The Key Ingredients for Six-Pack Abs


Published: April 1, 2010

It’s been a month since I stopped training with Travis, the trainer that Time Out New York set me up with for my six-pack mission. I thought that I would be just fine without him. I thought that I could train with him for four months and then flee to get ripped on my own.

I underestimated the value that personal training offers. Since the beginning of February, when Travis and I stopped training, I’ve stopped logging my food, I’ve had refined sugar on a regular basis and I stopped strength training.

While I have continued doing yoga and cardio, that hasn’t been enough to keep me in the shape I was in a month ago. That’s left me resigned and frustrated, blaming my now less toned frame on my busy schedule and bouts of anxiety.

I’ve been letting myself slip with my fitness routine, and I’m now very clear about the elements that make the most difference in my training and physical shape. The featured feats and fails for this issue are those elements and the challenges I resolve to take on.


FEAT: Refined sugar OUT!

I chose to take on a 30-day refined sugar cleanse, which means no refined sugars (cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc.). Three days down so far, and my energy levels are more sustained and my mood is less volatile.

I had taken this on a while ago and it made a difference in my workouts, energy levels and the way my body responded to extra workouts. I was able to take on more workouts because I have more real energy, not the fake energy I’ve been getting from lattes and chocolate.

Even just two days of going back to a refined-sugar-less lifestyle have made a difference in my workouts. I had more energy for my intenSati yoga workouts and I have slept more efficiently the last few nights.

What does this mean for the six-pack mission? Less resistance to working out, thus more calories and fat burned.


FAIL:  Strength Training

When experts say that muscle burns more than fat, they weren’t kidding.

My body never responded so quickly to exercise as it had when I was strength training while doing the cardio workouts and yoga.

It was pretty remarkable how quickly the weight fell away when I was lifting weights and doing leg presses.

My posture was better, my workouts were more effective, meaning I burned more calories in shorter periods of time, and I burned more calories per day overall.

Since I haven’t been strength training, my muscles have gotten weaker, I burn fewer calories per day (according to the ExerSpy monitor) and I burn less calories per workout.



I resolve to take on strength training three times per week. Thanks to my internship at Social Workout, I have access to several gyms in the area. I will take advantage of these facilities and start pumping some iron!