Six Pack Abs ≠ Impossible

For the last 3 months I’ve been quiet on the personal challenge front. It’s not because I haven’t been doing anything – in fact I’ve been rather busy – but I’ve been working on something that’s taken a ton of focus. Fortunately, it’s finally time for me to share.

When I first started the list, one of the first things on it was

Get a six pack and do a photo shoot to celebrate

The Six Pack

It’s always been a little weird to have on the list as it’s unapologetically vain but, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. When I started a few years ago, I used to be cautious about going after it. I tried it a few times, and never really committed myself to it and was never successful. In my years as an athlete, I had gotten close and even gotten in really good shape, but was never actually able to get that elusive six pack. It was one of those things that I didn’t know if I could actually do or not – I figured genetics just didn’t have it in the cards for me.

That all changed after a St. Patrick’s day conversation with Vic at SxSw, I decided to go for it again – a good 2 years after first putting it on my list. To make sure I was committed, I kickstarted it with my own edition of cold shower therapy, got a killer fitness coach and focused on this goal solely for the next 8 weeks. Considering I was traveling at the time in the Dominican Republic, the workout program that we developed had 3 rules:

  • No equipment/gym/weights required. As I said, I was traveling and wanted to be able to do this anywhere in the world.
  • Workouts should last less than 30 minutes/workout
  • No excuses. Just results.

I turned my intensity and focus onto my diet and over the next 8 weeks, I lost 34 pounds, dropped to 5.4% body fat and finally got the ever elusive six pack abs I always thought was impossible. I did this in 8 weeks, never visiting a gym and using nothing but a jump rope and body weight exercises you can do anywhere in the world.

These are the results.

Impossible Abs Before/After

(The lighting differential is from the two different mirrors I took the photos in).

I’ll share more about exactly how I did this next week (sign up for updates here), but after 8 weeks of dedicated focus, I finally crossed it off my list.

Six Pack Abs: Impossible

But I wasn’t done…

The Photo Shoot

The second part of the goal was to do a photo shoot to celebrate. As it turned out this was the hard part.

In order to reflect the fitness regimen that we developed, I wanted to find an old warehouse or abandoned warehouse for the photo shoot. The idea being that even if you had no equipment and were stuck in this building with nothing but your jump rope, you could still do all the workouts you need in order to get into incredible shape.

After searching for a bit, we found a location just outside Chicago. It was old, abandoned, had incredible graffitti and had the warehouse feel I was looking for.

Somehow I convinced Jeff and Marla to do a photoshoot at said location – sight unseen. They agreed immediately (I think they trust me a little *too* much).

They didn’t realize The fun thing about the shoot was that we shot it at the top of the building – 150 feet in the air or so. It wouldn’t be too big of a deal if we had the useful things like stairs or a lift elevator, but the location had been abandoned for 30 years or so and scrappers have long since taken the stairs to sell for cash. This left one route to get to the top – a rickety old ladder that  creaked half way through, reminding you of your untimely meeting with death if you freak out, slip or just get tired.

There’s no good way to actually describe how tall this ladder was silos actually were, how brittle this ladder seems and how intense the entire experience actually getting to the shoot location was, but it was totally worth it. The photos speak for themselves.

—-

The Experience

This entire experience was the most intense and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life – due to the 8 weeks of focus and intensity involved in the diet and workouts - not to mention the last few days of incredible self-control, combined with water manipulation, scouting and actual preparation for the photo shoot.

I used to think that certain physical aspects of fitness was all genetics, and that average people like me could never get abs. Over 8 weeks, I realized that not only is that not true, but there’s an exact formula for doing it. It’s not quick and easy, but it is simple and possible if you know how to do it and are willing to put in the work. There’s a blueprint and it works.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be talking ab little more about the fitness regimen I used  to get the results I did and lay out a specific blueprint for how I got my results. If you’d like to be notified when they’re up, subscribe to the blog or sign up for more information here.

Impossible Abs Is Now Available Here.

In the mean time, it’s time to knock another thing off the list:

Get a six pack and do a photo shoot to celebrate.

Impossible

#boom

Comments

  1. Thomas Frank says

    Congrats Joel! And welcome to the club ;)

    IMO, getting a six pack has a lot less to do with workouts and a lot more to do with your diet. I had success using a version of Mark Sisson’s Primal diet; paleo and keto diets work really well too.

    I’m a little jealous of all those awesome photoshoot locations you’ve got in Chicago :)

  2. Dodo says

    wow! the photos look awesome. you have inspired me to find the most epic celebration of the sixab i am going to get the following weeks.
    congratulations on your accomplishments!

  3. Toni says

    I know I should talk about fitness since your journey is very impressive and I’m working on my own abs at the moment but I’m just going to say you’re hot. End of discussion :D

  4. Dean says

    Don’t. Eat. Carbohydrates.

    Painfully difficult to do in western culture, but 90% of problem in reaching optimal body-weight (and therefore having stellar abs)

  5. Rita says

    JOEL!!! Never one to swear online..I just have to say…HOLY SH*T!!! this is incredible! The photo shoot is amazing! wow. WAY TO GO!

    Inspired.

  6. Debra says

    Joel, fantastic post, killer body and photo shoot! I just stumbled on you from Twitter and so glad I clicked through.

    Looking forward to your blueprint.

    Congrats on all your hard work and results!

  7. Paul says

    Hi Joel – as always, impressed by your journey and the way you celebrate this with a public photoshoot (great location..)This is one goal I have little desire to achieve, but you. keep. doing. it.

  8. Andrew says

    Six Pack in just 8 weeks. Amazing Joel, I really Impressed with your dedication towards fitness and Six Abs. @Debra,Yes Joel’s body is really killer and attractive. I too want to build like this

  9. John Southee says

    Joel, I’ve been reading your blog since earlier this year and so far this post has most resonated with me. This too has been one of my life goals. I’ve been attacking it all year. I wouldn’t say that I have made significant results but after 7 1/2 months I still don’t feel like I am where I want to be.

    I do work out every day and eat very clean. Now, though, having seen you accomplish this in just eight “simple” weeks, I am too eager to see how you did accomplish it. Congrats on accomplishing a life long goal and keep achieving the impossible!

    • Joel Runyon says

      The definition of “eating clean” varies from person to person. A lot of it was just added focus and intensity, but I’ll have a post up next week detailing exactly what I did.

  10. Thomas Kohn says

    Impressive work. Time after time, I’ve said “I’ll work this year to get a 6-pack.” It never came, even with 4000 miles of cycling. Because the high aerobic activity led to carb binges and maintaining the weight I already had.

    This year, though I didn’t promise myself a 6-pack, I’ve done less distance in my bike work and cut my diet to fewer carbohydrates. And I’ve been dropping pounds, about 3 per month. The Apollo’s Girdle has returned, and my abs are beginning to show. So I second the advice about diet.

    Congratulations on your work, determination, and results. And yes, Toni is right: you are hot.

    Wondering, though… Are all these shots with you tensing the abdominals and shifting into the best light? Or are the poses more natural, unstudied?

    Tom

  11. Dan says

    Awesome man, I am currently in a 6 pack comp with a girl at work and while I currently have a 4 pack, the 6 has been eluding me. Although in saying this, I dropped from 96kgs to 71kgs in 18 months so I guess I need to put it in perspective. Looking forward to some tips from you. Also 5.4% body fat? Wow, Bruce lee was running at around 5% if I am not mistaken so kudos to you.

  12. Saum says

    Great Job Joel,

    Now the real ‘Impossible’ is awaiting you. “Maintenance” of those packs….

    You know King of the Hill? – Getting there is hard, staying there is Harder

    But that the thing Impossible = Nothing

    FTW

  13. Jeanie Witcraft says

    DAMN! I’m another one who is muy interested in how. *goes to sign up*

    You don’t look quite …real..in the photos. HDR? Looks like a Charlton Heston movie poster or something. :)
    I agree, Jeff & Marla rock.

    /fangirl raving.

  14. Justice says

    Friend sent me here about your interview with Russell Kirsch – which was awesome.

    I also wanted 6 pack abs and have found my diet is making them appear – slightly.

    I love super hero genre and think 2 of the above shots are VERY SF/superheroic awesome – with Chicago in the back ground!

    Edit 60, 24, and 20 specifically look as if you are posing for a bookcover.

    Well, I do not know if I am ‘committed’ yet – but I certainly agree and respect your drive and determination, Joel!

    p.s. I live in Wheaton, not too far from the olde homesteade!

    Let me know if we can meet for coffee!

    peace
    justice

  15. Timo Kiander says

    Joel,

    Awesome, congrats!

    When you mentioned this,

    >nothing but a jump rope and body weight exercises you >can do anywhere in the world

    I’m guessing that also that your nutrition played a big part in achieving your goal?

    Anyway, signed up for your updates to see how you did it :)

    Cheers,
    Timo

  16. Paarkhi Parekh says

    Joel,
    I’m inspired by reading your article and want to do for me also at present I’m 172.5 cms (5.11″ approx.) and weighing 202 lbs. (92kgs) and trying to follow paleo guide except that I’m purely Vegetarian (so I’m leaving the points where it suggests the non.veg) but don’t know where to start the exercise from? I also am constantly on move so cannot goto gym or carry any extra gym materials like barbell dumb bells etc. but ready to spare time for body weight exercises and carrying rope is OK, please suggest me something in exercise.
    Thanks
    Sorry for posting it in comments section

  17. Marc says

    I came across your website, and I’m doing the program now.. I cut out bread, soda, and all other sweets from my diet.. Believe me, you’re right, it isn’t easy.. BTW- I’m from Chicago myself, so I know about the loving to eat factor.. Well, I’m on the second week, doing fine, feeling myself getting in better shape and resisting the weights and just sticking to the bodyweight movements outlined in your program.. I like this program, because it’s getting me in tip top shape and prepping myself to start training in an adult gymnastics class.. I can’t wait to see my abs at the end of this program.. It will be impressive to gave some sleek abs at the age of 40.

    Thanks for sharing this article!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I finally put my money where my mouth is, stopped making excuses, and decided to do it. After a friendly wager with a friend and the guidance of a fitness guru, in eight weeks, I was able to lose 34 pounds, drop down to 5.4 percent body fat, and get a six-pack without stepping foot in a gym. [...]

  2. [...] After the photo shoot, I got a lot of questions from a lot of people wanting to know exactly what trickery I did to pull it off (spoiler alert: there’s zero tricker involved). About 50% of the people actually took what I said and did exactly nothing with it. The other 50% took what I said and decided to implement it and do something about it. [...]

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