Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Why don’t I have a six-pack yet?!

on 15 January 2017

In my mind, working out should be a bit like levelling up in a videogame (can I still call them that given noone uses videos anymore?!). When you complete a workout, your body should be immediately toned up afterwards, and then it gradually atrophies back to its pre-workout state the longer you leave before your next workout. Working out too hard would give you a super-buff appearance, but also a stat penalty like ‘pulled muscle’ or ‘gym ban’ which means you have to leave a certain amount of time before you’re allowed to workout again.

I read somewhere a while ago (a forgotten and unverified, likely click-bait source!) that it takes 4 weeks of a program – food or exercise – before you notice a difference, 6 weeks before your close friends and family do, and 8 weeks for everyone else. 3 weeks into my ‘healthy me’ kick – she says while chowing down on cocopops while writing this – I guess I shouldn’t be beating myself up about not looking any different yet. I should however get back to eating healthy. Tomorrow. Gotta play the long game with this sort of thing!

Anyway, we’re only here because I wanted to give a bit more detail on my gym workout yesterday and decided it would probably end up too waffley for facebook – so knowing I’m already writing a blog post, I have made it more waffley before I even get to the bit I wanted to share!

Facebook people will already know, P bought a ‘Smart Wonder Core’ just after Christmas, after I told him how much it would be to use the local gym each session while I’m at Run England. The theory was he’d have to use it 10x and it would have paid itself off, and every session after that would be ‘free’. So far, I don’t think he’s been on it more than twice but I’m sure that’ll change now I’ve provided exercise stickers for the calendar for him 😉 Nothing motivates quite like smiley face stickers.


I’ve had a quick low-resistance go through the exercises just to see how they feel, and a 2-circuit, 20 rep each go through of the seven exercises shown on the guide that comes with it, but last night was my first ‘proper’ session with it – and I was definitely sweating rather than glowing through it! Rather than having a rest and a reference check of what I was supposed to be doing between exercises, I made sure I had them in an order where I was not going to be doing the same muscle groups consecutively, and also chopped up the repeats so I wasn’t doing everything once and going back and doing everything again as a whole, and moved straight from one exercise to the next without a  break – I’ll explain more in a minute.

The exercises on the guide are as follows;

  1. Sit-up
  2. Scissor kicks
  3. Ab tuck
  4. Push-up
  5. Forearm & Biceps
  6. Bridge
  7. Triceps
  8. Bicycling

Prior to typing that out I would have sworn blind there were seven exercises. Apparently I was wrong on that count!

So, on Thursday I went straight through from 1 to 8 and then back round to 1 again to complete the sequence again. Including stretching off afterwards it took me about half an hour to do two sets of 20 reps of each exercise (except the bicycling which I did to 200 as with the resistance level I had it on it was quite easy). Last night I did a different order and moved between things much quicker and it was much harder.


  1. Sit-up – 10
  2. Scissor kicks – 20
  3. Ab tuck – 20
  4. Push-up – 10
  5. Forearm & Biceps – 50 (total – 25 each arm, alternating)
  6. Bridge – 10
  7. Triceps – 20 (total – 10 each arm, alternating)
  8. Bicycling – 100 (total – 50 each leg, alternating)


For the order I did a sort of two-steps-forward-one-step-back sequence so I ended up with this:

1, 2, 3, 2, 3, 4, 3, 4, 5, 4, 5, 6, 5, 6, 7, 6, 7, 8, 7, 8, 1, 8, 1

This meant that not only did I have to finish the reps for each exercise, but it would only a short break before I would have to do it again twice more. I started with 20 reps of exercises 1 and 4, and only doing #1 once on the first pass this was fine, but even only doing 3/4 push-ups (#4) on the second set on my form was struggling by rep 15, and on the third set by rep 10 – and I didn’t even attempt 20 reps of the bridge (#6) as I knew I’d not get through the three sets so that got stuck at 10 – as did the last two sit-up sets (#1). Finishing on #1 did also mean I was already on the floor ready to flop back to stretch out but it was definitely a push to get them all finished! Moving through the exercises much quicker like this also meant I got three sets of each one done in the same time as it took me to do 2 sets last time – I think, as I didn’t bother timing it this time!

I think this is definitely a good enough workout for me to be sticking with at the moment – I really felt like I’d done something, and I’m hoping to do this twice a week in the faint hope that by the time my friend’s wedding comes round in May I will not feel like my upper arms look like tubes of cookie-dough! With picking up my running again, my legs are ultimate muscle machines. Arms? Not so much – they get somewhat neglected!


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