101 Tips To Get Six Pack Abs (Part 4)
66. Do Squats. Is there a better exercise out there for building your entire body? I think not! Doing squats creates an anabolic environment within the body, gets you stronger, helps you get leaner, and the movement works the entire body. Nuff said.
67. Pay Attention To Your Digestive Health. Many health experts agree that most diseases begin in the gut…and I tend to agree. Everything starts with digestion and maintaining a healthy gut flora balance is incredibly important (especially considering all of the crap that’s in food these days). Unfortunately, digestive health is one of the most overlooked issues in health & fitness today…and it shouldn’t be that way. Honestly, I don’t think that there is a single component thats more important than digestive health when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Seriously. And if you know me at all…you’ll know that I could probably talk about this subject for days on end (I have had my own battles with GI health) but I’ll have to save it for future posts. In the meantime, I strongly suggest you add some probiotics and digestive enzymes to your rotation asap.
68. Eat Plenty Of Fiber. If you’re one of those people who skips out on fiber because you think “you don’t need it” or “that’s for old people” or “it’s embarrassing to take a fiber supplement” stop kidding yourself right now. Not only will fiber keep your bad cholesterol levels down and provide satiety while you diet down but it also drastically improves GI function and digestion. Again, I can’t stress enough how important good digestion is when it comes to maintaining overall health (see #67) and building six pack abs. So be sure to include plenty of fiber with each meal (good sources include: apples, pears, raspberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, oats, spinach, kidney beans, navy beans, and almonds, etc). I recommend eating between 20-25 grams of fiber daily. Note: It can be difficult to get all of the fiber you need from foods sometimes so I highly recommend using a fiber supplement. (You can find the fiber supplement i use here)
69. Never Cook Food With Oil. Never fry foods or use heated oils to cook food. This goes for olive oil as well. I know a lot of people mistakenly believe that cooking with olive oil is somehow healthy…but in reality this practice is quite toxic. Cooking any food using high heat (especially heated oils) can be dangerous because it can lower the nutritional value and make the food almost impossible to digest (see #67). Plus, cooking using heated oils (even olive oil) and frying is also a contributing factor to heart disease, hardening of the arteries, high cholesterol, and even certain cancers. There is a great book detailing the pros and cons of oils called Fats That Heal Fats That Kill by Udo Erasmus. Inside, Dr. Erasmus discusses that manufacturing processes that can turn “healthy fats” into deadly fats; and goes into great detail about the effects these fats can have on your health. This book was a real eye opener for me and I highly recommend it.
70. Don’t Follow The Meathead Diet. I shouldn’t even have to tell you this…but you need to keep variety in your diet. I don’t know about you but eating dry chicken, broccoli, and brown rice six times a day every day flat out sucks! Just don’t do it! Any diet is boring without variety, but even more importantly, when we lack nutritional variety we can’t supply the body with all of the nutrients that it needs to remain healthy, strong, and lean. Most diseases are associated with a nutritional deficiency of some sort so it is very important to add variety to your diet so that you can get the full spectrum nutrients that you need to remain healthy, get stronger, and get ripped six pack abs. If you’re ripped on the outside but also all ripped up on the inside…what’s the point? Trust me on this one meat…
71. Let Nature Work Its Magic To Heal. We tear our bodies down when we exercise. In order to recover efficiently and keep our bodies consistently burning fat and building muscle we must eat properly, get enough sleep, and supply the body with the nutrients that it needs to repair tissue. 5 bucks says you probably already knew this one.
72. Don’t Drink Processed Juice. Let’s face it. If you are older than age 5 and still drinking juice…well it may be time to move out of your grandmothers basement. All jokes aside, packaged juice is pure garbage and loaded with tons of sugar. Just like drinking a large soda, juice will give your blood sugar a huge spike, and then send you crashing down with no energy. Can you say tired all day? Drinking packaged juice is no healthier than drinking Coke or Pepsi. Seriously. (Note: you’re still cool if you’re drinking raw fresh fruit & veggie juice using a juicer!)
73. Avoid Soy & Soy Products. Soy (aka edamame if you’re female) has been hyped up as a “health food” for YEARS but I refuse to eat it. The reason I avoid it is simple: Soy acts as a phytoestrogen, so it is recognized in the body as estrogen. I see no reason to give my body a hormonal surge of estrogen…and I definitely don’t want to disrupt my natural hormone levels. Why risk the man boobs & mood swings? Just saying…
74. Ditch The Microwave. It’s so easy to just fire up the microwave because it’s quick and convenient…but are microwaves actually safe? Some research has shown that cooking food in the microwave causes severe molecular damage to the food…so when you eat that particular food…the food can cause abnormalities in human blood and immune systems. While this research isn’t “100% proven”…microwaves do produce radiation, which is absorbed by water molecules in the food. This makes the water molecules vibrate and produce heat, which essentially heats up the food. Regardless of the safety issue, microwave cooking kills most of the nutrients in the food anyway so if you are trying to eat healthy and get ripped…heating your food up in the microwave defeats the entire purpose. Try steaming your veggies or eating them raw. Perhaps our grandparents had it right when they used to heat our food up in the oven.
75. Don’t Be A Protein Powder Whore. These days it is so easy to get caught up in the hype and become a protein powder whore. I can’t even lie…those supplement ads can really suck you in! But sadly, protein powder doesn’t even come close to a real steak…or a real chicken breast when it comes to bodybuilding nutrition. Sorry! It just isn’t even close. Remember, protein powder is just a supplement like any other and should be used as such. Don’t replace real food with magic powder brochacho.
76. Eat Real Food. This is pretty much a just follow up for #75 above. If you aren’t sure what a ‘REAL FOOD’ is…here is a surefire way to test it out. Just look at the ingredients. If there are more than three or if there is even ONE ingredient that you can’t pronounce or have no idea what it is, chances are that “food” isn’t real. For example, if you’re buying chicken from the grocery store and you look at the packaging and the ingredients say something like this: Chicken breast with rib meat, water, seasoning salt, sugar, food starch-modified, maltodextrin, spices, dextrose, autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed corn gluten, soy, wheat gluten, proteins, caramel color, polysorbate 80, xanthan gum, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chicken fat, chicken broth, natural flavors (plant and animal source),extractives of paprika, modified potato starch, and sodium phosphates, etc…you’ll know it fails the eye test. Don’t buy it!
77. Shop Like A Cave Man. When you go to the grocery store…try to look for foods that would have only been available to our ancestors thousands of years ago. That means you should try to stock up on lean meats (preferably grass fed meats), organic veggies & fruit, whole grains like oatmeal, and raw nuts. If you feed your body real food like this, you’ll be well on your way to that magazine cover level physique you can be proud of.
78. Don’ Be A Fitness Freak. Are you one of those ‘fitness freaks’ who gets really anal and eats 12.7 almonds at each meal or weighs everything you eat including protein powder down to the ounce? I can tell you right now that if I had to live like this I would just give up trying to be healthy right this second. Life is supposed to be fun…and living life like that would totally suck! That’s why I use the KISS method when it comes to nutrition. Keep-It-Simple-Stupid! There is no reason to complicate your nutrition to the point to where it takes over your life and you start freaking out if you ate 13 almonds instead of 12.7! Will that 0.3 of an almond really destroy your entire diet plan? REALLY?!?! What I usually do is just portion out my foods. I’ll have some protein (chicken, bison, fish, etc) that’s about the size of my fist, then about a cup of carbs like oats or yams, a dash of fat, and unlimited veggies. It’s so easy a cave man could do it! (See #77)
79. Don’t Always Trust Bodybuilders. Most bodybuilders are good people…and I have a ton of great friends who are bodybuilders. However, the fact remains, many of the top bodybuilders in the world use steroids and other physique enhancing drugs to achieve their world class physique. I don’t judge people who choose to use drugs…that’s just part of the game. One of the things that bothers me, however, is when I see people promoting supplements and preaching training and lifestyle methods other than what they use themselves. I’m sure you have heard it all before…lift heavy…eat big…take creatine…get 8 hours of sleep…train hard…eat clean…etc etc bla bla. Honestly, none of that mumbo jumbo ever worked for me. I did my own thing! Listen, you can’t always listen to your heroes. Most of the top bodybuilders all use steroids and other drugs to push their physiques past their genetic limits. Like I said before…this doesn’t mean that they are bad people…taking drugs is just what they have to do to be competitive in the bodybuilding industry. The moral of the story is…what works for them probably won’t always work for you.
80. Don’t Always Trust Fitness Models. Before all of the bodybuilders who got mad over #79 try to bash me for being honest I’m going to call myself out before you have the chance Listen up people. Fitness models are good people, but they have a job to do. They get paid to promote products. Period. Did that fitness model get ripped using the supplement that they are no sponsored by? It’s doubtful. Does the product from the infomercial work as advertised? Maybe. Did the fitness model use the product in order to get ripped? Probably not. Should you buy the Ab Blaster 9000 because Fitness Model ‘X’ said it was awesome while exhaling and wiping his or her brow and perfectly simulating exhaustion from a real workout? That’s your call. (ps – that exhaustion scene was probably rehearsed and shot 50 times or more before they got it “just right”). Whew! Don’t sue me.
81. Stop ‘Dieting’ And Just Eat Healthy. When you begin a diet, you have failed on day one. Why? Because a diet is a short term solution to a long term problem. I don’t care how ripped you got from your diet…if you lost 25 pounds on the diet and then rebounded and gained 35 pounds back later…sorry but that’s an epic fail. People are so caught up these days with their diets and even brag about them as if being on any particular diet is a badge of honor. “Ooo I’m on Paleo…or Ooo I’m on Atkins…or Ooo I’m on The BloodType diet…or Ooo I’m on World Famous Trainer X contest prep diet…the list goes on and on. Honestly though it’s not that serious. I always laugh at all of the ridiculousness I see and hear about what and how people are eating these days. Just friggin eat healthy people. It’s that simple! (See #70, 76, 77)
82. Eat Bison. I highly recommend eating bison once or twice per week, because it provides the body with a variety of essential vitamins and minerals plus a ton of amino acids (primarily carnosine and carnitine which can aid in energy metabolism and fat oxidation). Don’t get caught up though and start pounding bison every day to try and “beat the system”…the gastro intestinal and cardiovascular backlash could be huge from the red meat overload. Be smart about it. (see #67)
83. Use Stevia As A Sweetener. When it comes to sweeteners, Stevia has a TON of benefits over other types of sweeteners. For one, it has a long line of safety data to back up its use and it doesn’t pose any added risks for diabetes and insulin resistance like some other sweeteners can. And two, when you’re dieting down to get ripped six pack abs, you’ll probably end up getting a nasty sweet tooth. Stevia can help you fight through the nastiest sugar cravings without posing any added health risk. Add Stevia to your healthy kitchen arsenal asap.
84. Achieve Protein Synthesis. If you want to build six pack abs…you’ve got to train with intensity. The downside to this is that intense exercise can cause muscle damage. Bummer. This damage is the result of catabolic hormones released in response to exercise and mechanical stress to your muscle fibers…combined with the depletion of glycogen. Got all that? Good. If you’re still with me…this means that the nutrients you ingest immediately following your workout can significantly impact how you recover. If you fail to optimize your post exercise nutrition, your muscles remain in a state of constant breakdown for hours on end…and you definitely don’t want that to happen. As an added sour note…when your muscle fibers are damaged, muscle glycogen replenishment is dramatically reduced. So you may also get incredibly sore. And that sucks. Big time. But there is good news though. (No I didn’t just save a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico). The good news is that you can help reduce muscle damage and soreness simply by consuming a combo of carbohydrate and protein before and after you workout. This unique pre workout combo helps to prevent some of the muscle damage that happens during exercise and in the hours following your workout. Sorry if you were expecting some groundbreaking new revelations here. It’s actually quite simple…just like the rest of these tips. I recommend using post workout protein & carb ranges between 0.4 to 0.6g carbs/lb body weight, and 0.1 to 0.3g protein/lb body weight.
85. Listen To Your Body. If you’re hungry…eat. If you’re not…don’t. If you’re thirsty…drink. If you’re not…don’t. If you’re sleepy…go to bed. If not…stay up. If you’re too sore, injured, etc to workout…stay home. If you’re craving fruit…you probably need the nutrients. If you think this tip is silly…you’re probably an idiot. Just sayin!
Thanks for reading. Please leave your questions and comments below.