For some, it is not such an effort because they may have better genetics toward staying on the leaner side, such as the classic ectomorph or a very high metabolism naturally but if you are not showing a six-pack with all your efforts, then you know you are not one of those lucky naturals - so you need to work at it a bit more like the majority of us!
Importance Of Water & Supplements
To lean down, you must consume the right combination of foods in order for that 6-pack to show. Water is essential to help flush you clean and function optimally, so aim for an average of 2 liters per day.
|WATER INTAKE CALCULATOR|
Supplements are great but not necessary for this goal, although if you are going to add some to your diet, then I would test out some creatine and glutamine as well as finding a nice multivitamin to aid in your diet process. The multis are a minimum and the reason I personally suggest them is because foods today are just so denatured through process and travel.
Creatine can be a great boost for the right people, so all you can do is try it out and see how it affects your game! Glutamine is great especially if you are the workhorse type who trains to pain. Glutamine might offset this, and although never proven outright, there are too many individuals who have found its uses to be very evident to them, myself included.
Creatine can cause some individuals bloat and it can also depend on the type and form of creatine, so go into this knowingly when trying out these products.
Importance Of Whole Foods
The choice whole foods which you would concentrate on are simple, repetitive, and in many cases quite bland and uneventful, but no one said this has anything to do with taste! Eating this way is also very healthy and your body will love it!
Items such as garlic, green onions, lemons, limes, chili's and non-sodium products such as Mrs. Dash are all excellent additions to spice up the flavors of your food. Too much sodium could end up sitting as water across your belly so I would try to keep it low.
Concentrate your 6 meal-per-day average to the following items, spreading meals out every 2-3 hours (including snacks):
- Lean proteins (grilled fish or poultry), as these will help get your basic protein nutrients without too many added fats.
- Fibrous green vegetables (mixed greens, green beans, spinach and broccoli) which are great filler and loaded with phytochemicals.
- Limited complex carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, quinoa or brown rice) which are your starch compliment to your diet, a needed part to the puzzle.
- Omega fats (avocado, olives and almonds) which are the dietary fats you want, they are essential fatty acids (or EFA's) and help you with your fitness and health goals while replacing the bad fats you have eliminated. I like Udo's Oil.
- Limit sugars, fruits, juices, breads and pastas which I always suggest to save for a cheat day or cheat meal per week depending on how strict you are with your diet.
- Eat every 2-3 hours to increase metabolism and keep the muscles happy! If you skip meals, your body will slow the metabolism, defeating your goals!
All these factors are extra necessary for those who are consistently active or in sports. Functions are optimal in this environment making your success all the more tangible. When you play hard, you need to eat hard!
Example Meal Plan
An example of a leaning meal plan would go as follows:
Try a grapefruit with some egg whites for breakfast.
2 to 3 hours later, some plain oatmeal made up of water and plain raw oats. A teaspoon of raisins or cran-raisins can be added for sweetness.
Simple lunches can be a few cups of raw greens topped with 4-6 ounces of grilled chicken or fish, a ½ cup of yams with a simple vinaigrette dressing (I like to use Udo's oil and balsamic or lemon juice with grainy mustard), and some almonds for crunch.
Protein drinks make for a great snack. Add a few frozen strawberries to blend your protein powder and water into a smoothie, perfect for a summer treat!
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Same idea as lunch, except you can add a ½ cup of grain (such as brown rice or quinoa) to the meal. You could also substitute some cooked green beans instead of the salad for variety.
Same as meal #4.
I am going to share some exercise ideas to help you get there, but that alone will not do it. Additionally, you will need to incorporate some cardio to your workout program. Normally (just as a baseline), I suggest 3 days per week at 20 minutes of moderate cardio work. But for leaning, you may need to add more days and go for longer cardio sessions at a higher intensity.
HIT seems to be a favorite which works well. HIT is "High Intensity Training," and for the most part is something like increasing your workout speed or resistance by a notch for every minute which passes. HIT sessions are normally done for less than 20 minutes per shot.
Ideal exercises which can be done with a body ball anywhere, including outdoors, include:
These higher-end reps are more of an endurance focus but if you feel you need to build up thicker abs, then add weight and stick with the lower end of the numbers. I would suggest this for intermediate toward advanced. Perform this program 1-2 times per week.