Your Abs Will Never Be as Tight as Your Friends

Juliet Ben-Ami’s Quest for Perfect Abs Leads to Finding Deeper Meaning


Although we may not always attain our initial aspirations, supporitve communites often indirectly result from our efforts. (Darryl Yu/The Observer)

Published: May 5, 2010

It all started with an e-mail to Time Out New York Magazine, asking them to help me in my quest for six-pack abs. The fitness mission began. I worked with the trainer. I counted my calories. I soaked up every piece of nutrition and fitness information that I could. Since the day in October when I got confirmation that the article was going to run, I’ve lost about eight pounds, have more energy and feel lighter and more vibrant than I’ve ever felt in my life. I got exactly what I wanted out of taking on this particular fitness mission.

Why did I do this six-pack mission in the first place? I wanted mass accountability from everyone around me. The mindset? If my personal fitness was going to be a matter of public knowledge, then I had better do what I say I’m going to do. What did I get out of this? I got that experiencing optimum health only had a small part to do with me and a large part to do with everyone around me.

“Hey Juliet! How’s the training going?”

“Are you still doing the six pack thing?”

“Wow! You really slimmed down! Are you still training?’

Encouragement and questions like this, from everyone in my life, are what helped me succeed in my mission of approaching optimum health. Ultimately, I achieved one third of my goal. I can see two muscles peeking out if I flex my abdominal muscles. All of this was because people in my life reminded me to keep my head in the game.

I can’t think of anyone who wasn’t part of this mission. Katherine Kike’s UJAM classes and Kat Adamenko’s IntenSati classes in McMahon Hall supported me in obtaining the cardio training I needed. My training sessions with Travis Vowell from Crunch helped me gain and maintain my strength. Riding bikes, doing yoga and Pilates and choosing the healthy option at whatever restaurant I went to with friends kept me in the training mindset. My parents’ encouragement, Observer staff support, the nutritionist I visited and all of my fitness expert friends who are personal trainers, nutritionists and holistic health scholars played a vital role.

Everyone had a part in my fitness journey, and here I am breathing easier, feeling lighter and fitting into some of my clothes that I haven’t worn since I was 14! I’ve had success with feats such as consistently getting enough sleep, increasing my dose of weekly cardio workouts, and decreasing the amount of foods that my body is sensitive to (sugar, wheat, dairy, etc.). I’ve experienced numerous failures, including a knee injury, poor posture and overdoing it with sugar.

I got exactly the accountability I wanted. As a result, I experienced the benefits of being connected to all of my supportive communities and being clear, present and healthy with the people in them.

What I intended was to have six-pack abs by Spring Break; which I did not do. Instead of having the trophy of washboard abs, I got something much better. I got community, accountability and connection with the people in my life.

I’ll continue to take on my fitness and health as high priorities in my life as a result of this mission. Maybe one day I’ll have the six-pack abs, but right now, I’m enjoying the benefits of feeling healthier than I’ve ever felt and having a community I can rely on. And friends who kept, reminding me when I forgot what I was playing for in my fitness game, you all pushed me back on the court. I couldn’t have done it without you.