Most people who seek a fit physique can relate to a time when the quest for that six-pack set of flat abs was very real. But laziness, cookies, or the realization that maybe you don’t even want that level of toned are all factors that get in the way. One man’s quest brings a whole new light to the situation.

“For the better part of thirty years I’ve wanted that holy grail of fitness, a six pack,” begins John Jannuzzi for GQ magazine. “But, all those things you always hear are true: ‘Abs are made in the kitchen,’ ‘You can’t out-train a poor diet,’ ‘Sugar is the devil,’ and so on and so forth. I had a hunch that if I had somebody holding me accountable and coaching me—in the same way I learned to lift weights—I could stay on course, learn exactly what the hell I was putting into my body, and hopefully get the abs I’d been chasing for decades.”

So Jannuzzi began his journey by joining Manhattan’s Core Rhythm Fitness (CRF). “The hope, with CRF’s approach, is to find foods that your body in specific can use efficiently.” He also made it a point to seek outside council as a means of motivation. “Every morning I’d comb through Reddit’s fitness thread before heading to work out. It’s a good place to go if you’ve got questions about fitness, are finding yourself unmotivated, or need some rallying. And as I’d find over the 10 weeks or so, I’d need a lot of that between wild sugar cravings (they eventually subside) and adjusting to a new type of diet.”

One person's journey for achieving abs provides a valuable lesson.Next, he would become accountable of his food intake, and know what his weaknesses were. Sugar was definitely of concern. “The magical strip of paper dipped in my piss reveals one thing that is blatantly obvious. My sugar intake is out of control. And so, I bid adieu to sugar and said hello to bags of kale, a whole lot of fish, and a seemingly endless pile of peppers, cucumbers, onions, and their vegetable brethren.”

But rather than feel empowered, he found himself wrapped up in a strange pain. “I felt like a newly-recovering addict. My head pounded, I yearned for sugar to the point of madness, I hungered for steak, for food with substance. My body was in withdrawal, and things I once found simple in the gym were suddenly monumentally hard. That unwelcome fatigue was my body on low-carb mode and low energy, and it completely sucked.”

But time heals all wounds, and routine proves its benefits. “Slowly, life settled into a rhythm of sleeping (rest is extremely important when it comes to getting fit and healthy), exercising, eating, working, and eating. My body literally felt like a lean machine, running like an efficient, clean, and well-oiled contraption. I looked forward to my bi-weekly check-ins with CRF that would usher in a new chapter of foods to eat.”

Despite Jannuzzi feeling discouraged by the time it was taking to achieve what he wanted, he kept at it and continued to see results. “A lowered body fat percentage (almost sub 10!), and lost inches, and an overall better physique are good things. Maybe that mythical six pack would come in 15 weeks, maybe 20, maybe never. (They should revise that saying to ‘abs are made in the kitchen, low and slow.’) And as I learned in searching Reddit’s various fitness threads (something I do every morning), my body may not even have those exact Abercrombie ones I was chasing. Simply put: my muscles are different from everybody else’s. So are yours.”

Can you relate to this story? Does achieving various fitness goals feel like a journey of ups and downs? h/t bodyrock.tv