By Samantha Yardley
Silver screen veteran Brit Spencer Matthews found fame as a posh boy lothario on reality TV show Made in Chelsea and has remained a firm fixture on our TV screens ever since. These days, you’re more likely to find him completing the toughest foot race on earth than polishing off a beer at his local, but he still brings a six-pack to the party courtesy of his six-core moves.
“I never really used to prioritize my health and that was a big mistake” begins Spencer, who despite now having three children, shows no evidence of sporting a dad bod just yet. Ever since I’ve taken up running and training in a routine manner, it’s made a massive difference to my life, and I feel so much better for it.
“I used to drink to excess pretty regularly throughout my 20s,” he admits. “It was on one of the last nights that I really went for it, that I signed up to the Marathon Des Sables as punishment and needed a big shift to train for.”
The hardcore slog across the Sahara in 2021 proved the catalyst Spencer needed to overhaul his lifestyle, and he was “delighted” to come 69th in the epic challenge, known as the toughest foot race on earth.
“These very long races are more a test of mental resilience than physicality. There were times in the Marathon Des Sables that were pretty full on,” Spencer recalls. “The desire to give up was prominent, but you’ve got to keep cracking on. As long as you’re physically able to keep pushing forward, that’s what you have to do. The minute you stop, you’re out, which would be a great shame.”
Not satisfied with one awe-inspiring feat of resilience, the former bad boy now has his sights on his next test of will.
“Bad Water is a 217km single-stage race. It’s a little shorter than Marathon Des Sables, but you’ve got one day to do it instead of five,” he reveals. “I can’t imagine how tough it would be, but completing that would be the dream.”
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How to get Spencer’s Six-Pack
So, how did he do it?
We caught up with Spencer so he could showcase some of his signature moves that have fuelled his transformation.
Hanging Leg Raise
Hanging leg raises might look like a bit of fun, but they’re much harder than they look.
It helps build hip flexors and abdominal muscles and involves hanging from a high bar and raising your legs. Start by bending your legs and then progress to straight legs as you advance.
Barbell Overhead Sit-up
A bit of an all-rounder when it comes to ab exercises, barbell overhead sit-up help to work multiple muscles, including the abdomen, quadriceps, chest, and lower back.
Some people refer to this as a weighted decline situp, as the head is lower than the hips, but you do a sit-up with the weight above your head.
Start with a lightweight as you advance; you can shift to a heavier weight.
A difficult core exercise, the TRX pike works out the abdominal muscles, quadriceps, arms, and shoulders.
Loop your feet in and get into a push-up position, then slowly raise your bum up til you’re in a pike position.
If you struggle, you can start with knees to chest and then progress to pike variations.
Horizontal Cable Chop
This one targets the obliques. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, sideways to the anchor point and extend your arms outward. Ensure there is tension on the cable, then twist away from the machine in a chopping motion with your feet glued to the spot.
Kneeling Cable Crunch
This weighted variation of a traditional crunch specifically targets the abdominal muscles and is a must-do if you want to flaunt that six-pack.
It involves kneeling in front of the cable machine and pulling down the specified weight on the pulley attachment til it sits above your head.
Again progress the weight as you improve to keep overloading the abs.
Of course, the classic sit-up has to be included in any ab workout. To begin, someone can hold your feet or hold them under something – but as you progress, you should be able to sit up unaided.