Hi girls! Four months ago, I set a goal for myself: I wanted a sixpack for my 30th birthday. And today is my birthday: Hip hip, hooray! I'll share my journey on how I almost succeeded on my way to get some more ab definition. Let me tell you how I got as far as I am now. Hopefully you will learn some tips and tricks from my journey: the road to a sixpack!
Okay, so, why a sixpack? It might sound like a superficial goal: of course a sixpack looks great, but what other purpose does it have? Well, I'll tell you. To me, a sixpack is the ultimate proof of fitness. You'll have to train hard, but also keep a close eye on your nutrition. And you'll have to be patient. Very. Very. Patient. For those who have never met me: I'm a super impatient girl! I cannot sit still for a minute, haha. So sticking to a fitness and food regime for a long term goal, was the best thing I could commit to. No quick fixes! This goal will take me months to reach! And I was up for a good challenge.
So when I started blogging for #FITGIRLCODE, I was looking for a long term goal. A sixpack it was! I started using the hashtag #sixpackbefore30 on my Instagram account (@fitgirlroos), because I would turn 30 in April. It was my goal to be the strongest, happiest and fittest version of myself at the age of 30. With some good abs, preferably!
One of my Instagram pictures: My weight hasn't changed much! But my abs have changed! This is why you shouldn't trust your scale ;-)
How does one get a sixpack, you might ask? It's actually very simple, wel, in theory ofcourse. You just need four things:
- Some abdominal muscle. To get the lines and contours of a sixpack, there has to be some muscle on your belly.
- A lower fat percentage. To be able to see those beautiful abs, that fluffy protection layer of fat has to disappear.
- A body type that's not apple shaped. Apples carry most of their fat on their belly, which makes it very difficult to get real ab definition. In other words: your body type defines how quickly your abs will start to show. I have a hour glass figure shape: which is beneficial, because I naturally don't carry a lot of fat on my stomach.
- Patience and persistance. Remember: if this was easy: everybody would have a sixpack!
Gradually, I made some changes in my lifestyle. I switched from slow weightlifting, to high intensity & functional training (crosstraining and CrossFit), to burn more calories, while still keeping on to the muscle mass I had built over the last two years. I tried to go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week.
I also cleaned up my diet: this was definitely the most important step! I tried to eat approximately 2000 kcal a day. For a tall and active girl like me, this would still lead to gradually fat loss! Some weeks I would track my diet, using an iPhone app, some weeks I would just use my common sense. I would always have one cheat day a week, where I would treat myself with pizza, chocolate or wine. The other six days were mostly clean food: lots of oatmeal, vegetables, chicken, nuts, protein powder, fruit, fish, rice, quinoa, and of course the occasional snack. Remember: 2000 kcal of clean food is a LOT of food. I never starved myself!
I tried to be patient. And persistent. And I would plan most of my meals and workouts. Aaaah... Things would go so slowly! It has been frustrating sometimes! But I always told myself: Roos, you are not a bodybuilder or a fitness model. You're just a regular girl, trying to get fit. Don't force anything, don't follow a 100% strict diet, because you'll be unhappy! Just listen to your body and be patient. I hope you feel the same way if you're changing your lifestyle!
The picture above (shot by Fit Girl Satijn) is the result of 4 months of going hard in the gym & going clean in the kitchen! I'm pretty proud of myself! I didn't get a sixpack, it's more a fourpack (on good days.. haha!).
So I tried to sum up three thing I did great, and three things I could've done differently to get that sixpack. Here we go:
Three reasons I (almost) got a #sixpackbefore30:
- Doing functional, high intensity, heavy training 3-4 times a week. Burning a ton of calories, while still building muscles.
- Taking my nutrition seriously: eating 2000 kcal of mostly clean food (which was a perfect amount for my length and activity level). Prepping and planning most of my meals. Having a cheat day once a week, but sticking to my diet the other days.
- Aiming for slow changes. Taking it one month at a time. Refusing to go for a crash diet. This method helped me to persist. If I used any "quick fixes", I would have failed miserably. Slow changes are best!
My progression picture: there's 3 years in between these pics :)
Okay, so why isn't there a true sixpack on that top photo, Roos? Three reasons:
- I'm just human! There were days when I would ask myself "What tastes better... a pizza? Or a sixpack?" Ofcourse the correct answer is pizza.
- I've had a super busy work schedule, since I started a new job. I would make 12 hour days. I had to skip workouts, because I wasn't there on time. Also, working late made it more difficult to make the right food choices sometimes.
- This sixpack mission was important and fun, but it wasn't the most important thing in the world to me. I made room for date nights, drinking wine with my girlfriends and eating cake on birthdays. I could have committed more (mostly on the diet part) if it was more a duty. I know I could have been stricter if I was competing in a bikini fitness competition or if I needed to tone up for a fotoshoot, or some other " big" goal . The only goal I had, was looking hot in a crop top this summer, haha!
Would you like more updates on my Sixpack Quest? Click here to check out my food- and fitness schedule. Or click here to see my Instagram account, for daily fitness motivation.