Abs are sexy. I know it and you know it. If this were not the case then you would not see well defined abs on the cover of almost all fitness magazines and advertisements. Every one of them is trying to sell you something and are using abs and sex to lure you into their marketplace.
Unlike the others however, the web site that you are reading right now cares enough about you to tell you the truth. While other magazines and e-zines will try to pump you up with some bullshit story about how you can use the latest fitness program or supplement that will melt away fat while you sit on your ass and do nothing, this one is going to tell you the truth.
How Do I Lose The Stomach Fat?
First, let me say that you are about to read a simple and easy to apply program that will not only help you to loose the fat that is currently covering your abs, but show you how to do it in less time. The truth however is that there is no easy way, you are going to have to work for your results. If this were not true than everyone would have a six pack. All of the advertisements and infomercials make it look fun and easy.
Beautiful models in tight clothes and make up are sprayed with fake sweat and smile demurely while going through the motions. The truth is that none of them achieved their results by using the machine that they are advertising. I am known for having good abs and actually receive fan mail because of them. What I want you to know is that I did not have to buy the latest machine or supplement to achieve the results that I have had.
My wife once told me that I'm lucky to have such nice abs. I responded that luck had nothing to do with it, I had to work for them. And that is what I'm going to ask you to do. The good news is that if done properly, you will save months of wasted effort and achieve results much more quickly.
So what are you waiting for, lets get started. Before we discuss diet and training, I want to tell you about what I call the miracle supplement. What if there were a supplement that you could take that actually helped to flush excess fat from your body and reduce your appetite? A supplement that not only had no adverse side effects, but was actually good for you.
A supplement this good would probably have to be very expensive. Well, the fact is that this supplement actually exist and has been used effectively by bodybuilders while preparing for competitions. Don't stop reading at the next line or you will miss out on a fundamental truth that competitive athletes have known for years. The miracle supplement is water. I'm not joking.
The Miracle Supplement
You have probably been told that you should drink 8 glasses of water a day. That's fine if you want to be like everyone else. While dieting for a competition, many bodybuilders will drink from 1 to 3 gallons of water each and every day. Why? Several reasons. Every cellular transaction in your body occurs in the presence of water.
Water is essential for maintaining good health. It flushes both waste and toxins from your body. While on a cutting diet, extra water serves the dual purpose of maintaining a sense of satiety (fullness) while also flushing fat from your system before it can be stored. Every now and then, if I eat something that I'm feeling a little guilty for, I will guzzle a quart of water immediately afterward.
Water dilutes the digestive fluids and accelerates the passage of junk food from your body. Nearly all competitive physique athletes apply this principal during the early phase of contest preparation. You should use it as well while preparing for your own physique goal. How much? Start with what you are comfortable with and work your way up to about a gallon and a half a day. Sure, you're going to piss a lot. Big deal. You will be keeping your body and kidneys well flushed while taking a major step in reducing excess fat.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the only supplement that I'm going to suggest at the present time. Sure, there are other supplements that are of value in a specific workout plan and we will discuss them on another occasion.
Now, let's look at your diet. Most people already know what they should not be eating. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that a double cheeseburger with large fries is not going to help you to reach your goal. Many people will blame their genetics for the extra fat that they are carrying when the truth is that it is not their genes, but their lack of willpower. There is no genetic deficiency that is causing you to eat junk food and wash it down with a chocolate shake.
Accept responsibility for your diet, both good and bad. If you really want abs that show then the junk food is going to have to go. Don't cut it out all at once or you will experience cravings that will keep your stomach churning well into the wee hours of the morning. Cut back gradually at first. The sooner that you do this the faster you will see results but it is important that you do this at a rate that you can tolerate. Abrupt changes in lifestyle are not easily tolerated and often result in failure. Don't let this happen to you! Do this at your own pace, BUT DO IT!
Obviously you are going to have to replace the junk food with something. Let me suggest a good meal replacement. Meal replacements are just that, the equivalent to a complete meal in both nutrition and calories all packaged in a convenient bottle or envelope that you simply mix with water or the beverage of your choice.
They may seem a little expensive up front but when you consider that they replace a complete meal, they are very cost effective. When looking for a meal replacement, pay attention to the contents. A good meal replacement will have a moderate amount of carbohydrates and contain from 35 to 45 grams of protein. One to three meal replacements a day will go a long way in replacing the fattening foods that you may already be consuming while contributing to the additional protein requirements of a physique athlete.
Next, it is important to consider how often you eat. Most people find themselves eating a couple of large meals a day while snacking considerably in between. The problem is that any additional calories that are not necessary for current maintenance are stored as fat. The traditional family dinner contributes far more than maintenance calories. Therefore it is important to reduce your portion size. This is difficult at first but you will find yourself getting used to it quickly. The size of your stomach will actually shrink over time and you will find that you will become satisfied while eating less. So try to avoid that second serving because you really don't need it.
Remember, you're an athlete training for definition and the rewards are worth the sacrifice. On the bright side, while you have to reduce your portion size, you get to eat more often. Reduced calorie dieting can result in you metabolism going into starvation mode. Your body is genetically programmed to store extra calories if it believes that a famine is occurring. This is a good thing that will increase your odds of survival if there truly were a famine, but not in this case. To avoid the famine response, you need to eat more often. Aim for 5 to 6 small meals a day.
Your first 3 to 4 meals should be moderate in carbs, low in refined sugars and high in protein. A meal replacement as discussed above can be used in place of a small meal. It is important to space these meals out evenly throughout the day. Notice that I'm not suggesting that you go on a no-carb diet. Its not that this type of diet does not work, it's just that it is extremely difficult to maintain.
Fitness is a life long pursuit, not a short term goal. It's OK to treat yourself occasionally to something that you truly enjoy as long as it is just that, a treat. Look at a treat as you would a paycheck, something that you get once a week. More often than that and you're just kidding yourself.
Now, I want to be honest with you. What I am about to suggest is not easy. On the other hand, it is extremely important if your goal is to reduce body fat in the shortest amount of time. Plan your last meal at least two hours before bedtime. This is critical. If you take extra calories to bed with you, you will end up sleeping with them for many nights to come. Your last meal of the day should be very low in carbohydrates and very high in protein. To avoid a catabolic state while sleeping (a condition where muscle tissue is broken down to contribute to the body's protein requirements), a slow digesting meat source is preferred for this meal.
Many people ask me to design a diet for them stating that they will eat what ever I tell them to. The fact is however that I don't know that you like or don't like to eat. Many people like broccoli for instance while others might vomit at the sight of it. Do some homework here. All food products carry labels that describe their content. Learn to read them. Make a habit of it. Take responsibility for this and before long you will know as much as many so called experts.
How To Properly Train The Abs
Now that you know about the miracle supplement and how to diet, you need to know how to train your abs. As mentioned above, I receive regular fan mail for my abs so it may surprise you to learn that my preferred abdominal exercise is the traditional crunch. Infomercials describe crunches as archaic and outdated. They show people grimacing in back pain as they try to complete just a few simple reps.
Well, unless you have a medical condition that would prohibit you from doing crunches, do them! Variations of crunches, from flat to incline will not only add variety to your routine but also help to ensure that you target the variety of muscles in the abdominal panel.
It is important to flex (crunch) the abdominal muscles while in the upper (positive) portion of the movement. Most people fail to do this and simply rely on momentum and speed to get them through the set. If you want results, DON'T DO THIS! Deliberately crunch down on the ab muscles for about a second with each rep. You will not be able to perform as many repetitions but the ones that you do will be much more effective.
If you have access to elbow slings and an overhead bar, hanging knee raises are another great way to work the abs. The number of repetitions that you do is not as important as the quality of repetitions. Each set of exercises should bring you to an honest burn. It is important that you use some judgment here. You should be able to distinguish between a muscular burn and back pain or pain from any other source.
As long as you know the difference, don't cheat yourself, go for a least a mild burn before stopping. Wait for a minuet or so and complete a second set, followed by rest and then a third set. Unlike larger muscle groups, the abs recover well and can be trained every other day. If you have access to an ab machine then by all means include it in your workout. It is important that you vary your routine to avoid acclimatization to any one particular program. One of my favorite ab workouts is two sets of hanging knee raises followed with one set of incline crunches.
I want you to know that the plan above works and that if done properly, you will see results. It is important to consider however that abs are only one part of the equation that is your entire physique. In coming articles we will address other parts of the body. For now however, you have enough information to give you abs that you can be proud of. What are you waiting for?