Monday, October 25, 2010

6 Pack Abs Exercise

What is the best exercise for getting 6-pack abs? This post will hopefully help answer that question. Here's an article from Mike Geary, the author of The Truth About Abs, my #1 selling fat loss/abs program.

What is the Best Ab Workout for Belly Fat Loss?
by Mike Geary

The answer to the age-old question of "What is the best ab workout for losing stomach fat?" is...

None! Ab workouts alone don't create enough of a metabolic response in your body to create fat loss.

As a trainer, nutrition specialist, and fitness professional, I often get asked what the best types of exercises and workouts are for losing stubborn stomach fat in order to bring out visible six pack abs. The problem is that most people with excess stomach fat looking to try to uncover their abs are searching for some "miracle abdominal workout" that is going to slash the fat off their abs in no time.

The thing is... they are going about the problem entirely the wrong way! The truth is that you don't lose stomach fat by doing ab workouts.

The problem is that focusing most of your time and effort on abdominal exercises and abs workouts to try to flatten your stomach and bring out 6-pack abs is simply wasting your time from doing the correct workout programs that will actually reduce your body fat for good.

If I were to choose an answer as to what the best exercises are for losing belly fat, my answer would include full body exercises such as the following:

various forms of squats, lunges, deadlifts, clean & presses, snatches, swings, presses and pulls, mountain climbers, sprinting, etc.

These types of full body exercises would encompass a much higher percentage of the workouts I would design instead of abs exercises directly targeting the midsection. The way you combine those full body exercises into a strategic workout that maximizes your metabolism is also very important.

Don't get me wrong... I do recommend a certain amount of exercises that directly target the abs and core, but these are only a small fraction of the programs I design for my clients as your time is better spent focusing on the full body exercises that stimulate the greatest hormonal and metabolic changes within the body. In addition, a side-effect of working out using mostly full body multi-joint combo exercises are that you indirectly work your entire midsection even though you are not specifically targeting the abs.

Keep in mind that the most important factor for losing belly fat to see your abs is actually in the nutrition arena. No matter how hard you workout, if your diet is full of junk, then your abdominals will be covered with ugly fat. Nutrition is without a doubt the "king of getting a six pack".

So let's clear this up for good...

Stop wasting so much of your time focusing on situps, crunches, leg raises, and all those silly worthless "ab contraptions" in your efforts to try to develop 6-pack abs. Instead focus on high intensity full body lifts using combination multi-joint exercises all strategically combined into highly effective fat loss workouts. Couple that with a healthy diet full of natural unprocessed whole foods as close to their natural state as possible, and those elusive six-pack abdominals will yours in no time!

Check out Truth About Abs for more of my key strategies for getting flat sexy 6-pack abs for life.



Note--you can read my review of Geary's program here:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Muscle Tips

Want some simple tips for building muscle?  Here's another article from Jason Ferruggia, creator of Muscle Gaining Secrets (one of the programs I endorse here on my blog).  I love this list because it is simple and most of these things could be applied by the average trainee.  Sometimes we just make things too complicated.

The Top Ten Muscle Building Tips

By Jason Ferruggia

1. Lift weights for no more than three to four days per week. Doing so is not only unnecessary but can quickly lead to over-training, especially if you are doing other physical activities such as cardio or playing recreational sports on a regular basis.

2. Limit your workouts to 30-45 minutes and 15-20 total sets. If you can't build muscle and gain strength in that time frame then I’d say you are half assing it. You have to remember that results are greatest when energy levels and mental focus are at their highest. That is during the first 30-45 minutes of your workout. Going beyond that point causes both of these to plummet.


3. Use big, compound exercises and lift heavy. Deadlifts, military presses, squats, bench presses, rows and chin ups should always be the main focus of your muscle building workout programs. These have been the best muscle building exercises since the beginning of time and that will never change.

4. Continually try to get stronger and always track your progress with a training journal. Progressive overload is the most basic but often forgotten principle in weight training. It states that to make progress you need to constantly increase the amount of weight you lift. Follow this rule and you will get bigger and stronger. Ignore it and you will get nowhere. If you are benching 225 right now, you better be benching 315 by this time next year if you want to build muscle.


Go to Muscle Gaining Secrets for more muscle building tips.  

5. Train with a multitude of rep ranges. Doing this allows you to target both slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibers and maximizes your muscle building capabilities. Reps from 1-20 should be used to target both fast twitch and slow twitch fibers.

6. Always change your weight training program every 3-4 weeks. After 3-4 weeks on the same program you will start to burn out and your results will slow down. To keep your body in a muscle building state, be sure to change your workouts frequently. If you have been lifting for several years, this may need to be done every two weeks because you will adapt more rapidly to the same stimulus.


7. Make a serious commitment to eating. Proper nutrition plays a huge role in your muscle building efforts. Without adequate calories you will never grow optimally. Force feed yourself if you have to and be sure to time your carbs correctly, meaning around training and at breakfast, while cutting them out at night if you want to stay lean while building muscle.


8. Be sure to get at least 8-10 hours of sleep per day and take naps whenever possible. When you are sleeping is when you are building muscle. Sleep is the time when you recover and grow. Without adequate sleep you will never reach your true potential and your muscle building efforts in the gym may be wasted. Do not overlook this important factor.


9. Utilize recovery methods. Training and eating properly are not enough to ensure the fastest muscle building results. You also have to be sure to use whatever recovery methods you can to accelerate your progress. Some of these include taking contrast showers or baths after training, stretching after training and on off days, icing, using foam rollers and whatever else you can think of to help you recover faster.

10. Find a good training partner. While I left this for last on the list it may, in fact, be the most important factor of them all. Without a good training partner your results will always be less than what they could be. It is imperative that you try to find someone to push you and to compete against if you really want to take your muscle building efforts to the next level.



Muscle Gaining Secrets
Jason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more great muscle building information, please visit Muscle Gaining Secrets.

Note:

You can read my review of the program here: Muscle Gaining Secrets Review

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Good Carb, Bad Carb

So far my all-time best selling program here is Mike Geary's Truth About Abs. Mike Geary has put together an incredibly effective program for getting rid of stomach fat and achieving a lean, healthy body. This is one of his articles explaining the difference between a good carb and a bad carb. Read it and learn how to eat for your fat loss goals:

There has been so much confusion about the topic of good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates in recent years... I wanted to help clear up some of that confusion for you and set you on a clearer path to lifelong fat loss success and healthier eating.

First of all, although I am not a "low carb" believer (I certainly don't think extremely low carbohydrate diets are healthy), I do believe that one of the main reasons that the vast majority of people struggle to ever lose weight is that they are over-consuming processed refined carbohydrates such as pasta, bagels, breads, cereals, rice, muffins, sodas, juices, candies, crackers, etc.

It is exceedingly hard to lose weight if you are over-consuming any of these types of refined processed carbohydrates (even if you work out extremely hard). In addition to causing big blood sugar swings and insulin surges that stimulate direct body fat storage, eating too many carbohydrates also increases your cravings and overall appetite.

Even carbohydrate sources that most people think are "healthy" really are just excess calories that do not really contain significant nutrient density... and many types of breads and cereals claim to be "whole grain" through clever marketing although in reality, the first ingredient in them is refined flour, which is just going to spike your blood sugar and create an insulin surge. After years of eating excess processed carbohydrates, it becomes harder and harder for insulin to do it's job and continue handling all of this blood sugar, and insulin resistance and eventual type 2 diabetes can occur in many people.

My opinion on this is that the majority of people struggling to lose weight would get much better results by following these types of guidelines:

1. Reduce overall grain-based foods in your diet (pasta, cereal, crackers, rice, etc) and focus more of your diet on healthy free range, grass-fed meats and eggs, raw grass-fed dairy, and a whole lot of vegetables.

2. Instead of grains for most of your carbohydrate intake, try getting most of your carbs from veggies, sweet potatoes, and a variety of berries and whole fruits (NOT fruit juices, which remove the beneficial fiber as well as other important nutrients in the fruit)

3. If you are going to get any grains at all, focus on the most nutrient dense and fibrous portions of the grain... the bran and the germ. This means that the healthiest ideas are using oat bran instead of oat meal, and using wheat germ and rice bran by adding them to your salads, yogurt, cottage cheese, soups, smoothies, etc. This way you get all of the most nutrient dense parts of the grains without all of the excess starches and calories.

4. To replace the void if you are accustomed to consuming large quantities of cereals, bread, pasta, and other carbohydrate sources... try filling that void with additional healthy fats such as avocados, guacamole, nuts, seeds, nut butters as well as healthy proteins such as grass-fed raw dairy and grass fed meats, whole free-range organic eggs, etc. Healthy fats and protein sources go a long way to satisfying your appetite, controlling proper blood sugar and hormone levels, and helping you to make real progress on weight loss for life.

With all of that said, here's one of my favorite carbohydrate sources that is high in fiber as well as contains a high density of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals... it is yams and/or sweet potatoes. Try slicing them into thin slivers and sauteeing them with a few tablespoons of water in a pan for about 5 minutes for a quicker healthy carb (instead of baking them for over an hour). Finish them off with a touch of grass-fed organic butter and some cinnamon and you've got a delicous and healthy carbohydrate side dish!

For more unique exercise and diet techniques for losing your stubborn stomach fat, go to Truth About Abs.