If your goal is to build six pack abs, sometimes Google just flat out sucks.
Well…unless you found this site through Google…then Google is the shiznit
But I digress…
Let’s take a guy and name him Joe.
Joe wants abs, and Joe wants abs bad.
He decides to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon on his computer searching for information about how to claim his future six pack.
Brimming with confidence, he enters the phrase “how to get six pack abs” into a Google search…
…and he gets 2 million results! (yes you will really get 2 million if you try it)
Joe thinks to himself…damn I don’t have time to go through all of this crap!
Almost every site Joe clicks on he finds a so-called “guru” who has some snake oil for sale and or boasts that their particular potion, pill, workout, or silly shake thingy is the next fitness revolution.
Joe tells himself to fight it…
He tells himself that it sounds WAY too good to be true…
He reminds himself that he actually has no clue what Dynamic Inertia really means anyway even though he just Googled it…
…but the marketing messages and flashy advertisements are just too powerful.
He gets mesmerized by the flashy videos, the professionally written sales copy, and celebrity testimonials with the beautiful people who made incredible “transformations”…and he just couldn’t resist.
He opens his wallet and buys the “Ab SmokerX 5000″ (hey at least it comes with a nutrition plan and free door attachment so it was a no brainer right?).
Sorry Joe…epic Google fail bro.
Here’s what all of you “Six Pack Joes” out there need to always remember: People have been building world class physiques and sporting six pack abs for hundreds of years.
These old-school dudes didn’t have fancy potions, pills, berries, shake thingies, or cheap door & floor contraptions to do it for them.
I mean, think about it…some of the most jacked dudes on the planet are inmates…yes prisoners!
And prisoners NEVER EVER get to use 100% pure ion exchange whey or invest in high end supplement stacks.
They don’t get to order fancy equipment or gadgets off the internet.
The only choice these guys have is to just keep it old school!
Nothing has really changed since the old days…the fundamentals for getting ripped & jacked have been the same for years.
So save yourself a bunch of time and avoid the deadly trap of “Google Fail”.
Here is a list of 31 simple tips (mostly fundamentals) that will help you reach that goal of sporting a flatter stomach or even six pack abs.
I hope this list spares you a bit of frustration and saves you a ton of time.
1. Clean up your diet. In order to burn fat and reveal your washboard six pack abs, it is important to eat a balanced diet that is made up of protein, healthy fats, and some carbohydrates. Protein helps form the building blocks of muscle and it is probably the most essential macronutrient of them all, mainly because your body burns a ton of calories digesting protein.
Calculating the right amount of carbohydrates to eat can be tricky (and I will have to save this for another post), but a good strategy to use is to eat a moderate amount of carbs throughout the day but eat your largest carb meal of the day post-workout. When you intake carbs post-workout your body quickly absorbs the carbs directly into the muscle tissue, promoting growth. Post-workout carbs also help your muscles recover faster, which will give you better results faster.
Next up on the menu is fat. Now many people believe that eating fat will make you fat (marketing hype really), but in reality, healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as fish oils, nuts, and olive oil will actually help you burn more fat than a low fat diet will. I recommend using a ratio of 20-30% of dietary fat in your diet which will kelp keep insulin levels stable, and help prevent you from eating too many calories from fat.
Lastly, be sure to include plenty of fiber, raw vegetables, and a superfood or two with each meal. Vegetables are jam packed with tons of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which are all essential for building a lean body and ripped six pack abs.
2. Eat every 2-4 hours and be sure to eat 5-7 small meals daily. Eating smaller meals more frequently is a surefire way to boost your metabolism and create a thermogenic effect inside the body. By combining lean protein with the correct types and amounts of green leafy vegetables, good carbs, and fats at the right times, you will super charge your metabolism and turn your body into a 24-7 fat burning machine.
3. Always eat breakfast. This is the most important meal of the day. I know we are all crunched for time, but there are quick & healthy breakfast ideas out there. Trust me, eating breakfast will give your metabolism a daily jump start and keep your fat loss efforts on track all day.
4. Don’t buy sexy food. Keep foods like cookies, cakes, frozen pizzas, etc out of the house at all times. You will be less likely to cheat this way.
5. Prepare your meals in advance. By planning your meals in advance, you will have prepared healthy food to eat throughout the day and be less likely to grab something unhealthy if you get a food craving. To make things easy, it is best to take one day of the week (typically on the weekend) and prepare all of your healthy meals for the week.
6. Pound water. Since our bodies are over 70% water, drinking water is essential for optimal health. Water helps prime the body for fat loss, as well as flush out harmful toxins. Not drinking enough can lead to a water imbalance in the body, which can increase your risk of disease. Drink at least 80-100 ounces of water daily.
7. Don’t keep it 100, keep it 80/20. When training to build a great physique, we so often get caught up in eating proteins and trying to build lean muscle, that in the process we disrupt the natural acid/alkaline balance in the body and become overly acidic. It is hard to train and recover effectively when suffering with the annoying effects of acidosis.
Proteins are acid forming foods and we must eat alkaline forming foods to neutralize the acid wastes from protein consumption. This means that you should probably be eating a bunch more veggies with that chicken breast than you usually do.
Finding a perfect balance can be challenging and confusing at first, but a good way to approach it is to try to maintain an 80% alkaline and 20% acid ratio. That means that in order to maintain a healthy, balanced pH, you need to eat a diet that consists of 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acid forming foods.
8. Be a perimeter whore. Shop the outside isles of the supermarket instead of the middle isles. Most of the fatty, processed, junk foods are kept in the middle isles.
9. Eat before you are starving. If you wait until you are absolutely starving to eat, you will most likely end up overeating.
10. Avoid processed foods. These top my list of foods to avoid because not only will they make you fat, but they can cause a variety of deadly health problems. Processed foods contain no natural antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins, or minerals, and eating them puts a strain on your digestive system.
Processed foods are also very high in sugar, salt, food additives, and toxic fats. The human body was not designed to be able to fully process and digest this type of man-made food so avoid processed foods at all costs for a healthy and lean body. Some examples of processed foods are (white bread, breakfast cereal, chips, white rice, etc). These types of foods have no nutritional value and do absolutely nothing good for your body.
11. Avoid toxic fats. You don’t have to go far these days to hear people talk about the dangers of killer trans fats and saturated fats. In case you have been on the moon for the past few years I will share a few facts about these deadly fats. Trans fats are basically just chemically altered fats and oils.
A few examples of foods laden with toxic fats are: snack bars, breakfast cereals, rolls, pastries, crackers, and many other packaged and processed foods. Like I mentioned earlier, be sure to shop the perimeter of the store because most of the garbage food is in the aisles.
12. Avoid sugary foods & drinks. Lets face it, sugar tastes great, but it WILL make you fat and unhealthy. I call sugar the most powerful drug in the world because it has the most addicts across the world than most other drugs combined! FACT.
Here’s the thing. When you eat sugar, your body creates a cycle that constantly demands more and more sugar. Not only that, but sugar also raises insulin levels!
If you are not familiar with insulin, it is a very powerful hormone that tells your body to store fat. Over time, if you continue to eat sugary foods, your cells will become resistant to this over-production of insulin and you could end up with type 2 diabetes. Sadly, this happens quite often these days.
13. Never eat processed meats. Now I have to admit, I love a great deli sandwich or hot dog at a ball game, but buyer beware. Packaged meats and cold cuts contain nitrates, which many experts believe can cause deadly cancers. Processed meats also contain dangerously high amounts of salt and saturated fats, which can lead to hypertension, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
If that wasn’t bad enough, eating these foods is guaranteed to cause you to gain weight. So avoid foods like bacon, hot dogs, sausage, salami, bologna, and any other processed deli meat like the plague and cook your meat yourself.
14. Discriminate against white flour. White bread and white flour products will make you fat. Plain and simple. Not only do they have no nutritional value, but they are converted to sugar by your body just as fast as cake and ice cream. Eating foods made with white or refined flour is definitely a sure-fire way to add some quick pounds of blubber!
Tip: Be sure to read all bread labels carefully because many clever food manufacturers try to disguise white bread as wheat bread by adding molasses to it so it looks darker. This is a pretty sneaky tactic…but don’t fall for it!
15. Don’t eat a science project. Do you have any idea how many toxic chemicals are in our food supply? Do you realize that these toxins are keeping you fat and unhealthy? Every time you eat processed foods you are also consuming bleaching agents, flavoring agents, chemical preservatives, texturizers, emulsifiers, as well as synthetic dyes.
If that isn’t enough to gross you out, get this, most chemical food additives are made from coal tar or petroleum products!
Most foods that are grown non-organically are likely tainted with harmful toxic chemicals, as well as herbicides and pesticides. These toxins overwhelm the liver, increase your risk of disease, and can also make you fat.
If you value your health and want to be fit, steer clear of foods containing dangerous chemicals.
16. Avoid artificial sweetener hype. If you are like the rest of us, you see food products everywhere in flashy boxes that read “Sugar Free” and think…awesome, I can eat this and not gain weight. Not so fast my friend!
Many of these foods have tons of calories and are LOADED with artificial ingredients. Most people don’t realize this because artificial sweeteners generally have zero calories, but artificial sweeteners can and will make you fat. How is this possible?
First, these fake sweeteners increase your appetite by sending false signals to the brain that sweet food is on the way. Your brain subsequently becomes confused when sweet food never arrives and so it never gives the signal that you are satisfied.
Plus they give you a constant sugar craving that never goes away…it only gets worse! If you have ever drank sugar free crystal light you know exactly what I mean!
Artificial sweeteners are well…artificial, so the body typically sees this “food” as a foreign invader and treats it as such, thus overwhelming the liver with an intense workload.
The liver is very important here because it filters and removes dangerous or unnecessary substances from the body. The problem occurs when the liver is overwhelmed with toxins like artificial sweeteners and it can no longer process the essential nutrients that your body needs to function at its peak.
One of the main functions of the liver is to process fats. However, an overworked liver can’t properly break down fats so you will have a very tough time losing any weight at all if your liver is tired. If you want to lose fat, you need to keep your liver to functioning at its peak.
I prefer to use stevia sweetener instead of the fake stuff. It’s natural, pure, has no calories, and you’ll get none of the awful side effects of fake sweeteners.
17. Eliminate high-fructose corn syrup. Most carbohydrates cause the pancreas to produce insulin, which acts as a signal to the brain to stop you from feeling hungry. When you eat high fructose corn syrup however, the brain never gets this signal so you are more likely to overeat and gain weight. Also, foods with high fructose corn syrup are typically very low in nutritional value and VERY high in calories. Bottom line: this stuff sucks.
18. Take a multi-vitamin. We usually don’t get all of the vitamins and minerals we need from food so taking a good multi-vitamin is a great way to ensure we get these essential nutrients.
19. Never leave the compound. You will never build a gangster physique using a machine or by doing a bunch of isolation exercises. If you want to be a stud, make compound exercises the foundation of your training program. Here is a list of great compound exercises that you should definitely be using:
Legs: Barbell Squat, Lunges, Deadlifts
Shoulders: Military Press, Hang-Clean and Press
Arms: Dips, Close-Grip Pushups
Back: Deadlifts, Pull-ups
Chest: Bench Press, Push-ups
Once you get more advanced with your training you can incorporate olympic lifts such as cleans and snatches into the mix. These two exercises are very demanding and utilize just about every joint in the body. They can also trigger a huge metabolic response within the body, as well as increase strength and balance.
Just remember, the key to getting rock hard six pack abs is to build your body with multi-joint compound exercises and use a solid nutrition plan to keep your abs tight all year. Train for size, diet for cuts. Boom.
20. Don’t be a Forest Gump. I’m sure you have probably heard that the best way to burn fat is to do long duration cardio at a slow to medium pace…
This fat loss method is decent, but there is a much better way. I suggest doing interval workouts combined with abdominal exercises.
Here is an example:
During the active recovery period of your interval workout, perform an ab exercise. For example, if you are doing interval sprints on a stationary bike or treadmill, run for 30 seconds at your maximum speed. Hop off of the machine and immediately perform a set of 20 stability ball crunches. Get back on the machine and crank it back up again.
Repeat 5-8 times.
You can throw in a variety of different ab exercises during this interval session such as leg raises, ab wheels, reverse crunches, the plank, etc.
When it comes to cardio I like to train like an athlete. There is no way I am going to jog extra slow on a treadmill and waste an hour of my life. So just skip the long boring 60 minute cardio sessions on the treadmill and trim that down into 15-20 minutes of high-intensity interval training.
21. Workout smarter not harder. In order to burn fat and develop six pack abs you must workout efficiently, so be sure to maintain maximum intensity and focus for the duration of the training session. Don’t take long rest periods to check out all of the hot girls that are walking by, focus on the task at hand!
22. Don’t be Captain Crunch. Like I said above, compound, multi-joint, total body movements will promote more total fat loss and promote a much bigger muscle building response than crunches and sit-ups ever will.
Personally, I think that it is completely pointless to waste an hour of your time doing hundreds of useless crunches and sit-ups when that hour could be spend doing exercises that are more productive for fat loss.
Working as a fitness model, I generally work abs for about 20 minutes two or three times per week. There is just no reason to work abs any more than this…sometimes I’ll even do a short 6-8 minute ab workout!
23. Focus on the lower abs. Just about every abdominal exercise or motion involves an upper abs contraction. For this reason alone, building the upper abs is usually pretty easy, but as a result the lower abs can get neglected. Focus more on training your lower abs exclusively because lower ab training will still give you amazing upper abs as well.
24. Don’t do reps like a madman. Millions of people unfortunately waste hundreds of thousands of hours in the gym each year doing hundreds of sets of pointless ab exercises. After taking this sort of constant pounding your abs will eventually just stop responding.
Overtraining your abs in this manner can also increase your risk of injury. In order to effectively work your abs and avoid overtraining, keep your reps around 20 or less but add resistance to increase the difficulty level.
25. Avoid side bends. Just like any other muscle, the abs also respond when stimulated with resistance. Unless you want to make your waist wider, avoid side bends at all costs. Skip the dumbbell side bends, weight plate side bends, or any other silly side bend exercise. You do not want to end up with a waist that looks blocky and wide. Who invented those silly exercises anyways…
26. Don’t use twisting movements. Performing twisting movements such as holding a bar across your back and twisting is a good way to injure your back. These types of exercises won’t do you much good and they are more risky than they are effective.
27. Maintain a good tempo. As with any other exercise, ab movements should not be jerky or too fast. A good tempo must be maintained throughout the entire movement. An ideal tempo would be 3-0-1 where the first number refers to the lowering phase of the exercise, the next number is the pause, and the third number is the lift. For example, a crunch done at 3-0-1, you would take 3 seconds to lower yourself, no pause, then one second to crunch upward.
28. Train abs 2-3 times per week max. It can be tempting to train abs everyday but as I said earlier, abs are muscles just like any other. They need time to rest and recover. You can train abs a bit more frequently than you can other muscles but training them more than 2 or 3 times per weekly is just overkill.
29. Go down slowly and maintain strict form. A slow and controlled descent is recommended for ab training. This method will carve deep into your abdominal muscle fibers and help sculpt them.
30. Contract, flex, and squeeze. An often overlooked and underutilized method of enhancing your abdominal training is to not flex the muscles while you train them. You cant just go through the motions, you need to squeeze hard while you perform any ab movement.
31. Train abs with intensity. Give the same level of intensity to your abs that you would your biceps or triceps on a tough day of training. Don’t just throw in a few sets of ab exercises at the end of your workout and call it a day. Abs are a muscle just like any other and must be trained as such.
Let’s make 2011 your best year ever for living large both inside and outside the gym!
P.S. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback please post them in the comments section below. I love to hear from you!