There was a shirtless photo of Mike The Situation Sorrentino of MTVs
Jersey Shore in last weeks edition of Entertainment Weekly. The
Situation, of course, is world-famous for his abs, and looks to be cut
about as deep as the Grand Canyon.
Anyone whos ever trained for a body building competition, a black
belt, or for their first marathon, can appreciate the kind of effort
that goes into Sorrentinos level of fitness. But as any fitness junkie
knows, getting there is one thing -- staying there is another.
We‘re a bit of an abs obsessed society, with gadgets such as the
Coaster Abs and Abs Circuit machines advertised on TV as ways to tone
your tummy. And has there ever been an issue of Mens Health magazine
in its 24 years of publication that didnt have a front page story
along the lines of this weeks Strip Away Belly Fat?
Some of the people in the infomercials look like theyve taken obsession
with their abdominal muscles to the brink of madness. But for those
whose six-pack tends to be in the refrigerator rather than above the
belt loops, Sorrentino notes that theres no easy route to a washboard
Sorrentino reportedly does 3-4 abdominal exercises every other day,
along with lower back exercises to complement the force of his ab
muscles. He reports on various websites that he does a half-hour cardio
workout in the gym 5-6 days each week along the lines of running,
swimming or cycling.
He also avoids sugary foods, cake, cookies, salty snacks, Coca-Cola and
other counter-productive junk foods. He favors clean-burning veggies and
protein, avoiding high-carb foods. He smokes cigarettes, but thats a
prerequisite for Jersey Shore lounge lizards.
I also do three or four very, very difficult exercises, he tells Us
magazine. Theyre very, very difficult, done over months of time to
get used to it, he adds for emphasis, noting that these may involve
hanging upside down. It looks like Im doing gymnastics.
Sounds pretty tough. It makes you wonder though, Sorrentino is a
28-year-old former fitness trainer. What will he look like 10, 20, 30
years from now?
Pretty good if he keeps it up, but that -- as any Weight Watchers
success story can tell you -- is the tough part.
Persevering is the devils bargain in fitness. You might be able to
chisel your gut into something resembling Sorrentinos belly. You might
knock yourself silly to achieve a sub-40-minute 10k. You might lose 300
lbs. and win The Biggest Losers grand prize. But holding on to that
peak moment of fitness or dietary denial -- thats the hard part.
Staying motivated long past the chipper hard-body days of your 20s and
30s is the price of the fitness lifestyle. Will Sorrentino continue
with his very, very difficult abs workout for years on end, hanging
upside down like a fruit bat five times a week and doing endless
vertical crunches and hanging lifts? Or will he get bored silly by the
time he hits 40 and start that flabby slide into what passes for
normality in America? Thats the situation faced by every lifetime
devotee to fitness.
Studies claim that muscle mass begins to decrease in a big way after
the age of 40. By one estimate, your skeletal muscle mass decreases by
up to 40% by the time you reach the age of 80.
But it doesnt have to be so. According to the American College of
Sports Medicine, strength training twice a week on top of 20-30 minutes
of cardio each day can counteract a decline in muscle mass. This is why
you sometimes see weight trainers, yoga practitioners, runners and
cyclists in their 60s who still have the strength of people 30 years
younger; theyre locked into a lifestyle and their workouts and never
quit long enough to waste away.
It all gets back to persevering with a daily exercise plan and mixing
it up with different modalities: yoga, swimming, weight training,
pilates, walking/running, skiing, etc., when the same old grind gets to
be too much to endure.
So get moving and good luck -- your abs are counting on you. Who knows?
By this time next year your stomach may even be mistaken for that of