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After six months, a six-pack emerges

  • Story Highlights
  • Jason Dinant, an iReport contributor, revamped his lifestyle to get six-pack abs
  • Dinant gave up processed and junk food, exercised 100+ hours for 6 months
  • Having big, defined muscles doesn't mean the person is stronger, physiologist says
By Madison Park
CNN
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(CNN) -- After six months, 35 pounds of chicken breast and more than a hundred hours of exercising, Jason Dinant finally sees the fruits of his labor. There are six of them.

The left image shows Jason Dinant in January. The right one shows him six months after exercising and dieting.

The left image shows Jason Dinant in January. The right one shows him six months after exercising and dieting.

Dinant, an iReport contributor who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, revamped his lifestyle to get six-pack abs in six months.

Before, Dinant never exercised and frequently gorged on processed and junk food. Although he was already skinny, Dinant wanted to get a more chiseled figure for his 10-year high school reunion and his blog called Naked Boy News, where he comments on current events while standing shirtless.

Since January, CNNhealth has followed the progress of three iReport contributors, including Dinant, as they strive to meet their diet and fitness goals.

During the last six months, Dinant jogged, lifted weights and exercised his core. He gave up his favorite Peppermint Patties, chocolate bars and cookies in favor of zucchini, chicken breasts and 16 egg whites a day. He gave up his Coca-Cola for water.

"It has really become a way of life," Dinant said. "I've seen such good results. I feel so much better, seen such positive results. There's no way I can go back to junk food and not working out. It's been a life-changing experience." See Dinant's iReport submission.

Detractors called his goal shallow and told him to wear a shirt, but Dinant was not easily discouraged.

"If your friends say negative comments, don't pay attention," he said. "A lot of people aren't motivated to do this. It's not that they don't want you to succeed, but it's just they don't have the motivation to do it themselves. Sometimes friends unintentionally put negativity out there. Listen to your internal self and know not to give up."

Dinant's new abs have landed him a spot on the New York City Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride March, where he will ride a convertible (and show off his six-pack) on Sunday. His car is to be accompanied by rows of shirtless men.

But exercise physiologist Pete McCall, of the American Council on Exercise, showed concern when he saw Dinant's before-and-after photo. While McCall neither met nor examined Dinant, and viewed him only through photographs, he noted that Dinant looked a bit "emaciated." Dinant says he has lost 3 pounds.

People with too little body fat could be considered unhealthy, McCall said. He recommended that men have 7 to 8 percent body fat and that women have 12 to 14 percent.

"A six-pack should be the result of a consistent exercise program and a nutritious, well-balanced eating strategy, not the sole purpose of a training program and crash diet," he said.

Many mistake six-pack abs as a symbol for fitness. "Having big, defined muscles doesn't necessarily mean it's a harbinger of good health or mean they're strong," McCall said. "It's purely aesthetics."

When a client talks about getting a six-pack, McCall would ask, "How does that change your life? How does having defined abs make your life better? Are you stronger or more efficient at something?"

Dinant said the ab regimen helped him adopt a healthier diet, going from zero servings of fruits and vegetables to five a day.

"Now I crave fresh fruit and vegetables," Dinant said. "I will crave zucchini like a snack. I'll cut it up then steam it. I've been having peaches, apricots and plums. Plums are my new best friend."

Once a person has achieved a six-pack, he or she has to maintain the physique through routine daily exercise, McCall said.

For people who are trying to get healthier, McCall recommended taking on performance-based goals rather than aesthetic ones. Dancers and athletes have the best-toned bodies, "because they train for dance or sports," he said.

"Basically, form follows function," he said. "If you put your aesthetic appearance first, you're trying to train for the mirror. You're never 100 percent happy with what you see. You always notice a flaw."

McCall suggested forming goals such as being able to run a certain distance or doing a number of pull-ups or push-ups to shift the focus from appearances to fitness.

"I feel 100 percent comfortable with my body," Dinant said. "This is the best New Year's resolution I ever had in my entire life."

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