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Your Better Self with Akanna: Men with Six-Pack Abs

Akanna Okeke

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Akanna OkekeYou know one thing that really baffles and amuses me at the same time?  It’s seeing a man, very muscular, well-built, chiseled and sculpted; the kind of man with a body that leaves the rest of us envious (yes, men also envy other men’s bodies, but we quickly get over it when we consider the work involved).  And that man suddenly receives a playful punch from his friend and he winces in so much pain that you don’t take him seriously at first –but he’s not joking! Or it comes to helping his friend push a broken-down truck off the road, to the mechanic’s, and he cannot even move the car farther than an inch. Or it comes to lifting heavy stuff in the yard, and he’s the one in the shade ‘supervising’ the rest of the guys.

It makes me wonder how such a guy got so chiseled and buff in the first place.  Didn’t he have to go through all the rigor of lifting, pushing and enduring physical pain?  How does he get to look so tough on the outside and still be so weak on the inside?

There are lots of “Shortcut to Abs” videos floating around YouTube these days.  They show you tricks and ‘hacks’ on how to get six-packs in six weeks, or how to look ‘jacked’ for your next pool party.

These workouts usually don’t focus on developing internal strength.  They just focus on the outer areas and tone them well enough to look strong.  And lots of guys go for this, because lots of guys want to look strong, chiseled and buff without doing what is really required –the tough work. So they take shortcuts and focus more on looking good than on actually being good.

The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.

If you are constantly looking for shortcuts in a certain area of your life, you can be sure that you are looking for shortcuts in other areas too.

Doing those short-cut-to-abs workouts highlights an attitude of ‘getting something for nothing’ in you, and that attitude would transfer into other areas of your life.  You would actually start losing the patience and discipline that it takes to get the most out of life.  And you can’t afford that. You don’t want to become one of those ever unhappy, entitled people that think the world owes them.  They are never happy, they are never fulfilled.

I have a mesomorph body type, and so I have a natural tendency to be fit and relatively muscular.  I’m athletically built and any little workout would accentuate my muscles and give off the impression that I’m such a man of steel, meanwhile ordinary soccer, I’ll be out of breath in no time.

So, yes of course, I subscribed to those hack videos and was on my way to getting my six-packs in six weeks.  I mean, wouldn’t you…especially if you saw the potential of getting it even quicker with your body type?

However, I paused for a minute and decided to think long-term.  Was it better to take care of the outside and ignore your inner core?  Did it matter more what people thought about me than what I actually knew about myself? Is a cup that shines on the outside of any use if it’s filthy on the inside?

For some reason, I came to understand that inner health was supposed to be the focus of physical exercise, while outer appearance was only a by-product of this –just physical evidence that you’ve gone through non-physical (and lasting) growth.  It’s an external manifestation of an internal process.

So, I started swimming instead.  I took swimming lessons, learned to swim and started swimming regularly as my exercise, as my own workout.  Swimming works out the whole body, as you move every part of it.  The only thing is that it doesn’t make you look ‘jacked’ –at least not initially –but your internal core would be worked on and that alone can keep paying off way into the future.

When he found out that I was swimming regularly, my eighty-one year old dad told me that I would thank my aged self for this decision if I kept it up.  I think I’ll listen to my father instead of the other guys who want me to accompany them to the gym for “insane workouts”.  He advised to just remain consistent.  I didn’t have to do any hardcore swimming that would rock my body one day and then forget swimming for the rest of the month, like so many people do. But I was to just maintain my regular schedule and be consistent at it, no matter the speed, no matter the number of laps.  That way, I would build an internal resilience, which would slowly but surely show up externally with time.

Character is built the same way.  The way you act outwardly or physically, is only an outward or physical manifestation of what you have cultivated internally.

When a man engages in sexual assault, harassment and domestic violence, it is evidence that he has not practiced self control.  This lack of self control in the one area would carry onto other areas of his life.  Instead of saving up to purchase a car, for example, he rather obtains a car loan; instead of maintaining a lane in traffic, he switches lanes repeatedly and blares his horn whenever the red traffic light turns yellow.

He has not cultivated the internal resilience, patience and discipline needed to actually get the best out of life in the most fulfilled way.  He is used to shortcuts –getting whatever he wants without giving much in return. He has the “something for nothing” mentality and thinks of himself only, for the most part.  He’s just a guy with perhaps a lot of outer physical strength, but with terrible inner weakness.

We must keep working on our core –practicing personal development, paying attention to what we hear, read or watch, and the associations we keep because those things either make or break us.  They form our internal core/character and, sooner than later, that internal character will manifest outwardly and catch up with us.

So, we may dress nice, smell good, get a fresh haircut, be romantic and put on some swag –all on the outside.  But if we don’t take care of our insides, we will soon appear like those men with six-pack abs, who cannot help their friend push his broken-down truck off the road, let alone to the mechanic’s.

They have focused so much on sculpting the external body that they’ve neglected to build the internal muscle required to be of use to others and indeed to themselves.

Instead of putting on those external things first, why don’t we practice godliness, self control, and respect for others?  Why don’t we focus on those internal daily disciplines that produce much more gain for others and for ourselves?

Sculpting and chiseling your body is good, it’s appealing to the eyes but if you have nothing to offer in terms of character, integrity, patience, loyalty and all the valuable non-physical stuff, when it comes to relating with other people, then of what use is your sculpted and well dressed body?

It literally profits only you. You have a temporary good feeling from the looks you get from admiring eyes, than the permanent fulfilled feeling you would get by meeting others’ needs with the good things you have cultivated and sculpted on the inside.  That is greater profit –for you and for others.  Bodily exercise profits only a little –perhaps only you –but godliness with self control is of much greater gain.

19 Comments

  1. Loki

    December 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Akanna, you seem like a very nice guy. Now take off your shirt, let me examine your progress….

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      December 5, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Hahahaha! Are you sure you’re ready for that?

  2. Goodreads

    December 5, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    This was a very good read. It is sad that articles like this don’t get much traffic, whereas if it’s gossip, the comment section will be full. Many people don’t want to know the truth and are not introspective enough. Keep up the good work ??

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      December 5, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      Thanks @Goodreads. With consistency, I’m hoping people will be inundated with truth and will have no other choice but to digest it 🙂

  3. bruno

    December 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    akanna u are jealous. I can tell u are unhappy with your body.

    • yep

      December 5, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      My thought after reading the article. @Akanna pls continue swimming and allow others to do whatever that please them…;live and let live’ is that simple.

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      December 5, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      lol!! @bruno…I hope that’s not all you took away from the article

  4. Oluwadunsin Deinde-Sanya

    December 5, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Beautiful as always! Most people love shortcuts, and it is reflected in the very little things we do , things like trying to worm your way to the front instead of joining the long queue – this annoys me too much.

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      December 6, 2017 at 2:56 am

      Thanks Dunsin! And you’re not alone in the feeling of annoyance with those who worm their way to the front. A little patience will indeed make the world go round –smoothly!

  5. Udegbunam Chukwudi

    December 5, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Guy you no try at all. You no include links to those abs in 6 weeks videos. I just want to look good naked. Who strength epp? Biko kwa. ??????

    I really need to find a way of being consistent with planking. It really works but I think doing too much a day puts me off doing more for the rest of the week

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      December 6, 2017 at 2:59 am

      Lol! You’re too funny, Chukwudi! You can go look for the videos yourself haha!
      Planking is good though – it strengthens the core, so you might be on the right path after all.

  6. Michy

    December 5, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Beautiful article, I learnt a lot from it.

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      December 6, 2017 at 2:59 am

      Thanks Michy! I’m sure glad you learnt a lot!

  7. Lailatu

    December 6, 2017 at 4:06 am

    Good one… thinking of taking up regular swimming too.

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      December 6, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Thanks Lailatu…you should! It’s very enjoyable..a workout that doesn’t feel like a workout until you’re done 🙂

  8. Soph

    December 6, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Great read!!! Honestly this article rings true with me. Especially with loosing weight, those unsustainable loosing weight hacks are very shortsighted. I prefer like you said to focus on growth on the inside, building discipline and self control and creating a healthy lifestyle rather than just loosing weight. Its slower but more long term

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      December 7, 2017 at 4:10 am

      You’re right Soph! Delayed gratification always trumps instant gratification. Taking the slower but more beneficial path to long term health is the best!
      Best wishes and godspeed!!

  9. Truth

    December 7, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Akanna, I wish BN would allow us to use emoticons and GIF, so you can understand the joy I feel everytime I see your article, how you bring life and deep thinking from subjects otherwise deemed mundane. How I can so imagine having intellectual conversations with you, I swear you do bring out the best in me and subconsciously contribute to shaping me to be a better woman. P.S your pops sure sound like a great and wise man, well like they say the Apple does not fall far from the tree. #Well done#

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      December 7, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      Thank yo so much for this lovely comment @Truth. I’m humbled. I’m also glad that I can, in my little way, help you to become your better self. Comments like yours keep me going! 🙂 Now we have to get BN to work on those gifs and emoticons haha!!
      My pops is a very wise man -vastly so! I’m so intimidated by his depth of knowledge. I’m only trying to apply the best of them that I can, and convert that knowledge to wisdom…it’s the little I can do; God helping me!
      Stay blessed and see you next week! 🙂

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