Posts Tagged abs

A Reader Writes:

On Aug 28, 2009, at 3:42 PM, Michael Bluejay wrote:

Hi Ira. I always think of you when I use the crunch machine at the gym. I still don’t have visible abs but I think I’m close. My first problem was that I had a lot of weight to lose, but I lost nearly 20 pounds in the last 2.5 months, so I’m close.

On Sep 11, 2009, at 4:12 PM, Ira wrote:

Hi Michael–Congratulations on your progress and thanks for the kind words. Is it OK if I post them on the site?

You should write a story of your own about your fitness efforts. You know it doesn’t have to be a before and after tale…it can be a work in progress just like mine.

On Sep 11, 2009, at 9:23 PM, Michael Bluejay wrote:

Sure, feel free to post my comments. Read the rest of this entry »

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I Can’t Believe It!

Just did some bicycle crunches: 100+75+75+75=325 followed by 225 ball crunches= 600 total. My record before was three sets of bicycles, 100 each time, plus 200 ball crunches after a two-minute break. This is the third day in five that I am crunching. Good progress. Could have done more on the ball, but don’t want to hurt myself. I’ll get there…

The most amazing fact is that it only took 16 minutes. I should be able to knock these out like crazy. We’ll see.

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I’m Back After 40 Days and 40 Nights

That is how long since I went to the gym. What an intermission. Lots of excuses, soreness, travel, family responsibilities, and my own ordinary human nature. As I confessed in the posts about my background (see “my background” posts on April 4th), I have a history of not being disciplined about exercise, never went to a gym before two years ago and rarely played sports regularly.

I did injure myself (I think it happened when I was setting personal best records doing pull ups), went to a nurse, took anti-inflammatory pills, met with an orthopedist, and now a physical therapist. I’m told it could be a lot worse than it is, and I am almost sure to heal with a few weeks of special exercises for my right forearm, elbow and shoulder. (I did tear my right shoulder in three places back in 2006).

There is really no physical excuse for not doing abs work like crunches. There has been nothing wrong with my abdominal area. Nevertheless, I did crunches just six times. Three of those efforts were during the first two weeks of August (max of 750), and the latest was today, when I ground out only 350, mostly the more difficult bicycle type.

During this 40-day period in the workout desert, I could have lifted weights with my left arm. But I basically stopped. It was all mental. Too pressured and too lazy. And then too guilty. Could barely even write on this site. As much as I quote that “two steps forward, one step back” mantra, it’s painful to accept it. I hate it. Thinking about the Nadals, Picabo Streets, and a thousand other top athletes who get injured and push through their setbacks to return to their game and shine should be an inspiration. Well I am trying to be inspired.

Here’s the breakdown of my limited home crunch exercising: Read the rest of this entry »

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Irreverent Flashing At The Tennis Hall of Fame

Went to Newport, Rhode Island to watch the tennis tournament there for older champions, players who have won some majors and been ranked number one (or in the top 10) in the world in the 80’s and 90’s. It’s all on grass—”the ‘real’ kind that’s very fast, not what they have at Wimbledon now,” according to one of the founders of this Champions Cup contest—and the venue may be the oldest for tennis in America…or anywhere. From 1880, I believe. Very beautiful and very green.

I couldn’t resist an irreverent flash there in spite of hardly working out the last three weeks, gaining weight (almost five pounds), and being told that I had to button up my shirt within seconds after this photo was taken.

irreverent flashing at Tennis Hall of Fame

irreverent flashing at Tennis Hall of Fame

If you look closely, you will notice the people in the background who play tennis dressed in clothes they might have worn 100 years ago. All very quaint and wonderful.

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Gym and Cardio and A Look at the Goal Line for Great Abs

Went to the gym late on Friday the 12th. Did 7 pull ups—up 2, but then only 5 chin ups—down 5. Still tired from Wednesday and Thursday’s 5 hours of cardio. But I put in the hour, including three sets of 45 crunches.

Some sick people in the house. After attending a funeral Monday morning, I learned that a house guest has swine flu and that my daughter may have caught it. Turns out not the case, but pretty upsetting when I was already glum from the church service and the sad crying and sense of shared loss. Fragile life.

Another four hours this morning playing tennis (poorly, my side lost 4-6, 4-6 to opponents who are 93 and 85—I hit lots of balls too long) and then practicing tennis serves and strokes followed by an hour of squash hitting. Feels good to be tired this way. Rushed home for a protein shake. Weight holding at 170.

And for those who might be interested, here is a good looking, very inspirational 6-pack developed by Mark Wahlberg who is posing in his underpants for a Calvin Klein ad. This is what we are all working hard to achieve—this is the goal, the finish line in the world of desIRAble abs:

Mark Wahlberg's abs revealed in Calvin Klein Underwear Ad

Mark Wahlberg's abs revealed in Calvin Klein Underwear Ad

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Seeking Pain for Later Pleasure and the Difference Between a Chin Up and a Pull Up

What kind of masochists are we that we go to the gym to experience pain for our own good? I was there again today and learned a few things from Eric, a trainer. Read the rest of this entry »

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Astonishing Video of Someone Flexing His Abs

Was just doing some crunches at home and looking at some of the videos already on this site for inspiration. Bumped into this amazing demonstration of a guy named Amin flexing his abs. I need to learn how to do this, so that I can make my abs more visible when I document my progress.

I don’t have the faintest idea how to flex an ab. Do you? I can do a bicep and a tricep. For an ab, I will have to stand in front of the mirror soon and figure it out. I did realize that if I want anything to show, I ought to have some top light shining down over my little nubile bumps. That will help them stand out a millimeter or two.

For now, check this out:

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Fool Your Body by Doing Exercises It Hates or That Are New

The next morning, Thursday the 30th, I played tennis for 90 minutes in my regular doubles game. Nothing exciting, except it was outdoors–initially a brisk 47 degrees that warmed up nicely with more sun and running after balls. Lots of spring birds singing around us too.

My serve is my best weapon, although my net volleys were angled well. My team won two sets, and then the last set ended 2-2 when one of the group had to leave. It could have been 3-1 my team’s favor, because I missed two net volleys at the very end of a multiple deuce game. I blew it just when I was thinking I had it made. But I lost focus and lost the game…

Took a half hour break and practiced squash for an hour, particularly some of the techniques I was taught at Trinity earlier in the week. There was a 30-minute session of my hitting balls to the left wall—as if on a serve—and then returning them with a backhand. I can see the form of the experienced players, and I pretend that I can slip into their skins as they make their graceful moves. There is still quite a ways for me to go, but I have the general idea.

I am only on 6 ½ hours of sleep, so by now I am a bit worn out. I go home, eat, finish some work and drive to Boston to bring back some of my daughter’s belongings before college ends next week.

After the three-hour ride, I make it to the gym at 7 pm and spend over an hour working on my abs, lats and talking to three different trainers. This starts as a bit of a push—I am slightly dazed—but by the end I am revitalized and alert. It’s funny how the trainers at the gym the hotel in Boston arranges for guests to use are always so helpful and give me new exercises to do. I love how over the months I gradually learn about new machines and techniques, new philosophies and new ways to eat.

If you google “exercises,” there will be 64 million results to read that will tell you what to do or buy. “Stomach abs” (1.4 million) and “ab exercises” (1.7 million) also give you lots of choices for figuring out the best way to achieve your goal. It can be very confusing.

On the other hand, many of the same suggestions are repeated, so why not just dive into some and see what happens. Read the rest of this entry »

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Working On Abs While Watching Spiders Eat Chickens

By noon yesterday I had played tennis doubles for 90 minutes and practiced squash alone for 60 minutes. Later in the evening while watching a nature show on TV about spiders big enough to kill and eat chickens after dragging them away, I worked on my abs for about 10 interrupted minutes. So that is good. I can feel some muscles under there, but nothing yet significant.

Today I went to my daughter’s neighborhood gym with my 9-year-old grandson, and for the first time ever, we connected for more than 10 minutes. We played our version of racquetball. It lasted an hour and a half. It was my first time ever at the game. He has usually stopped (I learned later) after about 10 minutes with his younger sister.

Other grand dads go fishing with their children’s kids. I play racquetball. I’ll take it. It was very unusual—for example there was a 20-minute period when I hit the ball at the front wall, and he faced the rear, glass wall with his racquet behind his back (toward the front wall) as he looked in the reflection in front of him and dodged the ball if it came close.

No time to work on abs. As soon as the starving wife/daughter/granddaughter returned to the gym, we had to leave for dinner…

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What This Blog is All About

My name is Ira, and I want to have a six-pack. I am 68 and have always been a strong believer in health and fitness. But I have disliked exercise most of my life, and only joined a gym for the first time two years ago — after I semi-retired. Finally I had time to firm up some flab, create some definition.

This blog will document and picture the progress I make with my abs. I also want to talk about my new sports efforts (tennis and squash), diet and good health. And through these activities, I will pass on some philosophy about living a life. All with a bit of humor and amusement.

In addition, I encourage readers of all ages to send in your own stories and pictures of making muscles, becoming more fit, and also more skilled and involved in personal sports. I believe your participation and advice about athletics and life will serve as a real inspiration to me and the site’s visitors.

As you can see below, I need a lot of work:



After two weeks of avoiding the gym.
This is 1 pm on April 4, 2009.

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