the full three sets but definitely feel like I’m about to die at the end.
As far as my actual abs, well they’re definitely noticeable when I press down on my stomach, but they’re not super well defined. You can see a vague shape, but I’m not rocking a noticeable six-pack. Sadly, that’s going to take a lot more work.
I guess I do feel better about myself overall though. It’s nice to be exercising again and I kind of miss getting the blood pumping every morning. I’ve never been an exercise junkie, I just do it because I like the results and because I need to, but I don’t get literal pleasure out of it the way the girlfriend does- but I think she’s insane.
Never fully trust anyone who says they honestly enjoy exercise- they’re probably not really human. Probably some weird space alien in disguise, waiting for you to drop your guard so it can harvest your brains.
See you guys in another thirty… if my brain hasn’t been harvested.
Day 60: Workouts have become easier!
So over the last thirty days, the workout routines have become a lot easier, to the point that doing the entire three sets of each exercise is not a problem. I’m still a bit winded, but I definitely feel that I could push it harder if I really wanted to.
I know I talk a lot of trash about exercise, rightfully so, but honestly getting to the point where you’re doing things you could barely even start doing weeks ago does feel pretty good. There are few things in life with such clearly defined goals, or moments of success, as with exercise. Rarely in life do you physically see the goal you’re striving towards, and then realize the exact moment you’ve achieved it- and the moment where you’re ready to push past it.
As far as my body, well you can definitely see ab muscles, and I guess I’m rocking what you’d call a four-pack. I’m not gonna lie to you, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get to the six-pack. My diet is a bit all over the place- and honestly, all the insane challenges aren’t helping in that regard. But more importantly, I just don’t live the lifestyle I used to.
Last time I had a clearly defined six-pack it was basically my job to work out and keep in fighting shape, and my diet was pretty well-defined thanks to the chow hall and MREs out in the field. Now I definitely do a lot less cardio, spend a lot less time in one hundred plus degree temperatures, and eat a lot more terrible snacks.
I feel like getting to an actual well-defined six-pack is an entire lifestyle choice, and I have no interest in that. I enjoy overeating occasionally, and devouring an entire pan of cheesecake once in a blue moon. I have one more month left to go, but I’m not confident I’ll be seeing a six-pack by the end of this.
Day 90: Sit-ups journey complete after a rough startup
90-day sit-up challenge complete, and the journey was rough, then got ok, then… I don’t know, all the exercising just got to be part of my daily routine. I’m not gonna pretend those exercise routines are easy, and I’ll admit that if it wasn’t literally my job to have committed every day to this routine, I would’ve taken plenty of cheat days. But as anyone following along at home knows, starting this journey is pretty damn difficult, especially when you’re wheezing and gasping through the first few reps of your first set.
In time though, it gets easier, and it feels pretty satisfying to see yourself pushing past your old limits. Eventually, if you stick with it long enough, it kind of becomes a part of your nature. Sure, you’ll take your cheat days, but I think the longer you stick with a routine the harder it becomes to actually quit that routine, because it just starts to feel unnatural to not do it.
After 90 days my 60-day prediction held true- I am definitely not rocking a six-pack, but it’s not because the muscles aren’t there. The muscles are definitely there, but I just didn’t commit to a complete diet change that would trim all the excess fat from around the midsection and the belly.
That’s the thing about working out your abs, it’s just not going to get rid of every ounce of belly fat unless you’re carefully monitoring every bite of food you eat. It’s called diet and exercise for a reason.
I am however rocking a pretty nice four-pack with some great definition, and well, it kind of does a lot for your self-esteem. Also, the girlfriend is practically in love with it so that’s a pretty big plus. In the end though, getting these results is a personal choice, and if you can’t find a reason to want this for yourself, not what other people think about it, sticking to a workout routine like this probably isn’t going to be realistic.
I really wish any of you following at home good luck, and I encourage you to stick with it. Getting in shape feels great, and is great for your health. And take it from me- I know what it’s like to want to quit, but don’t, keep with it and you’ll see some pretty awesome results in time!