34 Pounds In 8 Weeks: How I Got 6 Pack Abs and Dropped to 5.4% Body Fat Without Stepping Foot In a Gym

UPDATE: If you’d like to see better photos than the “mirror” shots here, you can see a selection of the photos from our shoot here, which gives a much better overall view of how I looked when I finished this program.

This past spring I started a fitness regimen where I lost 34 pounds in 8 weeks, dropped to 5.4% body fat and FINALLY got 6 pack abs in less than 30 minutes of exercise a day WITHOUT stepping foot into a gym. This is what that change looks like.

ImpossibleAbs BeforeAfter

Yes, I’m finally joining the vanity ranks of Steve and Matt in posting half-naked photos of myself online. Also, judging by traffic spikes from my announcement post last week, my new approach to the site should be less photos, and more blogging. I mentioned this on the facebook page and marketing expert Brendan made a great insight :)

If getting half naked increases your traffic getting full naked should double it then right?

Makes sense to me.

Fortunately for everyone involved, that’s not one of the things on my impossible list, so there won’t be any of those coming up, I will tell you the story of how I lost 34 pounds in 8 weeks, dropped to 5.4% body fat and finally got 6 pack abs in less than 30 minutes a day with ZERO gym equipment.

Here’s how I did it.

Getting Started

Like every other guy on earth, I’ve wanted six pack abs forever. I’ve done sports since I was a kid and tried everything in the book to get them, but I never was able to get quite there. When I first wrote out the impossible list, it was one of the first things on it, but for the last two years, the “get a six pack and do a photoshoot to celebrate” has been sitting there – daring for me to attempt to do it.

So, over a “few” drinks during St. Patricks Day in Austin with Vic, I decided enough was enough – six pack abs were to be mine – no matter the cost! I was sick of excuses and wanted to make them non-existent throughout this process.

So I did the hardest part of the entire project – I committed.

Over the next few days, Vic and I put together a plan of action. I made a list of changes I need to make, kickstarted it with a round of Cold Shower Therapy to make sure they stuck.

On top of that, I called up Spyr Media, threw down several hundred dollars for a photo shoot and picked out a date and signed a contract. I also made a pact with Vic: If, by the end of the 8 week program, I didn’t have a six pack, I would give him $500 to give to my least favorite person in the world and the worst possible organization I could think of: Steve at Nerd Fitness.

That did it – there was no way in hell Steve was ending up with my money :). Game on.

Diet Diet Diet

Diets suck. I hate them. I have the biggest sweet tooth out of anyone I know and I have such a lack of self-control when I’m around candy that 4 year olds are embarrassed for me. My lack of self-control is so terrible, it’s practically non-existent

  • Oh, sure I’ll have a cookie…or 10.
  • Of course, I’ll just have 3 oreos…or… 3 packages.

One thing I’ve learned about myself is that: I’M ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE AT MODERATION. I either go all out or nothing. so when it came to dieting, I went all-out.

I’ve never watched what I’ve eaten before, but I went on a incredibly strict-paleo diet. Traditionally, straight paleo would usually be considered only meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits and nuts. I did that and went even a little more overboard. I also cut out dairy, almost all nuts and most fruit (especially for the last 5 weeks) – and I’ve got the nutrition logs to prove it.

That left meat, vegetables and eggs. Over and over and over again. Let’s just say that I single handedly diminished the chicken population within a 10 mile radius of my house and ate broccoli like it was going out of style. I cooked large amounts of  food a few times a week and ate the same types of meals over and over again because it was simple and effective. Yes, sometimes it’s boring, but I also learned to like it. I had to make things stupid-proof and I started to channel my lack of self-control with candy and sweets into a sort of addictive personality trait towards healthy eating and made a game of it with myself.

  • How much broccoli can I eat?
  • I bet you won’t eat that entire bundle of asparagus!
  • Isn’t this avocado incredibly tasty?

(The fun part about this, is that as you wean yourself off of the crap food that’s known as SAD – or the Standard American Diet – you start to realize that broccoli is actually really good, asparagus off the grill is amazing and avocado is good with anything).

Throughout all of this, I only ate natural food and used ZERO supplements including no vitamins or whey protein. Like I said – I didn’t want any excuses for why I couldn’t do this.  You don’t need to have a Whole Foods, GNC or anything else to make this work. You just need real food.

The Insider Secret: The main strategy in the entire diet program is cutting out sugar – which is incredibly difficult to do in today’s culture – where people are protesting over not being able to chug sugar-infused drinks over 16oz (seriously?). But if I had to attribute my success to one thing it would be to cutting sugar out of my diet.

The Workout Plan

I was sick of having excuses (and I’m good at making up excuses). I made excuses every time I didn’t want to work out.

  • I didn’t have the right machine.
  • I didn’t have access to a gym.
  • The gym was too far away

Whatever excuse you could think of – I made it. I B.S’ed myself with those excuses for the last 25 years – I was sick of them! I didn’t want a single excuse to get in the way of this goal.

I wanted my workout regime to be one that I could do anywhere in the world and have no excuse for NOT doing them. If I didn’t do a workout, it wasn’t going to be because I didn’t have the right piece of equipment or the right place to do it. It was going to be because I was simply too lazy to do my workout and there would be no excuse, no way for me to hide from that – even if I wanted to – and every time I looked myself in the mirror I would know it. It was on me.

As a result, we created a bodyweight circuit routine that required almost zero equipment. In fact, the only two items you need besides yourself are a pull-up bar (also  known as a tree branch, jungle gym bar or anything else you can pull yourself up on) and a jump rope which costs less than $10 and fits in your back pocket. Both pieces of equipment are optional (you can makeshift your own pull up bar and jump plenty on your own without a rope), so you can do all the workouts involved in the program even if you don’t have them.

As proof, here’s the complete list of exercises I did throughout the entire program:

  • Pushups
  • Burpees
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Jumping Lunges
  • Pullups
  • Body Rows
  • Plyometric Pushups
  • Sprint intervals
  • Jumprope intervals

That was it.

I couldn’t believe it either. Sure, I did ab exercises, but when I did, I didn’t need a special machine that was only 3 easy payments of $97.97 and had to purchase off a late-night TV commercial.  All bodyweight exercises were simply using our body where we focused on utilizing the core, and stabilization muscles and all direct ab workouts were sans-machine.

Throughout my workouts, I would do 3 rounds of the circuit workouts – keeping my reps the same  – but as I progressed, if I found that if things seemed to be getting easier, I would add another round to the set.

I worked out 6 days a week and all of my workouts were done in less than 30 minutes. I realized you don’t need a gym membership, 4 hours a day, or special machines bought from TV to get in ridiculously good shape. You just need your body, the right plan and the will to do it and be consistent.

The Results

In total, I lost 34 pounds in 8 weeks. That’s about 4.25 pounds/week. Most weeks I lost about ~5 pounds, except for week 3-4 where I an extraordinary amount of peanut butter and saw my weight loss plateau. After getting my butt kicked by Vic via Skype, I refocused, cleaned up my diet and finished out the rest of the weeks on a very strict diet.

Impossible Abs Transformation

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Impossible Abs Weight Lost

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34 pounds in 8 weeks in photo, chart and graph form #boom. Here’s my final weigh-in an hour before the shoot at 153.2 lbs & 5.4% body fat (InBody is 98% accurate).

Impossible Abs Final Weigh In

The Key Elements of Impossible Abs

This was one of the most intense impossible things I’ve done to date. When I started it, I actually thought it was impossible – I really did. I’d always been an athlete, and always worked out and never been able to get a six pack. In my mind – I couldn’t do it. In reality – it wasn’t that I couldn’t do it, it was that I didn’t know the right things to doI didn’t have a plan and I never committed to actually doing it – I just threw a bunch of “good advice” together and did it whenever I felt like it. Suffice it to say it didn’t work.

So what made me successful this time around? Here were my key elements to success with six pack abs:

Maintaining a Strict Diet

I was crazy strict on my diet. I have one of the worst sweet tooths imaginable. Like, I said, I’m like a 4 year old – I love candy – or at least I used to (it gives me a headache now). I know what it’s like to go through that sugar withdrawal, but I decided that getting in the shape that I really wanted was more important than eating 3 servings of desert that I thought I only kind of wanted. I cut back and I cut back hard.

Having a Coach and Partner

The initial money outlay was motivating for the first 3 days, but after I started doing it – I wanted to do it for me more than I wanted to not give money to Steve. However, having someone to vent to is important. I would email Vic whining about how tired I was and then 15 minutes later I would feel better, email him telling him to ignore said previous email and move on.

Tracking Weekly Progressions

Making myself take weekly photos meant that I could focus on seeing my progress on a weekly basis – rather than a daily one. This let me see actual progress without getting discouraged on day-to-day fluctuations and let me see improvements. The one week I didn’t see any weight loss was a kick in the pants to stop being lazy on my diet, flip a switch in my head and really get after it.

Believe You Can Do It

Most importantly, you have to believe it’s not impossible. With the right plan, coach and dedication, you can do anything you want. Because of that, we’ll be releasing Impossible Abs in the next few weeks in order to help you do just that. Whether you want to lose weight or get a six pack, you need to know that it’s possible if you follow the plan.

Impossible Abs Final

To be honest, I was pretty hesitant about actually doing anything with this case study and training program for a couple of reasons:

  1. The vanity metric in these posts is off the charts. I think I have more half-naked photos of myself than I know what to do with (seriously, the Spyr team sent me some 800 photos from our shoot – as in EIGHT HUNDRED. What am I going to do with all these?). If I ever tried to get a real job, the google image search of me is going to get me into trouble.
  2. The weight loss and six pack space online is notoriously evil for preying on people with “lose weight fast” and half-truths promises that prey on people looking for a quick and easy fix without actually making changes to their lives. I DON’T want to be in that camp.

But as I kept mulling over this program, I realized a few things:

  1. I don’t care about the vanity metrics. I used to be self-conscious about it, but I would have done this if no-one knew about the blog (like when I started) – or thousands of people were like they are now. I didn’t do this for anyone else besides myself.
  2. I realized that nothing is ever improved by avoiding it. If I stood around and talked about why the online fitness industry is terrible and they should do things differently, I would probably end up just standing around and talking while they continued to keep doing the same thing they always do. But, if I can provide a better alternative (that doesn’t make your skin crawl when you read a sales page) and engage the industry, I can change things. When you infiltrate a group, organization, or industry, you can force everyone else to raise their standards as well.

I’m tired of junk information being passed around and wasting people’s time and I don’t want to just let it keep happening. Yes, I did this in  8 weeks. Yes, it was fast, but it was not easy. You can have one or the other, but not both.

So that’s why we’re doing this. Six Pack Abs ≠ Impossible. It’s not easy, but they’re totally worth it. If I can do it – you can do it.

We’ll be releasing the full case-study and accompanying training program in the next few weeks. If you want to get “Impossible” Abs, sign up here.  

Impossible Abs is now Available here.

UPDATE: If you’d like to see better photos than the “mirror” shots here, you can see a selection of the photos from our shoot here, which gives a much better overall view of how I looked when I finished this program.

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  1. says

    Congrats on reaching your goal. That’s awesome. I like the way you incorporated the paleo regimen into your goal; proof once again that what we consume plays a huge in determining the overall look of our bodies.

      • Marcos Alvarez says

        you say that this was fast but NOT easy, but by what you said it seems very simple. Eat proteins, fruits, nuts, and vegetables and work out for less than half an hour a day. What makes it hard?

          • paul says

            i have been reading this book “running on air.” it taught me how to breath while running, a 14 day schedule. but it didn’t tell me everyone can stick to a plan. my own will to give up is the hardest thing i could lift..

    • Michelle Sumner says

      I am not a nutrition expert by any means. I was never “overweight” but never skinny either. I don’t like diets. I tend to crave, therefore eat much more while I am on a diet so have vowed NOT to diet. I live an active lifestyle and eat fairly healthy. I think. However, recently after minor neck surgery to remove a small tumor my lymph was accidentally cut leading to a “chyle leak”. That is the medical term and you can google it if you are curious, I am not a Dr. Only thing I know is that I was put on a non-fat diet to reduce the amount of chyle my body produced, thus mending my lymph. That said. My diet basically consisted of fruits, vegetables, beans (all natural and non-fat). I could eat chicken in moderation for protein. I was not exercising like normal since I had surgery (normally 6 to 7 hours per week). I lost 15 pounds in 6 weeks. My BMI went from 23.2 to 19.5. I am off the diet now but still losing about a pound per week. I am back to my normal exercise routine but eating like crazy. Again, I eat pretty healthy anyway, but everyone is asking how I lost so much weight so fast. It was definitely the diet!

  2. says


    This is super duper badass. The workout you described is really similar to what we do at Jiu Jitsu 3 days a week. We only workout for about 10 minutes though. I imagine that If I stepped up that other 20 minutes outside of class, I could get to where you’re at now.

    It’s really inspirational to read about your successes and how you stay on track.

    Good on you mate. I’m a big fan of your blog and I’m really glad you are putting good stuff out there.


      • saif says

        I want to make abs.I weight about 70kg and height 5.10 inches.Im running for half hour a day to lose my belly fat and nothing else.Should i start with crunches and resistance training or continue to lose fat and then go for making abs.reply im confused.

  3. says

    For some reason, I knew I wasn’t going to be surprised by what you were going to write this week. Like I said last week, I eat clean and you responded by saying that eating clean could have several definitions. I eat the exact same way you explained except I do use whey protein for one shake a day for one of my meals and one after I workout.

    We also do the same exact workouts. It looks like I need to seriously log my next few weeks to see what I could be doing wrong. Either that or I have a serious case of body dysmorphic disorder.

    Nonetheless, congrats to you again Joel on your commitment to something that seemed unattainable your whole life. You definitely should be pleased with your outcome.

  4. says

    For some reason, I knew I wasn’t going to be surprised by what you were going to write this week. In my comment from your last post I said I eat clean and you responded by saying that eating clean could have several definitions. I eat the exact same way you explained except I do use whey protein for one shake a day for one of my meals and one after I workout.

    We also do the same exact workouts. It looks like I need to seriously log my next few weeks to see what I could be doing wrong. Either that or I have a serious case of body dysmorphic disorder.

    Nonetheless, congrats to you again Joel on your commitment to something that seemed unattainable your whole life. You definitely should be pleased with your outcome.

    • says

      Without seeing your workouts numbers or nutrition logs I couldn’t tell you but my hunch would have to do with feeding window, intensity of your workouts and sprints.

  5. Benjamin says

    Amazing results, and thanks for sharing your recipe for success in such detail!

    Any advice on how you pushed through the sugar cravings or withdrawal effects, especially early on? Just thinking that my morning coffee(s) would probably be the hardest thing to give up. Is Splenda considered a sugar?

    • says

      Ha, sugar was the toughest part.

      I found replacement foods that I ate when I needed to “cheat.” Avocado, bacon and really dark chocolate were the things I indulged with when I needed a “fix.” But, I also knew that if I cheated, I would go completely rogue and ruin everything I worked for (I’m terrible at moderation), so that helped me – especially when I knew that I was only going to be doing this for 8 weeks.

      I’m actually devoting a whole section to this as it’s was one of the toughest parts of the program for me personally!

  6. says

    Joel, this is awesome! What a post to wake up to! :)

    I’ve been sitting behind the excuse of, “Once everything settles down from my moving house and divorce, I’ll join the local 24hr gym and get in shape.”

    This gives me much more motivation to want to get into shape than paying a gym membership will and will come with a much greater sense of pride and accomplishment.

    I’ll be coming from having more spare tyre than you but reckon that it won’t take much longer for me to get to where you’ve gotten!

    As someone that’s followed your stuff since you exploded online a few years ago, I’m really proud of everything you have and continue to achieve – you’re inspirational mate and I wanted to thank you for everything you bring to us all.

    Once I’ve cleared this with my neurosurgeon on Friday (unrelated, long story), let’s meet back here at the end of October, giving me an extra four weeks to work on my body. This will also be a great birthday present for myself to commit to on the 8th August – I turn 30 next year and would much rather start my 30s looking fit and healthy and nothing like I did through 2/3s of my 20s!

    Cheers mate, can’t wait for the emails to start and talk soon!
    Laneth Sffarlenn.

      • says

        So I’ve taken the plunge with a pt mate and starting this coming Saturday I’m doing the 12 Week Challenge at one of his gyms, with the paleo diet being a major part of their training regime.

        I know you said that this can all be achieved without the need for a gym, but it was always my intention to join this local gym and this way I am going to be locked into it. (I’m doing the guys website as payment, so I thought it was a fair exchange!)

        But, I wouldn’t probably have considered it if it weren’t for this post. I’m still looking forward to Impossible Abs, and will definitely be telling a bunch of people about it who are already interested.

        Thanks again for motivating me mate!

  7. says

    Congrats on achieving results Joel. However, I’ll throw up some words of dissent.

    I’d caution those reading to realize being in shape is not all about how you look. That is the problem with most of the body images being portrayed out there.

    You have six pack abs. You are looking good. But, It’s completely fine for people to get six-pack-abs, but for those out there, if you don’t have six-pack abs, all is not lost.

    You mention about the online fitness industry and what is wrong with it. Relying on having six pack abs and losing weight is exactly one of the problems. Instead of promoting overall fitness, we promote having a nice body for the beach.

    Being in shape >> how you look.

    • says

      Would it surprise you that I agree with you?

      I would say that appearance is a consequence of fitness (being fit usually looks good!). You’ll never hear me say getting “skinny” is the goal. I lost a ton of weight in a short period of time, but I was sure to maintain my strength throughout the program.

      Sure, there’s a vanity metric but it’s also a motivating factor for people. Once you discover you can get six pack abs, you realize you can start to do anything you set your mind to. It’s a vanity goal, sure, but it’s one that opens up a ton of other doors for people that they didn’t know they could do – and hopefully allow them to do other things (marathons, triathlons, mountain climbing, extreme sports), that they might not have been able to do while they were overweight.

      Also, for more stuff on this (vanity vs. fitness), Vic (the guy I’m writing the guide with) has a great post about it here that I think everyone should read.

    • Kathy Brown says

      Well said Ryan! This is not meant as a criticism of you Joel. What you have achieved is fantastic. But after what my daughter has gone through, I have to agree with Ryan.
      My youngest daughter is a very keen gymnast & works out like crazy. Since she took up gymnastics, I’ve also encouraged her to have a healthy diet, & she has pretty much taken that on board. At her first club there was a girl who had a very noticeable six-pack & loved showing it off. But it was genetic – she really didn’t work much at all & certainly wasn’t careful about what she ate. Hannah would get very discouraged as it didn’t seem to matter what she did or how hard she worked. That longed for six-pack eluded her. I tried to explain to her that, genetically she was never going to be a skinny minny like the other girl & that her six-pack was there, tho hidden under a thin layer of fat.
      Now sure, she could do like Joel has done & become even more careful about what she eats, & very likely she would achieve what he has. But she already makes such huge sacrifices in terms of time & effort in her training, & the work load makes her very hungry. And I know that, in terms of body condition, she is in great shape. Even after sustaining a horrific injury to her elbow at the end of last year, she still got the top score in her squad for strength & body conditioning in their recent testing.
      I know her six-pack is there, even though I can’t see it cos she couldn’t do the exercises she does if it wasn’t. So yeah, so long as the fat is minimal & she is still able to do all this extreme stuff, I don’t worry.

      • says

        It’s all about your goals. If you want to get a six pack – there’s a way you can do it. If you want to be a world-class gymnast, there’s another route and it’s probably not the same as a six pack regimen. There’s tons of different ways to be “in shape” and fit, but it all depends on what your personal goals are and what you want to get out of it.

    • Dana says

      Also, if you’re female, six-pack abs are probably not the best goal to aim for, not if you want kids someday. 5% bodyfat may work for a guy but is beyond unrealistic for us. That said, *stronger* abs are definitely a good thing, and a valuable goal to aim for. Saves your back in the long run, probably will make childbirth easier too if having kids is a goal for you.

      • says

        You don’t have to get to 5% body fat to get a six pack. There’s plenty of women who have a six pack at 12-15% body fat – everyone carries it differently.

  8. says

    Congratulations, Joel! Even looking at your starting photo I never would have guessed you’d lose 34 pounds. Where did you find the InBody to use?

    Also, lulz at Google Image Search. :)

    • says

      There was one at the gym my brother works at. BF % was never really a goal (I wanted to be under 10%), but I didn’t really expect to be at 5.4 – that was a nice surprise!

  9. says

    Wow. This is amazing. I think you deserve a whole cake. Yup, that’s how amazing this is. I’ve never been good with at home workouts, dvds, etc. I have a stationary bike that I put clothes on to prove it. However, I’ve been wanting to try the insanity workouts, only because I love Turbo Kick. But I have a feeling those dvds would only be collecting dust…just like my shake weight( I should really stop typing…). Going to a gym is preferred where I can take classes and be around real people. But I’ve been trying to find other ways I can be active as well like using the lakefront path. I have many excuses though and am trying to change that mentality. Anyway, you’re very inspiring and deserve something sweet, like cake. Just sayin’ .

  10. says

    You are seriously inspirational. I’ve been struggling with weightloss and exercise since an emergency neck rebuild two years ago. However, I’ve consistently maintained that bodyweight exercises are the answer. Thank you for posting.

    New “impossible” suggestion though… Joel cracks a smile? 😉

    You rock!

  11. says

    Kick-ass Joel! Back in 2001-2003 I spent several years teaching myself fitness (and commitment) and I transformed my body from a 233lb blob into a 160lb lean machine (photos on the page linked to my name above).

    That period of my life definitely set the foundation for my body now, but I’ve been struggling to get back to washboard ab-quality. Your post has definitely re-inspired me to focus on cleaning up my diet and adding a few body-weight exercises (I’m already running barefoot several days a week). Cheers!

  12. James Nash says

    Congratulations on your new 6 pack! I do not think that there was one thing that you wrote that I did not identify with. Mostly hating diets and lack of self control. Its true, diet is the way to a great six pack more than anything. Like you I would have preferred to train harder! These days I have a six pack too (though not as good as yours as I am sitting comfy at 175lbs) and I attribute that to cutting as much shit out of my diet as possible. I also do little if nothing in the way of situps although I do Crossfit type training once a week! I cannot imagine being 153 as I haven’t weighed that much since I was a gangly 18yo! Well done :)

  13. says

    What’s your plan for maintaining 6 pack abs?

    Will you continue a strict paleo diet?

    How will you scale back or modify your workout routine? Or will it remain the same?

    Looking forward to the new product.

    • says

      I’m scaling it back as I’m starting to train for a new goal, but I plan (early next year) on gaining 20-30 pounds of muscle and doing it all over again :).

  14. says

    Great post, Joel. Your point about sugar strikes home. I started reading labels a couple of weeks ago and am surprised by how many items include added sugar. For example, this past Saturday, I grabbed a small tin of peanut butter at a hotel breakfast bar to put on an apple. Fortunately I read the label in advance of opening the tin and found the ingredients – “peanuts, sugar, salt.” In other words, it was peanut butter + sugar, which I didn’t want.

  15. Matt says

    Wow, great stuff! I’m hoping to pull off something like that. I’ve been trying to get rid of my beer belly for months and develop my abs. Once again, awesome job Joel!

    • says

      According to the picture, the machine says he is 6’2. Considering I’m 5’10 and floating around 190-195, this whole post motivated me to sort myself out.

      • says

        I dropped to 153 for the shoot. I don’t maintain at 153 though. This is something I’ll be addressing in an FAQ session coming up. Weight is a metric, but body composition, look and “how you feel” at different weights is more important than being a certain weight for your height.

  16. Indrek says

    Did you by chance measure your body temperature while you were doing the diet and exercise? I’m guessing it’s going to be lower.

    Losing 34 pounds and washboard abs is pretty easy. Doing the same thing while maintaining your metabolism (=mood, energy, sex drive, energy for cellular processes, etc) is very difficult.

    Have you noticed any changes in mood or sex drive or body temp? I guess if it were winter, you’d notice it a bit more :)

    But congrats on actually doing it!

  17. Jay says

    Dear Joel,

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    With that little fat, you weight pretty light. May I ask how tall you are?

    I myself am pushing 6’2″ and I currently weigh 173 pounds.

    I have this feeling that a guy my length shouldn’t go below 155 pounds.

    At one time… I *did* weigh 155 pounds and I had a whole inch of bellyfat. I wasn’t even close to a six pack. I never have been, unfortunately.

    So I’m having a fight with myself over this.

    What if, the next time I reach 155 pounds, I’ll still have that very same inch of belly fat just like the last time??!

    (The reason I think I have a chance of looking better the next time I hit 155, is because this time my workouts are focused on resistance training… whereas the previous time I had accomplished that weight with cardio training.)

    Am I seriously supposed to keep burning fat and pushing my bodyweight to the 140’s ?

    I don’t mind the effort, I’m just worried about my health!!!

    • says

      I’m 6’2″ too!

      I think 153 is definitely an extreme and it was great for the shoot – but I wouldn’t try to stabilize there. For my next challenge (next spring), I’m going to gain about 30 pounds and stabilize around 175-180 and 6-7%.

      As for yourself – I’d focus on your body composition over absolute weight. With the right combination of high intensity training, you should be able to see measured results without getting all the way down to 153, but it all depends on how your body type holds the weight.

      • Jay says

        Thanks for the comment Joel.

        At 187 pounds, I am much fatter than you!

        I will probably have to go below 155. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it, which will be 2 months from now at the current rate.

  18. William Dulitz says

    Congrats on breaking the impossible…again!

    My question is, did you ever feel tired or lethargic with your body fat down around 6%? I am finding that when my scale says I’m below 10%, I’m very lethargic, or my athletic performance is suffering.

    It may just be that I lost weight too fast, or didn’t get enough to eat, but I was just wondering what you experienced.

    • says

      5.4% was definitely low and there were times I’d get a bit cranky – but when I was right around 6-7% I actually felt pretty good :) (Anytime I did feel a little slow, I’d try to eat some healthy fats – avocado, coconut, etc).

      • William Dulitz says

        Awesome, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t too far off base. Maybe I can go a little lower…in a healthy way.

        I just have poor excuses on the exercise front right now, I’m rectifying that situation tonight.

  19. Mike D says

    Excellent – you did the highly effective Dave Palumbo style diet…kind of. You most likely didn’t intake enough protein and tried to cram too much workout into 30-min a day (which means your increasing your heart rate to a level in which you’re cannibalizing muscle mass).

    To anyone following this, I would recommend googling “Dave Palumbo” and reading up on the “proper” way to do the diet and exercise. I put “proper” in quotes because this post doesn’t necessarily a bad way to lose weight if you are in a hurry and don’t mind losing strength at the same time…but if you want to be cut and have a bit of muscle to show for it, it takes a bit more work than this.

    To the blogger – nice abs…now I would google the “Neanderthal no more” workout routine and get your posture straightened out as we unfortunately don’t live in a 2-dimensional world where everyone only see’s us from the front. Your workout routine was way too front heavy and over time you’ll worsen your posture more and more.

    • says

      Hi Mike,

      Sorry, your comment got auto-marked as “spam.”

      I haven’t posted my nutrition logs yet, but I can assure you I ate PLENTY of protein. And, while those were all the exercises, I did. I didn’t do them all every day (there’s a difference between actual exercises (the individual movements) and workout routines (the combination of the exercises done each day)). I wasn’t rushing to fit them all in – and actually most were done in 20 minutes – but I said 30 because there were sometimes I threw a few rounds of jump ropes in at the end. And, I’m while I lost quite a bit of weight, I actually maintained strength throughout the workouts (I’ll have my workout logs up available with the program).

      The primary goals for this program were:

        Fat loss
        Maintaining strength
        Get a six pack

      And, I wanted to do it all with bodyweight exercises (so I didn’t have “no access to a gym” as an excuse).

      I did all 3 of those, so while I appreciate your comment, you’re making a lot of (wrong) assumptions up front without knowing or asking the full story :). My posture is quite good I think and if you’d like to see more photos of me, we did a full six pack photoshoot here. Similarly, There are LOTS of ways to “eat properly” and telling people the “proper” way to do something without asking their goals or motivations is like telling somebody how to cross the country without asking them where they want to go. There’s lots of ways to do it – but it depends on what they want to do.

      I’m not saying I’m a guru or a know-it-all. I’m a regular guy with a specific set of goals (as stated above), and I feel like I achieved them all. But, if people want to do the same thing I did, then I can certainly share my experience in an effort to help them get their goals. Thanks for your comment!

    • buddhadu says

      first of all, great work joel.

      @ mike D. you are either an internet troll or just simply like to bash on people’s success in a slight of hand compliment. i’m not sure how you determine that it is too front heavy of an exercise routine. or where the silliness of cannibalism of muscle can occur with an elevated heartrate. i really like to hear this.

      the bodyweight program Joel used is perfectly fine. there is an equal ratio of pressing movement(push up + plyo push up) to pulling movement (bodyrows + pullups) so there wouldn’t be any imbalance. you can technically say it is a 3:2 ratio if you include the burpees as a pressing movement. those exercises are universally renowned as the best compound bodyweight movements anybody can do for the front and back muscle development

      what would be cool to do also is add in some handstand push-ups for shoulder development

      just want to clarify a few things so there isn’t any misinformation being passed on

      again, nice work Joel and keep up the informative and inspiration bloggin

  20. says

    This is straight up bad a$$ man. How you broke it down, and your honesty in your approach was very inspiring.

    I see a lot of crap out there about “get a six pack in no time” “blah blah blah”. But this was more inspiring because you told the truth.

    This may have been brought up in the comments already but have you thought about making the exact routine in a PDF and offering it to subscribes. I for one, would definitely like it :). I am sure I am not alone in this one.

    Congrats.. Now the question (and maybe a future post I hope) is how do you maintain it?

    • says

      There’s going to a be a product out here soon, but I’m going to try very hard to keep everything honest and transparent.

      I’ll have some more details out for free over the next few weeks so people can see exactly what I did.

  21. says

    My favorite part is that you started with cold shower therapy- losing weight and toning doesn’t have to mean just changing diet and exercising (though that’s the majority of it) it also includes certain traditions, activities, certainty anchors- whatever you want to call it- rituals around holistically staying healthy is crucial for success. Congrats Joel!

  22. says

    I am so inspired by this. I want to do my own experiment. It’s got me so motivated to get abs in 8 weeks! Thank you for the inspiration.

  23. Dave says

    Hi Joel,

    7#/week is incredible.

    You didn’t feel tired at all when limiting your carbs? Tired during the day or fatigued during workouts?
    I find what used to be a simple/moderate work out has become a moderate/difficult work out.

    How many grams of carbs and calories per day did you typically consume?



    • says

      I had a carb crash the first/second week, but after that my energy levels stabilized and I felt pretty good eating large quantities of meats, vegetables and healthy fats.

      I’m not sure on my exact carb intake, but it was pretty close to nothing the last 5 weeks. The carbs that were in vegetables were mostly the only ones I had. No grains/sugars directly though.

  24. says

    That’s an incredible feat! I’m looking to lose potentially up to 30 pounds over the course of 3 months. I’ve gained most of this since I started blogging. My plan has been to eliminate certain foods, eat in moderation and exercise daily. This post really inspired me!

  25. Grace says

    I love candy and cakes and cupcakes. I laughed out loud when I read 4 year olds are embarrassed of you. I have a bigger sweet tooth than my little brother!

    This is the toughest thing for me. I don’t mind dieting, and I actually like exercising but I find it extremely difficult to give up sugar.

    I read in the comments that you will go more in to depth on this section. I can’t wait to read it!

  26. Matt says

    Paleo will change your life… I’ve been on a paleo diet for a few months and it’s incredible. I just tell me friends I don’t eat anything out of a box (no processed food).

    I’ve read a few posts about paleo “experimenters” and one thing they never talk about is ketosis, and how awesome it is (google it). tons of energy, less anxiety, and a clear mind. You know in your ketosis when it tastes like you have tin foil in your mouth.

    Next test… paleo diet + more protein (grams = body weight lbs) + 1 30 minute weekly workout (super intense).

    You will be amazed that basically everything you are told about diet and exercise is wrong.

    great blog for paleo diet recipes: http://marksdailyapple.com

  27. says

    Hi Joel! Congrats on looking amazing. Lol! I’m new to this and decided to take on the challenge. Not just for weight loss but a healthier lifestyle. I attempted to read all of the comments and your answer to them, but i don’t think i saw the answers to a couple of questions i have, so i will ask them now. 1. In the Paleo diet, i noticed tomato wasn’t listed in the fruits you can or can’t eat. Do you know if they are acceptable in this diet? I really like tomatoes. 2. I’m a tea drinker and sometimes i will drink black coffee or espresso. Caffeine wasn’t listed in the Paleo diet either. Is it a Yay or a no no? 3. Last but not least, are you allowed to season your meats as long as they are not salty? Sorry for so many questions. I’m eager to start but i want to do it right. Thanks Joel. :)

    • says

      1. Tomatoes are fine :).
      2. Black coffee is perfectly fine. It’s the sugar and sweeteners that make it terrible for you.
      3. As a rule: dry rubs and seasoning is great. Sauces are okay, but they tend to have lots of sugar and high fructose corn syrup in them (especially the store bought stuff), so I’d stay away from them.

  28. says

    Despite the fact that I am a personal trainer and do indeed work for a gym, I am going to repost this on our facebook page.

    So important for all of our clients to see how important the diet aspect is for body recomposition success!

    I’m documenting my own weight loss journey – though definitely not as strict as yours as I have a few caveats in my experiment – but this was certainly good inspiration for me!

    Do you plan on sticking to the Paleo-style diet? What are your intentions from here on out?

    • says

      I’m going to maintain for a bit, but I’ve got a few long-distance endurance challenges coming up – so the 6 pack won’t be my exclusive goal to maintain. Then, this winter, I want to gain about 20-30 pounds of muscle and do it all again!

  29. Steve says

    I just read the article. Great job Joel! First of all you didn’t look (and probably weren’t) over weight at all. 187 at 6’2 is definitely not over weight. I for one would love to be 187 and I’m only 6′. But I get that is not what your saying in the article. I think some people are reading too much into it. The point is people…..quit making excuses, if you eat right and exersize you can get in better shape and hopefully be healthier. Joels goal happen to be to get six pack abs, and he proved that with the right commitment it can be done. That’s not to say six pack abs has to everyones goal, just a strong commitment to being healthy. Great job Joel!

    • says

      It depends on what you mean by “overweight.” I can definitely weight 187 and be lean and muscular, but I wasn’t either of those there. I could feel myself letting go and wanted to change things. Weight is the easiest metric to track, but not always the best metric to track. It’s more important that you look and feel healthy and are able to do the things you want to be able to do.

  30. Michele says

    I am 53 years old, probably old enough to be your mother so listen to me when I tell you to 1) smile, you look miserable (if you were a woman, you’d be one of those ghastly skinny assed long-faced models); and 2) gently add some whole grains into your diet if you want to eat like this for the long haul. I have been a serious runner for 35 years and now complete a half marathon a month. I eat clean and keep my weight below 120. To be lean and strong for the long haul, I believe one has to learn moderation which means once or twice a week, have that gin & tonic or piece of cake. I celebrate the joy of my body in motion and fuel it accordingly.


    • John says

      I don’t want to open the “no-grain” can of worms here, but a lot of people are not tolerant to grains and I am finding out more and more, for myself, that I have much more energy and strength for runs when I eat Paleo rather than the idea of fueling with grains. I believe fueling with more protein, fat, and carbs from vegetables or fruit is so much better for you anyway. I run between 80 and 120 miles per month, follow the Paleo diet and I have never had this much energy and strength before.

      Great article Joel. I want to do more core training and your list of exercises look pretty complete.

  31. John says

    Joel, I’d love to know how well you are maintaining? I don’t mind eating Paleo and I am actually trying what you did…strict Paleo…but just for two weeks. However, I wonder how long I could keep it up lol. I usually eat a loose Paleo Diet: I allow cheese and protein bars but i have a cheat meal once a week.

    Anyway…how are you doing with maintaining?

  32. Bathes in Milk says

    Wow. Good job. The sugar would be the hardest for me – I have an exercise from belly dance that produces six pack abs on 15 minutes a day! I salute you!

  33. says

    Joel: Congrats. Wow. You are amazing. And, your program sounds great, makes complete sense, and if it’s repeatable, well, others will have six pack abs in 8, 12, 16, 20 weeks like you (I think the number of weeks depends on how hidden your abs are by unnecessary fat).

    So, I’m in change mode now. Making other bigs changes and am ready to get those abs you now posses on my own body. And, I think the best way to do it will be to document it for the world (okay, maybe not the world, but my 5,000 strong Facebook world) to see. That ought to be a great way to keep me honest and motivated.

    Do you think you’d be up for keeping tabs on several of your readers and their progress. I’d make an excellent case study — especially when I succeed.

    Ideas. Thoughts?

    Scott :)

  34. Michelle says

    Hmm… Definitely curious about the “paleo” thing now. I’ve been toying with the idea of going on a low-candida diet for some time, but the severity makes me question my ability to stick it out. I’m not a candy fiend by any stretch, but the thought of cutting back on natural sugars (e.g. in fruit) sounds brutal. You mentioned eating meat on your plan, so I’m wondering what a pesco-ovo-lactarian like myself would do. I guess eggs and fish would still work (though I’m trying to cut fish out more and more). Hopefully tofu would be acceptable. Anyway, food for thought. Bad pun intended. Congrats on reaching your goal – I’m new to your site, so I have lots of good reading ahead.

  35. Jensen says

    Nice work on completing your goals. I have a very different body type (5’11″/220) and goals (competitive powerlifting) but I love your approach. I also train athletes for sports performance and plan on sharing this with them. I’m looking forward to hearing the story of your next round of this with 20-30lbs more muscle. Have you considered setting any strength related goals? I think for your size, a 405lbs deadlift would be a difficult but achievable goal. In any case, cheers for the accomplishment and thanks for posting the process in detail. It will definitely be shared and used to help others.

  36. Vangile Makwakwa says

    I love this post. I have learned that having a routine is the best way to go to gymn and train, having a set time to eat and train teaches your mind and your body that that’s what you do a that time. I am a runner and have no problems just running for 10 miles furst thing in the morning but gymn is not my favorite thing but I definitely want to develop my ab muscles so I’m gonna use some of your tips and see what happens.

    • says

      While I tracked all the food I ate, I didn’t count carbs/calories the entire time. Most of the carbs I did eat were from vegetables so it’s pretty hard to actually get any sort of a high carb count at all doing that.

      If you’re counting, you can be pretty sure to lose weight eating between 50-100 grams/day of carbs, but I find counting is too much work so I focus on the foods that I can eat and just cut out the rest.

  37. Jan says

    Fantastic! This inspired me heaps!! I was waiting for the link to some product that you were selling….

    Thank you!!

      • Vinay says

        Hi Joel,
        Amazing work! I am on my planning stage for something similar. Looking around for stuff i can use and this is most fitting one. being a student, i couldnt afford a gym or those huge work out instruments, so glad i read your blog.. Look forward to your future blogs.
        Happy workouts, happy blogging !


        (PS: I have been trying subscribe for the impossibleabs thing, seems like the subscribe button link is down, please do check. Also if you could give me your email id I have some questions to ask you if you dont mind me asking.. would you share your email id?)

  38. Matt says

    Congrats on your transformation. I’ve been lazy about getting back into shape and the simple nature of this program has me inspired. I lost about 40lbs a few years ago (took me a lot longer than 8 weeks though) and I’ve probably re-added about 3/4 of that. I’d like to get back to the grind.

    Couple questions:

    Did you use any kind of (healthier) sauces
    (hot sauce, soy sauce, vinaigrette on salad, etc) or spices on your foods at all?

    What kind of portions of meat and vegetables were you eating in an average meal? Also, how much fruit did you eat on a daily basis?

    Appreciate the info…I’m looking forward to getting started.

  39. Benny says

    Hi & congrats!

    I wonder though: You were looking good before – why did you torture yourself? For vanity? To be a Man’s Health cover boy? For your spouse?
    Come on – what’s really behind it? 😉

  40. Rahul Sakhardande says

    Gonna start the Paleo diet from october. Totally strict, no nuts & fruits as you suggested.

    Doing the “Ketogenic” diet for the last 2 years. Started @ 271 pounds, now 233 pounds (@ 18% body fat, started with 27%). But looks like i’ve plateaued out. Not losing fat as fast, as i did.

    Lets see how i progress. I’m 6.5 ft tall and want to come down to 210 pounds with 10-11% body fat….

    Rahul Sakhardande

  41. gaybodgulator says

    Sounds about right to me.

    Easy – eh?

    If you’re vaguely interested I blogged about easy weight loss recently – google it.

    If not, that’s cool.

  42. Christian says

    Hey, I don’t usually, actually never, comment on blogs, but I am really interested in your opinion about my issue. I would be very pleased if I got an answer. :)

    I am 70kg and 15% body fat. I am doing fitnes 4 or 5 times a week for about an hour with weights and +-25min of cardio. I go to work everyday with bike, its about 8km in one direction, and I am doing kind of soft paleo diet. For breakfast I have unprocessed muesli with milk and fresh fruit. Rest of the meals (3 or 4 a day usually, unfortunately – how important is having 6 meals instead of 3-4?) are fish, meat and vegetables.

    First of all I would like to know what do you think about unprocessed muesli and 3-4 meals instead of 6. Is it a very big drawback towards my goals? My priority is losing the body fat (waist, hips, chest – BIG PROBLEM, its just so damn ugly) and adding some more muscles wouldn’t hurt.

    Another question, what do you think about alcohol?

    I go out about 1 or 2 times a week with my friends and we get pretty drunk (we are talking about 0.3l of 40% alcohol each plus juices to mix with and after the night is done we grab a donnerkebab – i think we add about 1.5k kcal, but we usually also dance all night and walk miles so.. I don’t know).

    The fact is I am not seeing the results I want and it gets harder and harder to go on. I want to know if I am too lazy / not doing hard enough, or alcohol / muesli in the morning are hurting my progress so much? What do you think?

    Thanks in advance. :)

    And ofcourse congrats for six pack, well done.

    • says

      Hey Christian,

      It’s hard to say without knowing your height, but the two easy fixes if you wanted to focus in on this for 8 weeks would be
      1. Cut the alcohol. It’s not bad once you get where you want to be, but it’s hindering your progress in the meantime.
      2. Cut the muesli/breakfast in general. I recommend people skip breakfast in general. I’d also be careful about how much fruit exactly you’re eating (you may be surprised). Try subbing some of that out for some vegetables.

      Also, with the donner kebab (gyro), try just getting the meat rather than the whole thing. The meat is generally lean and filling but you can skip out on the pita bread and sauce and that should help.

      If it sounds harsh, remember, it’s a lot easier to maintain once you get to where you want to be than it is to get there.

      Getting there is hard, so take 8 weeks, focus in, get after it and then maintain from there. Good luck.

  43. Anthony espitia says

    Im 14 going on 15 I’ve been wanting to have six pack abs for as long as I could remember when I was little like 10 or 11 I was a fat kid like I looked a little prego with my shirts sticking out to but so many people clowned on me so I became athletic and lost the fat but when I got into good shape like real good I let loose for some reason. But im in a healthy relationship and my girlfriend left to Florida with her family and she isn’t coming back for another 2 months and I thought to myself I should get into six pack shape for when she comes back cause I still feel like im not good looking enough for her and I was wondering if you could email me some tips in your spare time greatly appreciated thank you

  44. JC Baca says

    Writing form Mexico.
    This past January I wasn’t on shape and had a big belly. I thought I was thin, until a friend of mine told me the truth. Then I started looking for a way to loose all that. I lived a process like yours.
    I found Paleo diet on the web, tried it and just love it. Also I started to workout at home (everyday): 20 mins. for cardio, 15 mins. for weights and 10 mins. for abs. There was no coach, only my own goals.
    I started on January 27th. By March 5th I was thin. By April 1st I got that male model chiseled body. And by May I was actually the best.
    I started college now, and can’t excercise as I’d like to… but there’s something just good, I’m not gaining any weight while eating paleo.
    I’d like to open a blog like yours, here in Mexico people need this truth to be known.
    Keep on improving. There are no impossibles!!
    JC Baca

  45. Bob in AK says


    Your story has re-energized me to lose some weight. I followed a high protein diet a few years ago while training for a marathon. I never felt better. Unfortunately I slowly reverted to more and more crappy carbs and now I’m 15 lbs above my race weight. Starting today it’s back to healthy eating and a new goal for my running. Thanks for the inspiration !


  46. Lavanya says

    Hey Joel! :):) It really feels good for me to come across your blog. I just love.. love… and love this blog and also you 😉 OMG! You are the true inspiration to me. I am a female with 5’6″ weighing 52. You know my tummy is the worst area to get toned. I have lot of skin there. I do exercises with weights and even crunches with weights. I do get some sort of muscles in the upper half of abs, though the lower part of abs is so stubborn to lose fat. I heard it’s good to do cardio along with weight training. But I tend to lose weight with cardio. I don’t have much fat on lower part of my body. My arms are toned and I have perfect shoulders. I totally avoid sugar. I drink protein shake with 2 full eggs a day. I cut off carbs to the highest extent possible. Is it okay if I do only weight training for abs? Please help us by posting a diet blog. If you have one, you can help me with that by posting the link here. I’ll be so happy if you help me and inspire me to achieve six pack abs like you 😉

  47. Benn Archer says

    This has been the best thing on achieving abs I’ve ever read. It’s something everyone can relate to! Because everyone is bone idle, it’s human nature! I’ll follow this routine to the bone! thank you so much!

  48. Mitch Williams says

    Great job Joel! You’ve have fully inspired me with your story! I have just a question, when you say you ” Cut out all sugars” do you also cut out not eating a certain type of bread with 3g sugar or is that still okay? I sit here thinking and eating my 15 whole grain egg white and onion breakfast sandwich and thinking if it’s okay.

  49. Dennis sansders says

    Can you email me telling can I actually get. A 6pack in 8 weeks cuz im going to Florida in around that much time thnx

  50. Jan says

    Amazing stuff mate. THANKS!

    One question: I am reading a lot of great stuff about herbs and spices like tumeric, ginger, garlic etc and wonder if you believe adding this to your meals would hinder weight loss?

    Also “real” paleo dishes like thai curry (veggies, chicken, coconut milk and spices) seem to be wholesome and healthy right? Would this hinder weight loss at all?

    Thanks man,


  51. Mitch Williams says

    Is it still okay to cut all refined processed sugars out of my diet but still have fruit? I know you cut some fruits out as well but would I have to in order to get this goal in 8 weeks?

  52. Mitch Williams says

    I’ve been feeling fantastic Joel, This is my second week doing your program and I just feel so much energized every day. I eat a lot of steamed chicken sometimes beef but not alot. I have a quick question though, I love to eat fruit, is it okay to eat pineapple and kiwi and tropical fruits? I am also doing the Paleo diet as well and it has been going just great!

  53. Jones says

    I love what your blog is about. And every year I tell myself I’m going to get abs, but I always make up excuses after about a week or two of training and eating right. I hope I can stay inspired and if you have any advice id love to hear it. :)

  54. Daniel says

    I really respect the dedication that you had for reaching this goal man. A lot of people dont realize that the intensity of their goal (get shredded, get big etc. In x weeks) is directly related to the amount of effort needed to succeed.

    That said, Im surprised all the comments are overwhelmingly positive. You didnt look like you had 30lbs of fat to lose in the before picture, where a six pack is still lightly visible. Since 10% of a 190 lb person is about 20 lbs, and you look like you were on the lower end of 15-20% bodyfat (the point at which most males can lightly see abs) in the before, one has to assume 5-10 lbs of the weight cut was muscle. Which is kind of huge.

    The minnesota experiment confirms that in active individuals, hard calorie reduction leads to muscle wasting once bodyfat reserves are mostly depleted.

    Having a pretty intense personality myself, I can understand how you may not have been willing to settle for a slower cut. Even
    without knowing calories in, and how much you exercised though my guess is most people would be a lot better off losing 1 or 2 lbs per week at that level of fitness and focusing on muscle gain or preservation. In this case a 10 – 12 week program with 0 muscle loss.

    • says

      Good comment Daniel.

      Thanks for the well-thought-out comment. I’ll try to answer you questions as best I can.

      At my start, I would have pegged myself at 18% (we usually tend to underestimate bf %) which is about 33.5 pounds of fat. At the end, I finished at 5.5% at 153 is 8.4 pounds of fat.

      That’s about 25.1 pounds of fat lost out of a total 34 pound drop. If the last 8-9 pounds missing was muscle, you’re right, I’d be worried.

      However, throughout the last week and photo shoot prep, I lost about 8 pounds in just water weight (161 to 153). It’s a pretty typical dehydration protocol for the photo shoot and we cover that pretty extensively in the guide (hacking the photo shoot) designed to make your definition pop for an event, fitness show or photo shoot but that would account for the additional weight loss. We talk about this pretty openly throughout other posts on the site & in the guide.

      Throughout the regime, I *might* have sacrificed a pound or two of muscle, but if anything, throughout the entire program I got stronger (which is a testament to how “out in shape/skinny-fat” I was to start).

      If I had to do it all over again, I would have definitely wanted to have more muscle on me to start, but this is primarily designed as a fat loss protocol and I wanted to show that the extremes of what you can do. So many people say “I just can’t do it” and that’s simply not true. I try to use myself as a guinea pig to show what you really can do in 8 weeks if you just put your mind to it and stick to the program.

      Now, a lot of guys want to gain size and I’ve straight up told people not to consider this if their concern is bulking up (we’re working on that protocol as we speak), but if they want to burn fat, it’s a dead simple way to do so (especially for people with 15+ pounds to lose).

      Thanks for the great comment – let me know if you have any other questions.

  55. sebastian says

    Hi i am a 15 year boy,and i try to lose weight.I go to the gym 4 times a week,got a diet(like you did,i really try to eliminate sugar,no sugar for like a week)and i do to some exercise like the one you said every day i dont go to gym.What do you think can i lose weight?:D

      • Sheila Goins says


        I am totally inspired. 4 yrs ago I was well over 50lbs overweight and had no clue of what is was to be fit. I had never walked into a weight room and was very intimidated by it. Nonetheless, I made excuses for remaining overweight for yrs! Thanks for your story. I am 47yrs old and in the best shape of my life both physicially and mentally all because, like you said, I committed. Life happens still, but, when we do our best to control our destiny by committing to be better because of OURSELVES, this can be achieved without gimics or gym membership. Although, I am now familiar with the weight room, I clearly know that I am not limited to a room, when I have normal everyday elements that can aid me in my success to remain healthy! Great job…have you maintained?

  56. James says

    LOL at 5% body fat. Its nearly impossible to get to 5% body fat without using steroids, have you actually seen what 5% body fat looks like? I’d say you are 10% in that photo, no where near 5%.

  57. Soosh Amin says

    Dude, this is probably the most inspirational and motivating thing I have read concerning abs. I’ve been struggling hard with them myself, and everytime I look in the mirror It hits me that… It’s my fault that I’m not there yet. I’m a vegetarian so getting enough protein is difficult for me. I’m a very skinny guy, I’m 5’7 maybe 130 max. I am on a strict whole food diet but still take in a little sugar and flour which I will be cutting completely out free reading this. What kills me is how I can work out daily, walk 4-5 miles daily, eat right, and still not have the abs I desire. Maybe I’m just not pushing it like I should and after reading your article I’m going to push myself even further andreach myself discipline for sugar and flour. No more sugar, not even in my tea!!!

    Thank you!

  58. jason says

    So your doing just those exercises, 6 days a week? what about resting between days? I am going to try to incorporate some of what I read in your blog, it is pretty interesting and congrats on the progress.

  59. Eliza says

    When you started to see results did your digestive system speed up too? Ive been working out more frequently and eating clean but I still get constipated a lot. (sorry if this is awkward lol)

  60. Arup says


    Can you outline exactly the workout you followed with those exercises?

    Congratulations, this is impressive.


  61. Jared says

    Hey Joel I was jut wondering where I can get your workout? I would love to have it I have been doing one at hasfit.com and it’s working great but I want one that lasts longer than 30 days

  62. Thiru says

    Hey Joel,
    I like your stuff mate and I’ve brought the Impossible Abs worksheets and stuff.m I’m thinking about doing coaching with you but first, I wanted to ask you a question.

    I know that in the Paleo diet you put people on, your allowed to eat basically meat, eggs, vegetables, some fruits, and most nuts. However, you state that when you did it, you basically only ate meat and vegetables and eggs. Is this true? So this is basically the PSMF diet (Protein Saturated Modified Fast) with eggs for your fats. Do you have a log of what you ate to be able to show us?

    I want to add in fruits and nuts to my diet but I’m worried that if I do I won’t loose fat as fast as you did (and I do want to loose fat quite fast).

    Look forward to your response (please feel free to email me : t_varangan@hotmail.com )

    • says

      Hey Thiru

      Yup – in the guide – I keep a log of exactly what I ate.

      It includes fruits & nuts – although mostly low-glycemic fruits (berries, apples, etc).Let me know if that makes sense.

      • Thiru says

        Hi Joel,
        Thanks for your reply. Was wondering where I can get a copy of your log from? I brought your program back in February but it was the Training version (not the Challenge one). Does it contain it in this version?

        I think I could really benefit from having a copy of your food log as you’ve obviously lost a load of weight in such a short amount of time, and I would like to try attempting the same.

        Thanks a lot again mate (and please ignore my below repeated post as I hadn’t realised you’d replied already here)…


  63. Thiru says

    Hi Joel,
    It’s been very interesting for me reading your website. I am specifically interested in the diet you followed which you say was basically meat, vegetables, and eggs. You say you didn’t eat much fruit or nuts either. Did you do this quite strictly for the whole time.

    This diet actually sounds like the PSMF diet but with eggs added on for a bit of fat which is fair enough.

    Do you have a diet log for this period which I could look at at all…

    Thanks a lot Joel for your help,


  64. Ryan says

    Hey Joel,
    I really like your blog here mate. I’m thinking of buying the Challenge version of your product…could you tell me what the Original Case Study, and Hacking the Photo Shoot contain as I’m a bit confused….



  65. Eyleen says

    Hi Joel!
    Thanks for sharing your story. You are such a big inspiration for me. I would be pleased if you read this.
    My weight loss story starts in my childhood. I was ten when I developed bad eating habits like eating a lot of candy. Maybe it was a side effect of puberty. I was one those girls that had their first period at ten. I really regret it. Food has become a way for me to comfort myself and to manage stress. At the age of twelve I’ve started my first diet. I weighed 54 kg and my height was/is 1,74m. That was a healthy weight but I didn’t understand that. All I saw was the other kids at school whose bodies were bodies of kids. I had the body of a woman and I didn’t want it. I didn’t like it to have breasts or my period or pimples. I didn’t understand why I didn’t fit in my pants anymore. Of course it’s obvious to me now: Girls get a larger pelvis becoming a woman. I used to be a shy but a good girl. I was bullied at school at that time. I’ve been bullied for years. I felt like a failure. I had those thoughts. I wanted to end it all by jumping off a cliff. Luckily I’ve recognized that there are people who love me the way I was: My parents, my little sister, three of my cousins and my best friend. One of my cousins has played the most important role. We’ve started to see each other more often to go inline skating. Later on, we also went jogging. I was becoming stricter and stricter with my diet. I’ve stopped eating candy. I starved myself. I punished myself with excessive sports. I wanted to be perfect.
    This year, I’ve tried the paleo diet. I’ve failed because I didn’t allow myself to eat enough fat and protein. I’ve lost seven kilograms but there was something wrong with my period and I had those awful cravings and binges. Overeating has become a habit for me and I’m going to break it now. I’ve learned that nobody is perfect and that perfection cannot be reached.
    When I was 15 I‘ve started to dance one of the most challenging and most impressive dances: B-boying. To be honest, I didn’t think that I, a loser at the subject PE, could become a good dancer but I practiced hard, learning from tutorials from youtube. I’ve trained with younger b-boys since March and I’m better than most of them, although I’ve started later. Our trainer says that I’m the best one at certain things. He’s about seven years older than me and an immigrant from Russia, who has come here (to Germany) when he was 14 years old. He has got a cute accent and he is the German vice-champion in b-boying. He is an amazing trainer. He has helped me to get over me fear of doing handstands for example.
    Now I want to do it the right way. I want to eat healthy so that my body works better for b-boying. I do not want to be perfect but uncovering my six pack abs would be cool. I want to feel well in my body and dance because I love it not because I want to burn off those extra calories. I’m doing this for me.
    I used to sleep in a fetal position but now it has become uncomfortable. I’m not overweight yet but if I continue overeating/emotional eating/binge eating I will be overweight in no time. I’ve been gaining weight since September. Now, I ‘m at the point when I’ve started in February: 63 kg. If I gain more weight, I’ll have to buy new clothes.
    Joel, you give me hope. This is my last attempt to find a weight I feel comfortable with without using a scale and to stop overeating. I will try my best.

  66. Ian says

    Amazing work Joel. It’s odd that you managed to have almost the exact same body fat amount before you started the programme as I do at the moment. I’ve got the same mindset as you at the moment also. I’ve been doing a few workouts here an there but my diets still awful, despite my insane metabolism, and I think this is stopping any form of weight/fat loss. I’ll definitely be taking your experience into account when I finally have the time to get that definition. Thanks a lot for sharing your story in such depth; it’s going to really help me in the near future.

  67. yathav priyan says

    it’s really incredibly motivational and easy to follow. anyway i’m gonna try that . thank you JOEL RUNYON for this awesome information .!

  68. Jessi says

    You’re inspirational! I’ve been trying to get a six pack for what seems like forever. Sadly to no accomplishment. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong but u give me hope that maybe it will eventually happen!

  69. Abhishek Chauhan says

    Amazing inpirational story, I love the honesty, dedication and motivation to inpire others. Dude you have touched me to the core of my heart. I have 3 months to make some improvements in my body composition. I can’t be as strict as you, but for sure even if I follow 20% of tour stuff, atleast I can 1 pack stuff (if not 6 pack) 😉
    Cheers !!!
    – Abhishek

  70. says

    INCREDIBLE Article and write up Joel. You really hit the nail on the head that it comes down to the important factors of eating right. I have not yet tried a paleo diet but have always been curious about it. Thanks for sharing and job well done!!


  1. […] While on a weekend away I saw the six pack challenge, and then after the weekend away I started reading the Joel Runyon mails. I read he did an 8 week six pack challenge as one of his Impossible things, and he has the photoshoot to prove it. He exercised 30 minutes a day, and didn’t go to a gym. Some great inspiration here  […]

  2. […] more than ready for some consistently healthy food. Hannah and I did a Paleo experiment together, inspired by Joel Runyon’s 6 pack experiment. We were strict about it for 3 weeks, and combined it with short but high intensity workouts 6x a […]

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