21. Don’t Be A Diet Nazi. Be sure to add variety to your diet and throw in some delicious healthy recipes instead of eating boring chicken, asparagus, and brown rice every meal. Gross.
22. Eat More Fruit. Don’t listen to the idiots who advise against eating fruit when trying to get lean. Most of them probably have awful constipation, vitamin & mineral deficiencies, and a 3rd grade level knowledge of nutrition. The sugar, or fructose you consume in fruit will not dictate whether you’re successful at losing fat and getting ripped. If you’re eating clean calories, and getting sufficient amounts of protein, vegetables, and fibrous carbs, then 3 to 5 servings of fruit per day (my recommended amount) is not going to prevent you from losing belly fat and getting ripped. In fact, it will help the cause.
23. Drink Raw Juices. It’s no secret that raw fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and many other powerful nutrients (including phytochemicals which have been shown to even fight cancer). If you have been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that I recommend eating at least 50% of your food raw. Honestly, it is just healthier that way. Raw veggies are full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fiber, and bulk because they are “living” foods. As an added bonus, there are 20 active vitamins needed by your body as well as 17 minerals and trace elements and raw fruits & veggies can provide them all. The most efficient way to consume these nutrients is via raw juices so go out, grab a juicer, and get crackin.
24. Pound Veggies. Following up on #23 above, I shouldn’t really need to remind you how important veggies are for your health and physique but here are a few reasons to start eating more veggies asap just in case you’ve been living on mars for the past 1000 years...
Green vegetables like asparagus, spinach, leafy greens, zucchini, and broccoli typically contain important stuff like beta-carotene, calcium, folate, vitamin C, calcium, chlorophyll, lutein, fiber, and zeaxanthin.
Orange & Yellow vegetables, like carrots, yellow peppers, and yellow squash are loaded with vitamin C, lycopene, potassium, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and flavonoids.
Purple & Blue vegetables, like purple cabbage and blackberries are chock full of nutrients like vitamin C, flavonoids, fiber, ellagic acid, lutein, quercetin, and zeaxanthin.
Red vegetables like red peppers and radishes contain powerful nutrients such as lycopene, ellagic acid, quercetin, and hesperidin, to name a few.
And lastly, white vegetables like garlic, ginger, onions, and shallots are loaded with EGCG, beta-glucans, lingans, and SDG that provide powerful immune boosting activity.
25. Don’t Trust The Burn. Don’t rate the effectiveness of any particular ab exercise based on the level of the “burn” you feel while doing the exercise. Your six pack abs development strategy should not consist of doing a ton of reps, “feeling the burn” and then “feeling sore”. Sure, this strategy may make perfect sense based on common logic, but it is highly ineffective when analyzed using biomechanics.
26. Defy Logic & Use “Non-Ab” Exercises. There are a ton of exercises that strengthen and shape the core…and surprisingly…most of the best ones aren’t even traditional ab exercises. A few good examples of these “non-ab” exercises that will help improve your six pack abs are back squats, chin-ups, power shrugs, sumo deadlift to curls, thrusters, depth jumps, jump squats, and front squats. Get on it.
27. Cycle your carbs. For example, have a High Carb Day, followed by two medium carb days, and one no carb day and continue that cycle for 30 days until you notice fat loss. I will discuss carb cycling in more detail in the next installment.
28. Avoid False Health Foods. Not everything at Whole Foods is healthy, and many products labeled as “health foods” can significantly increase your risk of developing degenerative diseases like arthritis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes…as well as increase your belly fat. Watch out for imposters and be sure to read all labels carefully.
29. Eat Living Not Dead Foods. In other words, eat foods that are “alive” and unaltered by man. A perfect example is fresh organic spinach. It grows from the ground and man doesn’t make it in a food processing plant. Living foods (like fresh spinach) will improve your health and dead foods (aka man made “dead foods” like processed cookies) will take away from your health. Your body can use the natural antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins, and minerals found in unaltered living foods to keep you healthy as well as keep your body functioning at its peak. Consuming living foods regularly is very important when trying to get ripped.
30. Respect Your Liver. As stated above, man made foods are dead foods…and the consistent consumption of dead man made foods (i.e. processed cookies, cakes, donuts, chips, sugary drinks, etc) wreaks havoc on the human body. Not only are these types of foods generally very toxic, but they are almost instantly stored as fat. Your body also views substances like bleaching agents, alcohol, many over the counter drugs, food additives, preservatives, and chemicals as foreign invaders and processing these foods puts an intense burden on your liver. The liver has several metabolic functions (including glucose metabolism, protein metabolism, waste metabolism, fat metabolism, detoxification, bile production, and more) so if your liver isn’t functioning at its peak…or is slowed down due to ingested toxins…your fat loss and muscle building efforts will suffer. So be sure to avoid all foods that put additional stress on the liver so it can function properly and keep you healthy, strong, and lean.
31. Train For Your Body Type. If you’re 6 foot 2 and 170 lbs your fat loss plan will be much different than someone who is 5 foot 10 and weighs 250. Always remember: what works for one may not work for another.
32. Rage Against The Machine. Keep it real…you know you can’t sprint outside on a track at full output for 60 seconds straight ten times in a row. Can you? So why pretend your “60 second sprint” treadmill interval workout is effective? Who are you kidding? Get outside and get moving!
33. Avoid False Prophets. Regardless of what the nerdy dude who reviews every study tells you, certain techniques to get ripped have worked for countless people and will continue to work until the end of time. Website owners and trainers who have no abs…and who tell you not to do stuff that has worked for thousands of ripped people over the course of history need not be taken seriously. In fact, you should laugh at them.
34. Always Train To Get Stronger. I remember when men still trained like men and when people moved big iron to gain size and strength. I remember when they used to walk or run on off days to maintain their conditioning and bodyfat levels. Nobody did four weekly 30 minute circuits of swings, burpees and snatches. You know why? Because that shit makes you small and weak, pumps you full of cortisol, destroys your joints, and negatively affects your strength training. Just like my dude Jason Ferruggia says, “It ain’t strength training unless you’re gettin’ strong“. Quit doing these over hyped, over marketed, wussy style “fat loss” circuits to try and get ripped and load up the bar like a real man.
35. Focus On Health First and Looks Second. Sure it would be cool to sport rock hard six pack abs and have everyone give you nice compliments and comments 24-7 but what’s the point if you ruin your health in the process? Don’t be one of the ripped posers who gets “ripped” using unhealthy methods and ends up taking 10 years off of his or her life doing it. Focus on your health first and let the “physical chips” fall where they may. Cheaters never prosper. Health is wealth. You get the point. (That could have made a cool rap song)
36. Do Cardio Outdoors. Don’t be one of those people who drives 30 minutes across town to go walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike at the gym for 30 minutes. What is the friggin point of that?! Why not just hop on a real bike and ride outside? You’ll save yourself at least an hour of time and get a better workout in the process. It’s BASIC.
37. Too Much Cardio Can Make You Fat. Moderate to high intensity steady state cardio can cause surges in cortisol which can lead to massive losses in size and strength. Try to do moderate to high intensity cardio 2-3 days per week max for around 30 minutes each session and try to avoid the conventional 5-7 days of moderate to high intensity cardio per week at 60 minutes per session.
38. Do Cardio Before Breakfast. There is no need to get overly scientific on this one because this is definitely a no brainer. Hint: most of the top fitness models and bodybuilders in the world all do their cardio in the morning before eating breakfast. Just FYI…by the time you finish reading, analyzing, and processing all of the studies out there regarding this topic you could have already finished your morning cardio workout and been one step closer to getting ripped. Don’t ask dumb questions, just friggin do it.
39. Cardiovascular Health Wins. Don’t be one of those lame meatheads who only lifts weights and ignores all the other components of fitness. Walk, run, hike, bike, play pickup basketball, flag football, etc for at least 30 minutes several times per week. Your heart will thank you in the end. Trivia question: if you and a steroided out 275 pound “bodybuilder” who can barely run for 30 feet are both getting chased by a bear…who do you think the bear will run down and eat first? Exactly.
40. Wear A Weight Vest. A brisk 30 minute walk with a weight vest is a great cardiovascular workout, especially when walking hills. Do it!
41. Drag A Sled. This is another form of cardio that burns a ton of calories, builds muscle, and isn’t the slightest bit boring (or easy). Do it!
42. Avoid Being Too Detail Oriented. Sure it’s cool to follow your workout and diet program to a tee, but there is no such thing as the perfect program. Sometimes you need to just step your game up and put in work. Stop worrying about doing or eating the perfect amount of sets, reps, calories, etc. Who cares.
Thanks for reading. Please leave your questions and comments below.