The fastest way to get six-pack abs is hard. Very hard. But Mark Malkoff experimented to find the best way to get ripped abs in just 28 days!
Let’s just say this one more time: if you want to get six-pack abs fast then you will be in for some pain (and let’s hope you are willing to sacrifice some things – like, oh, trading in your Twinkies for some protein powder and your TV time for a workout plan) because the elusive chiseled set of six-pack abs takes good ole’ fashioned hard work.
Here is how Mark Malkoff went from this:
This sounds a little bit like an infomercial but obtaining a six-pack in under 30 days is impressive. We had to find out more details, so we sat down for an interview with Mark…
First, Some Background…
Mark Malkoff is a comedian who specializes in challenging himself. Whether he’s seeing what he can get away with in an Apple Store, visiting every Starbucks in Manhattan, or living in an IKEA for a week, he’s got a taste for taking on the impossible. Recently, he did just that: he set out to get six-pack abs in under thirty days.
We spoke with Mark to find out how he did it, how hard it was, and how much he had to give up to get the impossible physique (hint: weight training and lots of protein).
What inspired you to start this challenge?
I was getting really tired of seeing all these crazy unrealistic images of men in pop culture. I don’t know anyone who has six-pack abs, but you see them in pop culture all of the time. I wanted to see what a regular guy would have to subject himself to in order to get six-pack abs.
How long was this in the planning?
I’ve had the idea for a long, long time, and I really thought about what I’d have to go through. I sat on the idea for a while. I knew it was going to be challenging to block out an entire month of my life. It took about two years in my head. My latest video, I had that idea for about a year. It’s just that the videos that I do are not easy; there’s a lot of planning. Getting six-pack abs in a month, I have to make a video that’s entertaining and has an emotional arc while captured.
Was it as complex as you thought?
It was really one of the hardest things I’ve done. The thing is, when I come up with the idea of these comedy pieces, I go into denial about the pain. It was rough, from a physical and mental standpoint. There didn’t seem to be an end in sight for some of it. I had a really hard time envisioning having six-pack abs, and I just did what he told me to. He was convinced it would happen!
How much time per day did you spend on working out?
It varied, on the average, I would say between an hour and a half to two hours. Every morning. Three times a week I’d do a twenty-five minute workout in the morning, three times a week I’d do cardio at night.
What was your regimen and diet?
- Every morning: 3 sets of 30 push-ups, 3 sets of 15 stomach crunches, 15 to both sides
- Every morning: 60-90 minute workout with personal trainer, Robert Brace (weights, cardio, crunches)
- 3x a week (morning): “NY Lean 25 workout” created by Robert Brace
- 3x a week (night): cardio, 30 minutes on the treadmill
- Every night: 3 sets of 30 push-ups, 3 sets of 15 stomach crunches, 15 to both sides
It was incredibly difficult. You need high energy and focus. I think I’ve had more energy than I’ve had in my entire life! I’m so much more productive in terms of mental clarity. I’ve had horrible sleep problems since I was a kid, and my usual five hours became much more restful.
It was mostly lifting weights and doing exercises to engage the core. It was only 10 to 15% crunches. There was also a lot of cardio. It all really tied together. I managed to get the six-pack in 28 days, which was insane.
Everyone technically has a six-pack, but it’s under a layer of fat. I wound up losing 16.8 pounds.
What was your diet?
Breakfast: hard-boiled egg whites
Lunch: tuna fish
Mid-Afternoon Snack: steamed vegetables
Dinner: hard-boiled egg whites
Before & After Workouts: whey protein
Beverages Permitted: water, black coffee, green tea.
Guilty Pleasure*: Fruit and oatmeal every seven days.
I had more protein in that month than I have in my entire life. Eleven hard-boiled egg whites. That was my breakfast and my dinner. Mid-afternoon I’d have steamed vegetables. I started eating vegetables for my lunch. I’m a vegetarian, and I ate an animal for the first time in twenty years because I was worried about not getting the abs.
*Editor’s Note: This part about allowing yourself some “fruit and oatmeal every 7 days” as a guilty pleasure should make you want to cry…
Was it rough going off the vegetarian diet?
I was irritable the whole month, I’m still doing damage control with my wife. I could only have fruit or oatmeal every seven days. All movie and TV people put themselves through this, and it was definitely interesting and eye-opening to see what I had to subject myself to.
Did you use a program out of a magazine, or a specially designed one?
Robert Brace, it was all him, 100% all him. A few months before the project, we worked together to see how far I could push and how disciplined I was. (Editor’s Note: If you can’t physically travel to train with Robert Brace then check out our online personal training and our huge selection of workout plans like the Abs Workout Plan and the Fat Loss Workout Plan among hundreds of others.)
How hard was it to find a personal trainer suited to your comedic style?
It wasn’t hard at all, actually. I’ve been doing these things for so long, I know so many people. He was actually in some of my videos for exercise stuff. I’ve known him for a few years, but I got to know him better as we did the project.
Was there anything that was easier than you thought?
The only thing that was easier was the exercise after a couple of days felt good. I thought I was going to be sorer, I had envisioned myself in pain all the time. I was lifting a crazy amount of weight for my weight, but after it was done I felt good!
Do you have any advice for people who want to turn their health around in 30 days?
If somebody wants six-pack abs, do your research. And really, if you can, talk to somebody who’s gone through this. Get an evaluation from a personal trainer, and see if your body type can actually get a six-pack. Going in with a plan, a really thought-out long term plan, and researching what your diet and what your exercise is going to be, and how much time is realistic. It might take a busier person six months to do this. Don’t rush it: I had to for this video, but don’t.
Are you going to keep up the workout, or are you done with the six-pack?
My six-pack abs left in five days. I just went crazy with other food. I am going to keep exercising. I think there’s a healthy medium that I’m going to find. But I definitely wasn’t a guy who went to the gym, and that was the most eye-opening thing, how good I felt.
What can you recommend for motivation?
If people can just get some sort of hook, like a present for their spouse. Just the fear of not having an ending for my video really motivated me. Having a goal or a personal trainer that will hold them accountable is really good, too.
How did the video’s crunch montage come about?
It’s a balance of actually getting the six-pack and trying to be entertaining. I had the idea of a crunch montage. One day we just went around and started working out in New York hotspots. It’s about a balance of being entertaining and informative.
Finding a Healthy Balance
Want to find your inner six-pack, but not sure where to start? We’d recommend not going to the extreme of a 30-day time limit. Instead, focus on small, sustainable changes that you can stick with over time!
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