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Abs: Made In the Kitchen

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Yes, you heard me right, “abs are made in the kitchen”.  There are many of you who probably still believe the ultimate myth that crunches create a six pack.  I am here to inform you that you can do sits ups, crunches, abs rollers or any other crazy ab machine all day long and you want get the abs you’ve dreamed of.  Rather, “abs are made in the kitchen” by eating a healthy, low fat diet, that’s it.  If your diet is poor your progress will be extremely slow, no matter how hard you’re working.    After all, it’s a really simple concept.  Another way of conveying this truth is “you can’t out exercise a bad diet”.  

It might be encouraging to know it’s not all about the scale-it’s also about body fat percentage! Some might have weight to lose, others might be toning- which will be reflected by a body fat percentage reading and not on the scale.  Some women can get lean very quick, genetics do play a role!  Regardless, the advice is the same across the board: a controlled diet high in whole grains (>5grams fiber per serving), lean protein (<5 grams per serving), fruits and vegetables and other non-processed foods that create a calorie deficit will get you to your goal more quickly.

Understandably, willpower is not always easy to maintain but tracking your meals daily is easy and affordable (I use tap and track).  As you lose weight, you can build muscle through exercise, thus lowering your body fat percentage.  Achieving wash board abdominals might seem hopelessly unattainable because it doesn’t happen over night.  My advice; set small goals, beginning at the grocery and in your kitchen, document your changes through food records, and stick to it!  Your small milestone successes will add up to your ultimate long-term goal!   Calculated Loss: If you want to lose one pound each week (3500 calories), eat 500 fewer calories per day.  When your body fat percentage reaches approximately 8%, that’s when you start to see those abs.

 It’s hard these days to turn on the T.V. and see a multitude of infomercials, supplement suppliers and well paid spokespeople try to promote a quick fix six pack solution.  Bottom line is the “Law of Thermodynamics” – Weight reduction can only take place when there is more energy burned than consumed. 

 By following a regular clean eating lifestyle in addition to a greater active exercise routine you will lose weight along with fat.  Almost every person has a ‘great set of abs’ hiding beneath a smooth layer of fat.  So lets look at how we can chisel away and reveal those amazing hidden ads.

These are basic guidelines for a properly structured clean eating program:

  • Carbohydrates – a healthy target is 40 to 45 percent of your total calories from carbohydrates. Pasta, rice, beans, fruits, vegetables and whole-grain breads and cereals are good sources.  Rule of thumb is 1 gram per pound of body weight.
  • Protein – a healthy target is 25 to 30 percent of your total calories from protein.  Good protein sources are lean meats, chicken, shellfish, fish, soy, eggs and low-fat milk products.  Rule of thumb is .75 gram per pound of body weight.
  • Fat – a healthy target is 20 to 25 percent of your total calories from healthy fats.  Unsaturated fats, like those in olive oil, nuts, avocados and fish oil, are the healthiest. An emphasis should be placed on obtaining essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish, leafy greens, walnuts, almonds and flax seeds.  Rule of thumb is .25 gram per pound of body weight.
  • Water – a healthy target is a daily water intake of 64 to 80 ounces.  Water needs increase with higher temperatures and humidity, as well as with the consumption of coffee and soda.  Rule of thumb is an average of 1/2 oz of water per pound of body weight.

Diet is the key to success whether you’re trying to gain muscle weight or lose fat.  Eating the proper nutrition is the best way to achieve the 6 pack you’ve always wanted.

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