Where are my abs?

My quest to find my abs began one Sunday afternoon when Kieran and I were watching athletics on TV. Jessica Innes was competing, amongst many other super-fit ladies, and I was busily admiring their abs. I wondered out loud what my abs would look like if I could see them (at this point languishing under a not insignificant layer of belly fat). Tactfully Kieran replied with his customary ‘Hum’ accompanied by raised eyebrows and a surprised look on his face – those of you that know him will recognise this as his stock response for not answering questions that may land him in trouble of some kind.

But he wasn’t getting off the hook that easily. I probed further and the conversation went something like this…

Me: What would my abs look like if I could see them?

Kieran: Why don’t you find out?

Me: OK, how do I go about doing that and is it even possible? [At this point I’m more mildly curious than ready to commit to a regime of five hours a day exercise and living on egg white omelette for the foreseeable future.]

Kieran: First of all you need to start going to the gym again [ouch!]

Me: I can do that; will you design a programme for me to help me achieve it?

Kieran: Sure.

So I started back at the gym twice a week (I’ve been a sporadic gym goer for years but had given it up for a while – I can’t even remember why now). That went OK for a month or so, I was back in the habit of going to the gym but not much was happening visually. Around this time Kieran set up a Fat Loss Circuit, so I joined that. 45 minutes of hard work but masses of fun and using equipment you don’t usually see in the gym; slam balls, TRX and grappling ropes – in fact I just got awarded Ninja status which means I won the Workout of the Week award three times. I have the t-shirt 🙂

The circuit started up twice a week and before I knew it I was in the gym five days a week. Things started to change – clothes were more comfortable and my sister commented on ‘my tiny tummy’ …I liked that! But still no sign of any abs. So Kieran suggested I stepped things up and started his, then new, Learn to Be Lean Nutrition course. Wow, then things really started to happen. After three months of following the nutrition guidelines (no mention of egg white omelette and no calorie counting, but I am a protein shake convert), two circuit classes and three gym sessions per week, big changes were in progress.

Improved muscle definition and overall body tone were really noticeable. We train in small groups with Kieran and some of the ladies in my Saturday group began to compliment me on my arms and back – I liked that too and it kept me motivated to keep going so thank you ladies, you know who you are!

Between my before and after photos I’ve lost a stone and a half in weight (mostly from my stomach area) and I’m now at 22% body fat – the lowest ever in the last five years of measurements. And most importantly I can see vague shadows of my abs appearing. Along the way I’ve also taken on the challenge of being able to do an unassisted pull up. I’ve just graduated from using two assistance straps to only one so I’ll keep you posted…

It’s setting little challenges like this that have kept me interested and motivated towards my goal. I love the group training rather than just going it alone because you get to know people and there’s always someone in the gym you know to have a laugh with. We use allsorts of different kit too – kettle bells, TRX, squat racks and cable pulls to name a few. We do lots of dynamic exercises with our body weight and free weights – no machines to queue for – most of us can be seen squatting, lunging up and down the gym or doing planks and suitcase dead lifts at some point during the session… and that’s just the girls.

Being on this journey with Kieran is a great experience, his way of training is different from other personal trainers I’ve had in the past. His method allows us to build our own support networks within the training groups and circuit classes and we all motivate each other – I know that if I dared to miss a gym session or a circuit class then it would be noted and the others will call me out on it!

It’s been hard work getting this far but it’s been a good kind of hard work and at no point have I ever felt like giving up on myself. And as a final reward I’m writing this wearing a pair of jeans that I’ve had for four years and have never been able to fit into. I refused to get rid of them and always told Kieran I’d get into them some day – today is that day.

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