The Road to Abs: Speed Bumps & Food For Thought

Gym flat lay with Voss water bottle, iPhone, headphones and Bonds sports bra

I’ll be real with you – it is difficult to sustain a roaring degree of enthusiasm when you are deliberately testing your pain threshold and (sometimes) depriving your taste buds of the most decadent, sugary creations known to mankind. Apparently, this is a quintessential part of the ab acquisition journey – a universal hazing pledge that must be made in order to become part of the six pack pack. I know, I know – no pain, no gain, right? 

I won’t be the first and I certainly won’t be the last to tell you, but motivation levels can deplete rapidly in the aftermath of a sweaty, teeth-gritting workout or when faced with a torturous dessert dilemma. I’ve experienced my first pain-induced speed bump and it’s taking more than a positive attitude to hurl my body over it. I hate to admit but it’s been a challenge and a half to maintain a rigorous fitness regime. What was supposed to be 3 sessions a week has on a few occasions, dropped to 1. Initially, I blamed my absence on the cold that had rudely inhabited my body, initiating a week of sluggish behaviour. But even now, the temporary rut I’ve fallen into threatens to widen the gap between me and my summer bod. Month 2 has certainly thrown a few curve balls and even provoked a few minor episodes of Tourettes, but I am not willing to back down and accept defeat. Not now. Not ever. You can hold me to it.

Food for thought

The more I think about food (carbs) and the endless buffet of #fitspo grams flooding my feed, the more it fuels what I hope is just an outrageous and outright naive theory – one that my ravenous self has concocted to justify the accidental treat or excuse the poor level of physical activity achieved in any given week. Is the road to abs a more punishing journey for foodies, food lovers, and sugar-addicted human beings? Does our sheer attachment to food and the state of ecstasy we fall into, create a formidable barrier? Is it too much of a conflicting journey to embark on? Maybe the state of hunger has plagued my body and unwittingly loosened the wires in my brain, allowing nothing but a fluffy cloud of nonsense to fill its void… Time will tell. Though, I sincerely hope that I can flush this theory down the pooper.

Peeling the onion

So why do I want to continue on this sweaty quest if it’s borderline torture, borderline impossible at times? Well, for proof of the pudding and the bouquet of benefits I will later reap of course. The majority of the goals I’ve set to date have been academically or career focused. It’s time to change things up and pursue a physical one. I want to prove to myself that I’m physically capable of transforming my body for the better. Challenges always incite a love-hate relationship. And this is no different.  The way I see it, the tougher the goal, the more satisfying the prize. The thing about achieving a goal is that it becomes indisputable evidence of your personal strength and power. A slice of internal validation, without an expiration date. You can bank it away for as long as you like and whip it out on a rainy day. I want that.

The pursuit of energy 

I’ve never been one to indulge in manufactured forms of energy. As shocking as this revelation may be, coffee has never really been part of my morning ritual. In fact, I enjoy the aroma more than its caffeinated contents (don’t hurt me), so being surrounded by a daily posse of coffee addicts is enough to quench my scent cravings. Personally, my bowl of muesli takes precedence on any given morning  – it’s a hangry-crushing, brain-awakening necessity. I’m rambling! The point is that aside from the improved levels of fitness, the prospect of abs and blah blah blah – all the healthy stuff – I was looking forward to the natural surge in energy when I jumped on the exercise bandwagon. Lately, I’ve been tired. I feel as though a permanent wave of tiredness has anchored me down and I am waiting, ever so patiently, to be liberated from this persistent state of exhaustion. I can’t wait for this sweat-fest of a journey to start delivering its natural buzz so that my nap time cravings can drop down to an acceptable level. I’m tired of being tired!

Back to back

The absence of pain never garners as much attention as it should. We complain incessantly when riddled with pain, but rarely declare our appreciation when we are in fine form. So, I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for my current state of being. I am a healthy human with a fan-bloody-tastic back. My back is back. Hooray! Now, I can personally attest to the bazillion studies that highlight a correlation between physical activity and back pain relief. As I lie here, sprawled on my living room rug in reflection mode, gearing myself up for another month of kicking butt, I’ve realised that acknowledging progress and celebrating small milestones is a powerful way of restoring your motivation and dragging yourself out of the inevitable gym rut.

All because your motivation levels have plummeted doesn’t mean you should call it quits. Have some pride, jump back up and find another source of motivation. Better yet, peel the onion, uncover what really inspired your fitness goals in the first place and use that to activate your adrenalin switch.

If you missed out on Part 1 of the ab acquisition journey – click here.


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