During moments when your self-esteem suddenly nose-dives, it'd be nice to snap your fingers and - POOF! - see some changes. To remind you just how unrealistic that is, Aussie influencer, certified trainer, and nutritionist Cassandra Olholm, 27, recently posted side-by-side photos that show how long it can take to sculpt abs of steel: FIVE YEARS(!!!). Although her transformation clearly didn't happen overnight, her post received more than 12,500 likes - more than twice as many as her average photo - in a day.
"Feeling strong isn't something that happened overnight," she wrote in her caption. "The hard truth is that it will take time, it will take energy, sweat, tears, and maybe even a little blood, but the feeling of being able to say 'Wow, I couldn't do that last week,' will be worth every bit of it."
"Many people don’t realise the time it takes to increase your muscle strength, shape and size and unfortunately set unrealistic goals," she says of the sentiment that inspired her to post. Although you can sculpt some abdominal definition in as few as two weeks, it took much longer for Olholm to get the core strength she has now.
The trainer and nutritionist was a competitive runner before she first stepped foot into a CrossFit studio about five years ago. Having just run her first half marathon, she had a new goal that had nothing to do with her appearance: "I just wanted to know what it felt like to feel strong," she says, referring to everyday efforts like carrying groceries or lifting a suitcase.
Her first shot at strength training shook her: "I was completely out of my comfort zone," she wrote. "I had little to no upper body strength. I could barely do a push-up on my knees let alone on my toes, and the idea of doing a pull-up was just insane."
Five years later, she's mastered both moves:
Now, Olholm works her muscles four times a week for 45 minutes to an hour, doing the moves above plus deadlifts, rope climbs, and more. She also eats more than she did as a straight-up runner. "I’m always hungry," she says. "The increased muscle mass demands more calories."
And when it comes to her abs? She doesn't harp on them too much. "I never actually do any abdominal specific or focused exercises," she wrote in a post. "No sit ups, no crunches. Just the odd plank here and there. My abs are the result of a combination of consistently good nutrition (key!!!) and a workout routine that involves a lot of movements with weight overhead, which causes me to have to constantly activate my core."
Because Olholm still wants to get stronger, fitter, and faster, her fitness journey isn't over yet. "If I can do it," she wrote, "You can do it too."
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