Posts Tagged ‘diet and exercise’

Article written by Prograde author, Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES

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What do you think is the most popular New Year’s resolution for this year – and pretty much every other year?

Give up?

It’s to get a six-pack!

You see it every day when you hit the gym… The people doing endless crunches, sit-ups, and bicycle crunches because they want to get the flat stomach or rippling six-pack…

But the truth is:  They are doing it all WRONG! Doing hundreds of crunches – over and over again – will NOT get you’re the flat midsection you’re dying to have.

So what happens then? You lose all gumption…you lose your motivation…you quit when you’re just getting started!

So here’s the deal…

I am going to give you a blueprint – one that if you use it in combination with a bulletproof diet – then you too, could have the flat midsection or rippling six-pack to show the world!

The Secret to Six-Pack Abs

If you search the internet, over 3,000,000 results will come up in regards to getting a six-pack.

Some of the tips are good…while others may not be so good.

If you really want to get a six-pack this year, then you need to do the following:

1) Eat a healthy diet – this is the most crucial step in stripping away the small – or thick – layer of fat that is covering your belly.

You should be focusing your efforts on lean cuts of meat, whole fruits and vegetables, essential fats (coconut oil, olive oil, and Krill oil), and plenty of healthy carbs.

These foods may go a long way to boosting your metabolism and stripping away the fat that is covering your six-pack.

2) You need to exercise – this is another crucial step in the six-pack process.  Now, before you think your exercise plan should contain hundreds – if not thousands – of crunches, think again!

There are plenty of other exercises that you may be able to do that could lead you to a stronger core and lower back.

And this could eventually lead to a six-pack!

So what exercises should you do? Well, you should be focusing on exercises that help stabilize your and build strength in your lower back, hips, abs, and all the other supporting muscle groups.

One of the best exercises for accomplishing this is (drumroll please)…


This is one of the most fundamental exercises that taxes almost every muscle in your body – but especially the core.

The best part of the plank:  Anyone can do them!

Some may have to start at a different point them others, but most people should be able to the plank for developing the core.

The plank is an exercise that can be changed to make it harder (feet position) or to put stress on different areas of the core (1-arm plan reach).

So, here’s what you need to do to start off the plank:

First, you should start in the push-up position (can be done from the knees as well).  Bend your elbows so they are at a 90 degree angle with your weight now resting on your forearms.

Now , straighten your legs so you are in full push-up position with your hips parallel to the floor, with your body in a straight line from your head to your feet.

Tuck your belly in towards your spine and maintain a tight core throughout the exercise.

For beginners, you should focus on holding it as long as you can,  It could be 10 seconds or 30 seconds, whatever the time, you’re working on getting your core stronger which will help with almost every aspect of your life.

But what happens if you can’t hold it for a long time?

It’s okay if you can’t hold it for a long time…

The more you practice and the more you do it, the stronger your core will become.

That means no more back pain…

A stronger core that keeps the fat OFF your belly…

And an easier time doing every day activities like playing with your kids or going hiking!

Take Home Message

Let’s recap right now what you have learned today…

First, in order to get a flatter belly you need to include the right foods in your diet.  No sugar…no processed junk…and no additives of any kind (including HFCS).

Then you need to exercise!  A program that includes strengthening, cardio, high intensity training (not for everyone), and flexibility is a great, well-rounded workout.

If you notice, I didn’t mention crunches or sit ups!  If you want to maintain a strong core – one that fat melts off of – you should include the plank into your exercise program.

This is one of the BEST exercises for developing the core WITHOUT putting an abundant amount of stress on crunches.

This one exercise could make everything in your body stronger – including your abs!

So, if you want a flat belly, start using these helpful tips today!

I’m proof that if you want to accomplish something, it can be done. A year ago, I was getting ready for the trip to Honduras and although I could complete an Insanity workout, I couldn’t run a mile without feeling like I was going to die. Just one year later, I competed in my 5th obstacle race. Twice! A 7K with 20+ obstacles at :58 and 1:04, while having fun both times!

Not stellar times, but the fact that I could do that is mind-boggling to me!

I’m not saying it was easy, but if YOU want to experience change, understand that you’ll need to feel discomfort in order to grow and change.  Henry James said, “Deep experience is never peaceful’.  It’s so true.

Physical, mental, and emotional development comes from learning how to reach your limits, knowing what if feels like, finding out how you react to it, then learning how to pass them by adapting yourself.

It’s about taking on challenges that make you find your actual limits, not the ones your mind tells you they are.

This is how adaptation works.  Want to run a fast mile?  Then you will have to run many, many miles – all of which need to be far from peaceful – each full of lung bursting and leg numbing intensity.

Want to lose one pound? You will have to eat a proper meal. And exercise. And rest. Not one time. Many, many times – until it becomes a way of life.

Michael Jordan didn’t get good at throwing free throws because he did it occasionally.  He did it hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of times!  See a recurring theme yet?

Every time you look in the mirror and find that you aren’t happy with what you see, you have a decision to make.  Find a way to change or don’t.

If you decide to change, you have to get your mind right.  You have to understand that to change years of sedentary or lackadaisical habits in a short amount of time, it won’t be easy.  You shouldn’t expect it to be easy. Period.

If you look for success via a shortcut, you will lose out somewhere else. Real change is an entire package.

Just because you lose weight through a pill or surgery, you won’t be “fit”.

If you don’t have to force yourself to face struggles and failures, your mind AND body won’t be able to deal with it when the surgery is over and the pills run out.

I’ve been told that I’m “so extreme” with my workouts and nutrition.  I just shake my head.

If people only knew my family history of heart problems, hypertension, how our bodies react to stress, and an improper diet, they wouldn’t think my methods were extreme at all.  You can’t fight a raging fire with a squirt gun. Just as I’m not going to prevent a heart attack by eating one clean meal once a week. I’ve got to attack my issues head on, with a vengeance, like my life depends on it – because it does.

It’s as simple as that.

Yes, my WODs are crazy, but it didn’t start out that way. I followed the example of people before who have succeeded in doing what I want to do.  I copied what what those ‘fit’ people did and found a way to make their methods work for me and throw away what didn’t.

The King brothers, Isaac and Sloan. Benjamin Lundquist, the youth pastor at my church, Arnel Ricafranca, the awesomely fit Filipino dude on youtube, and the numerous weight loss success stories on and  They’ve all inspired me.  If you can find people like that who will help inspire you, it will definitely help guide your efforts.

Bottom line: Being ‘fit’ is all up to you.

“If you want something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”.

Some of the members from Team “Strictly Hardcore Fitness” at the end of the Toronto Spartan Sprint – June 24, 2012.