In Search Of The Six-Pack
Q: What does it take for me to lose my pot belly and get "six pack" abs?
A: Bulging biceps are attention-grabbing and a well-defined chest is always impressive, but nothing screams sex appeal on a man like chiseled abdominal muscles.
If looking good and exuding sex appeal aren't enough to motivate you to shed the belly fat, here's a sobering fact that will: Men with low abdominal fat have a significantly lower risk of heart disease and diabetes than those with "pot bellies." Excess abdominal fat is dangerous and unhealthy.
A "six-pack" midsection is the crowning achievement of a truly fit man. From Michelangelo's famous statue of David to the pages of the world's top fitness magazines, images of the perfect male body always reflect sculptured abs.
We all want them, of course, but washboard abdominals seem to be just out of reach for the average Joe who is more likely to drink a six-pack than create his own. The formula to a tight midsection is no secret at all: it's all about proper nutrition and exercise.
Take a clean, healthy diet, add the right combination of exercises and physical activity, throw in a lot of self-discipline together with hard work and you, too, can be the envy of Sebastian Beach.
Nutrition is the key. Whoever said "Abs are made in the kitchen," was (pardon the pun) absolutely right! No matter how many crunches or sit-ups you do, your abs won't show until your body fat is 10% or lower (American men aged 30-45 average have around 17% body fat). Therein lies the battle.
Begin by cutting out:
Processed "junk" food
Fried foods including French fries
Sodas and other sugar-laden soft drinks
Anything made from refined flour such as pastries, cakes and white bread.
Replace these with six small meals a day comprising lean protein (such as turkey and chicken breast), complex carbohydrates (such as legumes, leafy vegetables and whole grains), healthy fats (found in avocados, olive oil and nuts) as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. Increase your exercise and activity levels and the fat will fall off as your burn more calories than you consume.
David Zinczenko, editor-in-chief of Men's Health and author of "The Abs Diet," recommends 12 Superfoods which he promises will give you "all the vitamins, minerals and fiber you need for optimal health while triggering muscle growth and firing up your body's natural fat burners."
These are: Almonds and other nuts; Beans and legumes; Spinach and other green vegetables; Dairy (fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese); Instant oatmeal (unsweetened, unflavored); Eggs; Turkey and other lean meats; Peanut butter; Olive oil; Whole grain breads and cereals; Extra protein whey powder; and Raspberries and other berries.
Drink lots of water, get eight hours of sleep and make exercise - both cardiovascular (jogging, walking) and strength training - one of your life's new priorities.
Tip of the Week
When executing any type of row, remember to keep a natural arch to your back and your upper body rigid. Rounding your back during rowing movements is bad form and can lead to injuries.