I’ve been home on Cape Cod for a few days now, and I’ve already been asked from friends and relatives for a few tips on what to train, how to train, how to build muscle, how to lose weight, etc.
I had one friend tell me that he’s doing all kinds of crazy ab workouts and tons of sit ups but can’t get rid of his gut. I had another person ask me how to spot-reduce his…um…back fat. I have a hunch that if these two have this viewpoint, there’s gotta be quite a few of you out there that think the same way.
Craig Ballantyne, internet fitness guru, had this as his Fcebook status the other day: “Traditional “crunch” type ab exercises are useless – they are a JOKE. Today I saw a homeless guy in downtown Toronto with a six pack (abs, that is). You think he ever did a crunch? Gimme a break. He had abs because he had low body fat. So s…ave your time and skip the ridiculous “ab workouts” that get hyped.”
If your main goal is to end up with abs, or you want to get the fat off your thighs or back or stomach, specific targeted exercises won’t work. The muscle and fat in your body are two different systems. You can build up your muscles all you want, but you won’t be able to see them until you get rid of the fat covering those muscles.
Want to get rid of that fat? You’ve heard of the 80/20 rule right? When it comes to ‘getting in shape,’ your diet is king. If this homeless guy can have a six pack, it isn’t because he’s following the p90x workout. It’s because he’s not eating crap (well, he’s probably not eating much). What does that mean for you? It means you can’t outrun your fork, and you can’t outrun a bad diet.
All of those sodas, double cheeseburgers, sugary cereals, Twinkies, pizza, Taco Bell, deep fried chicken, and hot dogs won’t allow you to get rid of that gut. You need to get your body fat percentage to drop, and the fat will come off your body all over. It might come off your arms and legs first, then your outer thighs, and then your stomach. The moral of the story is, you can’t control where that weight comes off because it’s fat. You can build up your muscles by training specific parts of your body, but you can’t spot reduce fat.
Want to see those abs? Eat better! Want to get rid of the fat around your mid section? Eat better! Want to remove the fat off your legs? Eat better!
- Eat a high protein diet: chicken, fish, lean ground beef.
- Lots of vegetables: eat all the green stuff you want. They’re filling, full of fiber, and low on calories. Find a few that you love, and eat the **** out of them. I’m a big asparagus guy.
- Lots of fruits: strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, apples, blackberries, raspberries, and more. I buy bags of frozen strawberries from Trader Joe’s or the HUGE bag from Sam’s Club. They’re cheap, they go great in a blender
- Processed sugar and simple carbs are your enemy: processed sugar, junk food, simple carbs (like white bread, white rice, etc.), and Soda. Get it out of your diet! Get rid of it.
Health is not accomplished in 8 minutes from some DVD. Fitness isn’t achieved from jogging half a mile every other day. It’s a lifestyle change. It’s making a decision every morning to eat right and stay strong. There’s no simple solution to a flat stomach, there’s no miracle exercise to thinner legs, there’s no easy fix to a healthy figure. It takes hard work, common sense, and dedication!