Authored by guest writer: BRENDAN MCDONNELL

The six-pack is today’s icon of health and fitness.

As a personal trainer, I am often asked how to get washboard abs. I don’t really have a straightforward answer. I don’t believe doing a ridiculous amount of sit-ups or some fad diet will achieve this. I believe that a good body has a lot to do with the state of the mind and physical awareness.



Working part time at a gym, I see countless numbers of people working out. Many people have been training for years with next to no aesthetic physical changes. Don’t for a moment think that I’m saying training is bad if you don’t see exterior results. Many people go to the gym because they simply want to be healthy and some go because that’s what is socially acceptable nowadays. It wasn’t until I made physical training a legitimate part of my life that I started to see physical changes. I go to the gym everyday day because it’s part of me.

I started training martial arts at the age of 15. From that moment on, I decided that I wanted to be like the fighters in both body and mind. As I became more aware of my body’s physical changes, I became more determined to reach my goals. As the awareness of your goals grows, the hard work to achieve them becomes less painful. In the gym, you stop seeing pain as pain; it becomes accomplishment – an experience associated with a sense of joy. When you feel that pain, you acknowledge that you are taking one step closer to your goals. The pain becomes an indicator of growth. This same physical awareness spreads to other areas of your life and begins to govern choices that you make. You become aware of what you eat, how much you drink, the amount of sleep you get, the people who are going to support you and how all of these factors help you reach your goals.

Whether it’s building abs or touching your toes, no matter what activity or practice we pursue, there isn’t anything that isn’t made easier through constant familiarity and training. In the beginning, going to the gym is confusing. The pain doesn’t make sense. But with some resilience, you can overcome the initial pain and begin to train your mind. Constantly familiarising yourself with your target should allow you to transform the pain into accomplishment and inevitably reach your goals.

At the end of the day, abs and summer bodies are built on hard work and a good diet. But mental attitude plays a tremendous role in determining whether or not you’re going to achieve this.