Health & Fitness

Published on February 5th, 2016 | by Joel McArdle

My journey towards ‘ab-duation’

Okay, so now we’re into February 2016 and I still don’t have visible abs.

That doesn’t mean they’re not there, it just means you can’t see them – but if you can’t see them, what is the point of having them?

It’s good to have that core strength in your stomach muscles, but it’d be even better if I had something to show for it.

“The hardest part about my week is eating well over the weekend while at work and out and about”

Now we come to Ab-duation. I will (or possibly won’t) have abs by the time I graduate from my university course in July. I have 20 weeks to transform my body, and luckily for me I do well under pressure.

My plan is to fix my diet and continue going to the gym. Sounds pretty easy but between my dissertation, writing articles, my part-time job and sleep, I’m going to struggle.

But it’s going to be worth it when I walk across that stage with a sense of achievement, not only for my graduation – but for my body transformation.

Am I dreaming a little too big? Probably, but when you really want something, you have to work at it.


This is the regime I’m aiming to stick to:

Keep a food diary or everything I eat. Eat at the same times every day. Have my Protein World ‘The Slender Bender’ with my breakfast and lunch. Run at least 5km per day, and try and half my carb intake. I know there will be slip-ups but one bad meal won’t make you unhealthy, much like one salad isn’t going to turn you into an athlete.

Mondays: I’ll start the week with the part of the body I detest working the most – chest. I’m starting out with 26kg in each hand for chest press, and I’ll increase it 2kg every fortnight 28, 30, 32, 34, 36 etc. This isn’t the full workout but I won’t bore you with that.


Joel is determined to get into shape

Before all of this I will of course do my daily cardio and core 30 minutes, 5km for the first week. then 28 minutes 5km, then 26 minutes 5km, going on to 30 minutes 6km. Not forgetting my 120 crunches per day, along with 40 leg raises, and 3 one-minute planks.

Tuesdays: Everyone with Twitter has seen the meme’s about Leg Day, and how everyone hates it. Not me, it’s probably my favourite day. The staple of any solid workout regime includes compound exercises, these are exercises that work more than one muscle at a time, therefore promotes a better all round stability.

Two of these exercises are especially good for legs: squats are potentially the best single move there is (reportedly burns more calories per rep than anything else) and deadlifts. The deadlifts won’t be every week because I have a dodgy back and it needs a rest every now and then, but they will be in there, don’t worry.

Wednesdays: Probably everyones favourite – arms. Along with abs, the most potentially the biggest sign of a gym bunny, and one of the first things everyone wants to get bigger.

The most important thing with arms is to remember the triceps. Biceps are all well and good, but its a tricep that makes a truly impressive arm – that means plenty of skull crushers and exercises that involve pushing. Everyone knows how to train biceps.

Thursdays: Back and shoulders – Another two areas that improve drastically, and quickly. As a kid, one of my shoulder joints was weak and it came out of the socket a few times, so I dread the grinding I feel while working them, but, I can’t cheat myself. I’ll be honest, I’ve been going to the gym for a few years now, but I don’t really know the name of some of my shoulder exercises – they definitely work.

Back is another touchy area: I strained a muscle in 2015 while doing squats so I’m very cautious with it. For back, I’ll once again be doing deadlifts – along with lat pull downs. Back is one of the secondary areas worked when doing legs, so thankfully it won’t require a huge portion of my workout – and I’ll be able to walk afterwards.

Fridays: Full body circuit & cardio – This is basically just a tune up for the weekend – a couple of sets of bicep curls, a few sets on the bench press, 30 squats or so – essentially just getting a pump on until i head back to the gym on Monday – instead of my regular 5km I’ll be doing a 6mile run on Fridays, or, hopefully be playing football as I usually do.

The hardest part about my week is eating well over the weekend while at work and out and about. The first step is to cut the Nandos down from three times a week to once, and drop the chips and garlic bread and go for the spicy rice or sweet potato mash.

I am committing to myself to stick at this, come what may. I will be posting progress pics and monthly catch-up articles. I’m in dire of some tips and advice so please tweet me – and anyone that wants to put my through my paces contact me at

Feature image courtesy of Wikimedia

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