6 of the best … 6-pack challenge

THE perfectly-sculpted six-pack is the holy grail of the workout world —and I’ve found out what it takes to chisel one. I gave myselfeight weeks to go from slightly flabby and shapeless to honed and ripped…and I think it’s gone OK. I had the obligatory embarrassing “before”photograph taken and knew it would take hard work…

Published Categorized as Six Pack Abs Exercises

THE perfectly-sculpted six-pack is the holy grail of the workout world —
and I’ve found out what it takes to chisel one.
I gave myself
eight weeks to go from slightly flabby and shapeless to honed and ripped…
and I think it’s gone OK.
I had the obligatory embarrassing “before”
photograph taken and knew it would take hard work to get a decent “after”
shot but I’m pleased with what I’ve been able to stick up.
trained with model, actor and all-round hunk of burning love Adrian James
and used his No1-selling
6 Pack Abs Workout
I also chugged down my fair share of Maximuscle
protein shakes to help me get into decent nick.
I’ve charted my
progress in a weekly blog, which you can find below, and included details of
my train-ups at LA Fitness.
also written up my top tips to get rapid results.
If you want to
tweet me, I’m @davefirth
and follow Adrian too because he loves it — @adrianjamestv.
if you’re going to give this a go…good luck!


WORK YOUR ABS: Hold the phone…you have to work your abs to get a
six-pack?! This is madness! Yes, unbelievably to stand any chance of getting
any definition on your gut, you have to bang out crunches, V-sits and
Russian twists. But the regime is not as relentless as you might think. As
anyone who has read the blog, below, knows, I was using the Adrian
James 6 Pack Abs Workout app
– and it really is rather good. You choose
your level, ranging from Beginner to Elite, and the app acts a personal
trainer, running through six exercises – 30 seconds each with 15 seconds
rest in between. I ran through two workouts after every gym session – four
or five times a week, mainly on Advanced level – and simple maths shows
that’s only ten minutes every time. The app takes any thought process out of
what exercises you should do – just click “start” and the exercises get
shouted out. A priceless six-pack tool.


GET ON THE WEIGHTS: If you want to shift weight, I’d recommend running,
running and running some more until your legs drop off. Nothing burns
calories like it – but if you’re already fairly slim and want to strip away
the jiggly bits, you have to put on weight in the form of muscle. Putting on
muscle speeds up your metabolism, which will in turn burn fat and help you
achieve the definition results you’re after. And the way to put on muscle?
Get to the gym and lift weights. If you’re new to it, like I am, keep your
body balanced – work different body parts on different days. I tended to
rotate four workouts week by week – back and biceps; chest and triceps;
legs; and shoulders. Another good thing about building up your body is that
it makes your stomach appear slimmer. And if you’re working your abs, the
results will follow.

PROTEIN, PROTEIN, PROTEIN: You can hammer your body in the gym as hard
as you like but if you are not refuelling correctly, it’s all a waste of
time. Protein will help repair your muscles once you’ve ripped them to
pieces – and they will come back bigger and stronger. To build muscles –
including a six-pack – chicken, tuna and eggs should become regulars on your
plate. To ramp up my protein intake, I also used Maximuscle‘s
Cyclone protein whey powder. I had one shake in the morning with breakfast
and one in the “golden hour” after exercise, when your muscles simply suck
up protein. The ingredients in the Cyclone also helped me bulk
up…something my pathetic physique definitely needed. If you want rapid
results, I strongly suggest you get on the Cyclone.

CUT THE JUNK: About five weeks into this challenge, the fantasising
began. Burgers started to dominate my thoughts and I’d imagine a Snickers
bar dancing erotically for me, dribbling its caramelly peanuttiness all over
my thighs. But for the eight weeks I was doing this, all the cr*p had to
stop. I obviously had very little time to go from zero to hero, so empty
snacking calories were going to be my nemesis. Chocolate bars and crisps
were out and in came nuts and Ryvita with cottage cheese and peanut butter –
not on the same piece, you lunatic. Basically, if you’re going to give this
a go, you’ll need to snack to fuel your workouts and make sure there’s an
element of protein and “good” fats to your grazing. I have to admit, I
didn’t mind swapping in all this healthy food. I tend to snack when I’m
bored – if I’m eating, I’m happy so I don’t really mind what I’m shoving
into by gob. A bit of forward planning just meant I made sure it was
healthy. Things do get tough when there’s cake knocking about, though…


BYE BYE BOOZE: And while we’re on empty calories, you’re going to have
to cut back on the alcohol if you want fast results. While pints of cider,
lager, stouts and ales undeniably make you look like a big strong man as you
sup them in the pub, they undeniably give you a wobbly tummy and frankly
magnificent breasts. For the duration of this challenge, I swerved my
beloved cider completely and, on the whole, I tried to avoid alcohol
altogether. But sometimes there are occasions when you have to drink – I had
a day at the races and attended a couple of glorious day-time barbecues –
and in times of need I went for vodka and diet tonic/soda water. It’s as
low-calorie as booze gets but obviously still does the trick. The trouble
comes when you have to bang out those crunches the day after…

REST: And saving the best tip till last – sometimes you have to rest.
Doing all these weights and abs workouts, effectively ripping your muscles
to pieces, you need to give your body a chance to rebuild itself. The only
way to do that is to take maybe a couple of days spread over the week when
you’re NOT ripping your muscles to ribbons. And rest means rest –
don’t think “Right, day off from the gym today, I think I’ll build a wall”
or go for a cheeky 30-minute “slow run”. Give your body a chance. Stop. Do
nothing. Sleep. Watch a film. Sleep. Have a Ryvita. Those days, my friends,
have been the highlight of this challenge. Work hard on the workout days and
you can kick back guilt-free, knowing your muscles will come back bigger and


You don’t care about the words now.

You’ve seen the “before” and “after” picture and that’s
all you ever wanted to see.

But just to finish things off – this last week has been hard.

I had a bit of a scare towards the end of last week when I got some sort of
bug and had a very dodgy stomach.

I’m not sure whether you can vomit up your abs but my guts did not feel good
at all and I feared my hard work might have been ruined at the very last.

Thankfully it was only a 24-hour thing and I was quickly back to the gym and
banging out workouts to Adrian’s app.

I listened to Adrian’s advice on how to get the best out of the photoshoot – a
final shave of the chest fuzz and, most importantly, an ultra-manly spray
tan at my local Tanning

I reckon it made a real difference, giving some much-needed colour to my pasty

Adrian is pleased with the results too. I’m a “testimonial dream”

Who cares. I can eat biscuits now.

If you’ve been reading this blog, thanks very much. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Now, please send this on to ALL of your friends and family. I need as
many people as possible to see me looking like this. Won’t be long until the
burgers take their toll…

PLANK HOLD TIME: 3min 47sec


After the crushing doubts of last week, I was a desperate man — and
now I’ve done something I could live to regret.

No, I didn’t go out and drink my bodyweight in sweet, sweet cider.


And no, I didn’t buy a sweaty chocolate fudge cake and work my way through it,
slice by grubby slice…although that does sound ridiculously good. Just one
week to go. Be. Strong.

No, my moment of weakness resulted in me…shaving off my chest hair.

Now, as you can see from my “before” picture above, I have a fairly
impressive rug. Or should I say “had”.

By the time I’d finished with the electric groomer, it looked like I’d skinned
a dozen raccoons in the bathroom.

To finish the job, I foamed up my chest and stomach and took the Gillette to

And then I was bald.

I did that several days ago. Now it’s itchy. Very itchy. And there are red
blotches on my chest thanks to razor irritation. And the hairs are already
sprouting through again. I’m going to have to go through the whole process
all over again in a few days otherwise I’ll just look stupid.

My wife Esther just shakes her head and says I should have let her wax it.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. No chance.

OK, so it’s itchy, irritating and my pasty body makes me look a bit like a
mannequin – but what’s this poking through? It couldn’t be, could it?
Yes….I do believe there actually ARE some abs there.

I have to say, shaving my chest has made me feel a whole lot better about this
whole challenge. I suppose it’s logical – just as my abs were initially
having to fight through a layer of flub, they were also having to battle
through a film of fuzz.

The four-pack – not sure I’ll ever get to that proper six-pack – is back with
a vengeance and I’m now happily finding spotlights around the house to pose
and prod under. Est bloody loves it.

In terms of diet, there’s only so many times you can say I’m eating well and
not drinking booze…but I’m eating well and not drinking booze.

Saying that, Est and I went away for the weekend for our wedding anniversary
and I will admit to a three-course steak bonanza, rounded off with sticky
toffee pudding – but this new plastic body of mine has left me feeling
indestructible. And I haven’t touched alcohol for weeks. I’m very dull.

I got to the gym four times last week and I’m still hammering out the crunches
to Adrian’s app, which rather ludicrously has got to No1 in the App Store. I
guess the nice weather has inspired blokes to take their tops off – and
they’ve not been impressed with what they’ve seen.

One week to go – and then the big reveal. The photoshoot is next Wednesday.
I’ll be able to fit three chest shaves in before that.


PLANK HOLD TIME: 3min 04secs


Oh, the doubts. The crippling, crippling doubts.

Two weeks to go until I have to have the “after” photo taken to sit
alongside that picture of the scrawny dweeb at the top of the page.

Am I just kidding myself? Has there been any improvement at all?

I’ve been saying I’ve got a four-pack, but are those “packs” just
rolls of fat? Have I just got even more out of shape?

Why the hell have I been eating Ryvita and cottage cheese? Waste of time! I
could have got this fat on cake.

I’ve been drinking vodka and diet tonic on the rare nights I’ve been on the
booze. I felt like a girl. I should have just had ciders. At least then I
could justify the fact that I haven’t changed shape for the better during
six weeks of hard graft.

I think I might be having a crisis of confidence.

My wife Esther is trying to help: “You’re definitely thinner – I can tell
because your belly button is less deep. It’s more stretched out.”

Shut up woman. I need to do some sit-ups…non-stop…for two weeks.

Adrian’s being positive too. I flash my abs to show him my “progress”,
he makes encouraging noises but I know that after our training sessions he’s
straight on to the photographer: “Right, we’re going to need to spray
on some abs and you might have to get a bit tricky on the old Photoshop.
There’s a good chap.”

By the time this is over, that’ll be eight weeks of my life I’ll never get
back…and all for nothing.

Workout update, for what it’s worth – I hit the gym five times this week,
battering different parts of the body each time.

One constant is the abs – I train them at the end of every session using
Adrian’s app. I still like it and Adrian’s a bloody good bloke…but he’d
better hope I’ve got some sort of definition at the end of this otherwise
I’ll make sure Apple de-list his baby from the App Store.

I’m still eating well – scoffing chicken and tuna constantly really doesn’t
bother me and I can’t stress enough how delicious the chocolate Maximuscle
Cyclone is. Mind you, given it’s the only chocolate thing I’m
drinking/eating at the moment, it’s no surprise it’s one of the highlights
of my day. And whether I’m fat or not, it’s definitely helped to bulk up my
chest and shoulders.

Right. Best go. I’ve got crunches to do. Forever.

PLANK HOLD TIME: 2min 43secs


Me: “Touch it.”

My wife Esther: “No…I don’t want to touch it.”

Me: “Pleeeease…you haven’t touched it for a while. It’s bigger and

Esther: “But it feels all weird and bumpy.”

Me: “Gooooo on, just give it a quick rub – I’ll leave you alone if you do.”

Esther: “Oh all right then. Oh wow, it’s quite impressive isn’t it?!”

Me: “Yes. Yes it is…”

Reader, you are disgusting. Drag your filthy mind out of the gutter – of
course our conversation is about my flourishing abs. You are a despicable
human being.

As you can probably tell from my completely innocent introduction, I’m quite
pleased with how my stomach is progressing.

At home, I’m probably spending about 67 per cent of my time topless.

I stand in front of a mirror, tense up, pose and prod my now-definitely-there
four-pack. I’m clearly a lunatic.

Esther has perfected the art of rolling her eyes as I tell her how excellent I
look – though I am generous enough to let her feel for herself. Oh yeah, she
never tires of that.

Workout-wise, things are going really well. I’ve powered through my sluggish
phase and managed to get to the gym on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
and Saturday. Adrian was there each time and it makes a big difference
having him around – he knows what he’s doing and what exercises to do to
target each body part…and I don’t.

I can definitely see my body shape changing – my shoulders and chest are
getting broader and I’ve got these little things attached to my upper arms.
Muscles, I think they call them. I like having muscles. I look like a
real-life man.

I’m still banging out crunches, Russian twists, V-sits etc to Adrian’s app. As
the end of the challenge draws closer, thoughts move towards the
all-important “after” photo. To get the best results – i.e. cheat
– Adrian’s told me I have to get a spray tan, I’ll be lit from above so any
definition creates an impressive shadow – and I have to lose my body fuzz.

There’s a few weeks to go and yet I’m already mentally preparing myself for
the shaving process – but Esther is desperate to wax me.

Not gonna happen.

Esther: “Pleeeeease….let me do it! You’ll like it!”

Me: “No…I won’t like it. It will hurt.”

Esther: “Gooooo on….you’ll never know how it feels unless you try it.
I’ll be gentle. You’ll have a feeling of euphoria and blessed relief once
we’ve finished.”

Reader, you really are a disgrace.

PLANK HOLD TIME: 2min 22secs (less than last week because I only
remembered I had to do this after I’d monstered myself in the gym. I was a
shell of a man so I was pleased I even managed this. Who cares what you


Ah, the difficult week back after the Ascot extravaganza.

I thought slurping down vodka and diet tonic at the races would be as
cleansing as a colonic.

Perfectly clear to the eye, crisp on the tongue – there’s lemon in it too for
pity’s sake.

I thought maybe, maybe, I might have a sharp headache the morning after but I
also thought I’d be banging out crunches to Adrian’s app by 11am.

But no. The word to sum up this week is sluggish.

Ascot was on the Friday and Saturday was a knackered, hungover write-off.

Oddly though, as I tensed my abs in front of the mirror on Saturday morning
expecting to see nothing more than a bloated belly jiggling menacingly, I
was actually pleased with what I saw.

There was perhaps more definition than I had seen before. I was convinced I
was a genius. I could picture it in on the App Store – David Firth’s Vodka
And Diet Tonic 6-Pack Workout.

As we worked out on Sunday, I informed Adrian of my delight at seeing a
rippling (ish) torso staring back at me the morning after the all-dayer
before – and he predictably shattered my dreams.

I was looking toned on Saturday because I was so dehydrated. Just as my head
was pounding due to a lack of fluids, so too my abs were poking through
because my innards were starved of water.

Maybe I won’t call the software developers just yet.

But back to the sluggish theme, I have felt shattered before, during and after
every gym session and run this past week. I know I’m training hard and the
11:30pm finishes at work won’t be helping but I’m laying the bulk of the
blame with the booze.

I’ve found myself clock-watching a bit when I’ve been in the gym without
Adrian, wanting to just get through whatever workout I’ve decided to drag
myself through.

The big positive is that I’m still banging out the app’s abs workouts at the
end of sessions. It does help that it’s easy to follow and, most important,
you can knock out two decent abs workouts in ten minutes. There’s no excuse
for me not to do it. Unfortunately.

I’ve also made the step up from Intermediate to Advanced. Yeah, that’s right –
I’m a machine. Absolutely nails, mate.

And my progress continues. I may be cream-crackered but I’m looking pretty

While there is still more flubber to be stripped away, I have definitely lost
any hint of the pot belly I had when I started this and, dehydrated or not,
there are certainly some stomach muscles popping through.

To help my gut guns further, I’ve also swapped my Maximuscle protein tipple of
choice from slimline Promax Diet to muscle-building Cyclone. The chocolate
version really does taste like Nesquik. Dreams.

Week four. Halfway through. Vodka and diet tonic to celebrate?

PLANK HOLD TIME: 2min 25secs


I’m writing this entry after finishing my dinner.

Slab of chicken breast, a little jacket potato filled with a dollop of cottage
cheese and steamed broccoli. Check. Me. Out. That’s textbook stuff. I do
want some ice cream now though. Must….resist.

I’ve realised I’m actually a bit of a sick puppy – I love having a meal plan
to follow.

Bit of porridge or eggs with one slice of toast for breakfast; Maximuscle
Promax Diet shake mid-morning after a gym session; lunch is either a
wholemeal wrap or salad and a small jacket potato with either tuna or
chicken; snacks are Ryvita with cottage cheese and one with peanut butter
(my big vice); I’ll chuck in another Promax Diet shake somewhere late
afternoon and dinner is mostly a chicken stir-fry rammed with veg.

I can imagine most people would find that a little dull…but I really don’t.
I love a routine and I know that every time I eat all this good food, I’m
giving myself the best chance of churning out some abs of steel. I still
fancy a little spoonful of ice cream right now, though….

Before I started this challenge, I must admit I did munch down my fair share
of junk food. I’m a chocolate-bar-a-day man and if there are any cakes or
crisps knocking about in the office, I’ll stuff them straight into my face.
Oh, and ice cream. Wonderful, wonderful ice cream.

But I’ve stripped all of that rubbish out of my diet for the duration of this
and I feel absolutely brilliant for it. My skin is looking dreamy – I could
star in a L’Oreal moisturiser advert because I am bloody worth it – and I
feel like I’m sleeping well. Though I suppose the monstrous gym sessions and
countless crunches help with that too.

I actually feel guilty when I know I have to stray from the meal plan. We had
a few people over for a barbecue this week and while I swerved the burgers
and sausages, I felt pangs of shame as I sank my teeth into the crisp skin
of a chicken drumstick that I hadn’t quite managed to strip properly.

And let’s not talk about all the booze I sank – though, for the record, it was
vodka and diet bitter lemon. Yes, a lady drink, but a very low-calorie lady
drink…and a lady drink I got completely battered on at Ascot. Oops.

So how’s the belly? It’s actually looking OK. I wasn’t expecting to see as
much definition as I’m seeing by this stage but I do still have to tense up
before any muscles creep through. Adrian seems pretty pleased with my
progress too and he has, er, pretty high standards. Adrian’s app is still
working me hard – I think I might make the step up from Intermediate level
to Advanced now to keep that gut guessing.

Bring on next week. And, yes, I had a spoonful of ice cream as I wrote this.
Sue me.

PLANK HOLD TIME: 2min 17secs (plus one drunken “plank-off”
with a mate after Ascot, which felt like about 20 minutes)


Every morning, my alarm beeps. I roll over wearily, turn it off…and then the
ache sets in.

A dull, nagging ache in whichever parts of my body have been torn to pieces in
the gym the day before.

But it’s a satisfying ache. It’s an ache of progress.

Normally when I go to a gym, it’s straight on to the treadmill, move my legs a
bit as I stare at music videos (at least one involving Nicki Minaj) and then
go home. Easy.

Now, I’m picking up heavy pieces of metal. Not easy.

Adrian – yes, that fella pictured above with his gut hanging out – is guiding
me through the free-weight jungle and assures me that the ache is a good
thing. It means the muscles are repairing themselves and they will come back
stronger and bigger. All right, let’s go with it.

I’ve established a bit of a routine, concentrating on different body parts on
specific days and having total rest days on Wednesdays and Sundays.

When he’s not chatting away about something or other, Adrian is working me
hard – Monday’s shoulder session was tough but Tuesday’s leg beasting was

I honestly thought I might be sick and had to take myself off to the changing
room to have a word with myself.

The theory behind all the weights is to build up my upper-body so my
stomach/abs look all the more trim in relation to the rest of my physique.

At the end of each gym session, I’m cracking on with the abs workout using
Adrian’s app – two lots of the Intermediate workout back-to-back. Ouch.

The combo of weights, sensible diet and crunches seems to be making a
difference. Who’d have thunk it?!

When I tense up and stare really hard in the mirror, I think I can just about
pick out a two-pack on my definitely-less-blubbery torso.

I am an adonis. An aching, close-to-vomiting adonis.

PLANK HOLD TIME: 2min 09secs


And so it begins.

For the last few years I’ve been in decent shape. I like a run and usually
knock out between 20 and 30 miles a week.

In addition, I do a couple of hour-long British Military Fitness sessions –
basically legging it about in a park while an Army man tells me to do

I’ve got a fairly slim build – but I’ve always carried the hint of a flabby
belly. With the summer holiday booked for August, I thought I’d have a bash
at getting myself properly ripped – with a genuine, rock-hard six-pack.

To get started, I met up with Gareth Nicholas, product and education
specialist at Maximuscle UK, and a chap called Adrian James. Adrian’s
pictured above. Look at the state of him. I think Adrian can help me.

At that meeting we all agreed that while I am in OK physical shape, we need to
work on stripping away that layer of puppy fat from around my upper-body by
tweaking my diet and workout habits.

I eat reasonably healthily but my protein intake is lower than it needs to be,
so it’s chicken breast, tuna and lean steak ahoy.

I also need to eat between five and seven small, high-protein “meals”
a day, rather than the standard three big meals. Annoyingly, my one-a-day
Snickers habit is frowned upon.

Gareth has got me on Maximuscle’s Promax Diet shakes (which count towards
these meals) and supplements in between meals. These will help the
fat-shredding process and aid the quest for definition – pretty much ideal
for my goal.

So far, the novelty of frying up beef and chicken to have with veg/salads
hasn’t worn off and giving my usual big bowls of pasta a miss hasn’t been
too much of a challenge.

Adrian is helping me modify my training schedule and has recommended I cut
back a bit on the running – particularly my weekly 12-miler – to avoid
burning too much muscle…muscle I will hopefully put on through upper-body
gym work and Adrian’s 6
Pack Abs Workout app

Adrian’s claim is that if I perform two workouts on his easy-to-follow app
after each gym session – four or five days a week – for eight weeks, I will
have a six-pack. Easy.

The app has different levels, from Beginner up to Elite, and after a quick
timed plank hold test (1min 45secs – not too awful apparently) Adrian
recommends I start on the the Intermediate level. I’ll do a plank hold once
a week to see how I’m progressing.

So far, it’s all going well. I’m enjoying doing a few more weights in the gym,
even though I ache pretty much every day, and losing the daily Snickers
hasn’t been as much as a drag as I thought it would be.

Week one done – the biggest challenge coming in the form of a boozy,
sausage-laden Diamond Jubilee barbecue. A few cans of cider might not have
been great for the abs, but I went for chicken breast and salmon instead of
burgers and bangers. Surely that’s the equivalent of 100 crunches, no?

Anyway, that’s out of the way and whisper it, but I think those abs are
getting a bit less jiggly.

PLANK HOLD TIME: 1min 45secs

For details on the Adrian James 6 Pack Abs Workout go to sixpackproductions.com.
For nutrition advice go to maximuscle.com.
With thanks to LA Fitness for gym facilities. See lafitness.co.uk.


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