Just before the Chinese New Year, I did a fitness portfolio shoot featuring Adidas Singapore’s Stella McCartney line.
I was more than satisfied with how the pictures turned out and I definitely felt a sense of achievement knowing that all the hard work I’ve put into my diet and fitness regime prior to the photo shoot were all worth it!
Which brings me to a lot of my viewership enquiring how I got my abs!
In a nutshell, it was just about the most grueling 2 weeks I had to go through. Let me tell you, it was no fun. However, to achieve that perfect set of abs and tip top physique is definitely doable. It all comes down to whether you want it permanently or you’re just looking for a temporary fix.
A permanent solution requires tremendous effort in the beginning followed by incredibly great habits and a designated type of lifestyle.
A temporary fix, however, is what I’ll share in more detail as that was what I had to resort to due to my hectic and irregular working and general life schedule.
First off, I’d like to point out that my abs aren’t your typical rock hard 6-pack… I guess that’s pretty clear. Hence, I call them the “Feminine Abs” or FAbs. Its pretty much a faded outline of a 6-pack. I personally think it’s the farthest I will go in terms of abs… anything more is far too masculine for me. My preferences!
- So for 2 weeks, you don’t actually have the luxury of cheat days because you need to get them abs fast. Hence, this was by far the most difficult part for me because I absolutely detest dieting. And no cheat days? Brutal!!
- In essence, a clean diet for 2 weeks is essential. No carbs. No oily foods. No deep fried foods. The standard stuff. I was eating a lot of Japanese food (sashimi, grilled fish, grilled meat etc) because it was yummy and more satisfying than salad places. I also had to cook on my own a lot and resorted to drinking a lot of soupy stuff to feel full. The important thing is to not starve yourself. You’ll need the energy for the fitness regime I’m going to share later on.
- I had to cut out coke from my life (torture!!) and no other sugary drinks. I tried not to drink too much juice in general as juices contain a lot of sugar (natural or not, sugar is still sugar). Coconut juice was my best friend!
- For those who are adventurous and eager to lose a decent amount of weight in a short amount of time, refer to my GM Diet post. Essentially, it’s a 7-day crash course diet where you’ll lose a minimum of 5 pounds easily. I lost 3kgs after 4 days of the GM Diet and let me tell you, I don’t exactly have that much weight to shed in the first place. The only downside of this diet and any other crash diets are the obvious: as fast as you’ve lost weight, you can gain it back just as quickly if not quicker. It’s all very individual.
The main idea here is discipline. FOCUS. And a truck load of suffering. It’s tough but hey, that’s the price of beauty, I’m afraid. Besides, it will feel so incredibly worth it at the end!
My Fitness Regime:
- Working out everyday is ideal but who has the time for that, right? So let’s be realistic. I tried to do hard workouts every alternate days and on my “rest” days, I would do at least 15-30 minutes of stretching just to keep up the blood flow and relax my muscles.
- I mix up my fitness regime because I get bored super easily! Instead of hitting the gym and just doing cardio on the treadmill, exercise bikes, elliptical machine, etc then hitting the weights, I mix it up with some kickboxing classes, yoga sessions (no relaxing yoga BS… go for the hardcore stuff that make your sweat drip, please!), circuit training (my least favourite, no idea why!), tennis games (found a great coach here in Singapore who works my ass off)… whatever it is that rocks your exercising boat! Keep it interesting or you won’t be motivated.
- Whatever sport or exercise you choose, ensure that it is no less than a full ONE HOUR of serious sweating session. By this, I really mean you have to push yourself. You need to be sweating buckets way before the hour is up and continue sweating through. Since everyone has different levels of fitness, I cannot tell you what you need to do to achieve that. For me, I would run 30 minutes at 9-10km/hour on the treadmill combined with cycling for 30 minutes for a distance of 8-10km. Boom. That’s my one hour. Otherwise, I’d join a zumba class, body pump class, yoga class, or my tennis lesson which ensures I am dying by the time the hour is up! Of course, some of you can achieve a harder workout and some of you a less intense one. Each to their own! To really determine your level of fitness, consult a personal trainer! They can be extremely helpful.
- After your gruelling one-hour-sweat-bucket-sessions, finish off with crunches or sit ups or whatever ab work out you prefer. So, I started off with 3 sets of 20 crunches and 20 sit ups. By the end of week 2, I was doing 3 sets of 50 crunches and 50 sit ups. No pain, no gain!!! It truly was a lot of pain….
So that’s what went down 2 weeks prior to getting this:
I wish I could tell you that skinny people in general have abs so it was pretty easy to achieve this. But the truth is, as skinny as I sorta am, to achieve these set of FAbs was no easy task. I assume it would be tougher for those who have to shed weight to get their abs to pop, but I still had to work my ass off for 2 weeks to achieve this.
And sadly, Chinese New Year came along, and poof! They were gone just as quickly as they came.
Which brings me to the permanent solution. As I mentioned earlier, a permanent solution requires dedication and a very fixed schedule of healthy eating and fitness regime. It truly is no easy task. It has to be a lifestyle. Whatever I shared with you of what I did for 2 weeks, THAT has to be your permanent lifestyle habit with perhaps a cheat day once a week. And the minute you slack for a couple of weeks or so, everything you worked so hard for will disappear in a flash. So achieving a sculpted physique and healthy lifestyle is a lifetime commitment!
And because I love food so dang much, if I want to upkeep my current physique, I have committed myself to no less than 3 times a week of physical exercise! Having said that, this doesn’t mean I get to eat Burger King every day. It’s still important to keep a well-balanced diet. Of course, I allow myself a drink of coke every once in a while but everything in moderation!
As I am a firm believer of a balance in all that we do, and given my erratic work and life schedule, instead of aiming for the perfect aesthetic physique, I aim to build strength and let it show in my physical appearance naturally.
In that respect, I don’t do weights or do strategic exercises to LOOK good… I like working on my foundations and my core. I aim on being strong internally so that in due time, it will show naturally externally. I find this a more long lasting method in leading a healthy and effective lifestyle.
In essence, “It’s not the BEAUTY of a building but the CONSTRUCTION of its foundation that will stand the test of time…”
Build your foundations and build it well. Go slow and steady! Afterall, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Great things take time. So, take your time to build something strong and you’ll find yourself harder and harder to topple over. Then, once in a while, whenever there’s momentum, take advantage of it and push yourself to move and work faster (what I do whenever I need to be sculpted for a photoshoot!).
“The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s not about the circumstances… it’s what you’re made of.”
And if you’re made of all good things, given ANY circumstance, you’ll come out stronger, better, wiser and just… more awesome 😀