Posts Tagged ‘proper diet’

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)…

The PLANK!

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!

Elisa Lenox wrote this article for Beachbody.com – I like the perspective she takes on nutrition – “Rather than focusing on what you shouldn’t eat, let’s take some time to focus on a few beautiful, flavorful, and health-building foods you should eat”

I hope you enjoy it!

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Why is it that advice on healthy eating usually seems to center on what not to put in our mouths? With the endless ways we’re taught to limit calorie intakes and watch out for “bad” fat and carbohydrates, it’s almost easy to forget that there’s a whole world of foods out there that don’t threaten to give you heart disease, diabetes, or an expanded waistline.

Various Fruits and Vegetables

Rather than focusing on what you shouldn’t eat, let’s take some time to focus on a few beautiful, flavorful, and health-building foods you should eat—specifically, foods rich in phytonutrients, the naturally occurring pigments that lend color and chemical protection to the plant kingdom, while also offering astounding health benefits.

The study of phytonutrients (“phyto” meaning “plant” and “nutrient” meaning, well, “nutrient”), also known as phytochemicals, is a relatively new field in nutrition, with more research unfolding on these substances than can be covered in one article. However, it’s fair to say that what is currently known lends powerful credence to that ageless maternal advice “eat your vegetables.”

Scientists have categorized classes of phytonutrients that offer different properties and benefits and it just so happens that many of these classes are represented by their colors. So read on and discover why becoming a connoisseur of the plant-based nutrient spectrum is a brilliant strategy that will help to preserve both your health and physical charm.

Blue/Purple FruitsBlue/Purple – Anthocyanins are flavonoids that act as powerful antioxidants, neutralizing free radicals that cause aging and degenerative disease. There’s even a connection between this phytonutrient and decreased visceral (abdominal) fat! A 2008 study from Chubu University in Japan found a link between anthocyanin intake and reduced incidence of metabolic disorders, including abdominal weight gain, hypertension, and impaired glucose and insulin metabolism. True, blue anthocyanin sources include red cabbage, blueberries, blackberries, acai berries, cherries, grapes, blue potatoes, eggplant, and radicchio.

Orange/Yellow – Multiple studies indicate that diets rich in beta-carotene lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer. This amazing phytonutrient falls into the carotenoid class that (along with the flavonoid group) has been credited in a 2010 Tufts University study for providing photo protective and antioxidant action in the skin. In short, these inflammation, wrinkle, and cancer preventing nutrients protect your skin from the inside out! To get a bit of beta-carotene, try sweet potato, carrots and carrot juice, winter squash, pumpkin, and cantaloupe.

A GuavaRed – Lycopene has been in the news a lot lately for its positive influence on prostate health, but it’s also thought to prevent cervical dysplasia in conjunction with other carotenoids. In other words, it’s also good for the uterus, making it an equal opportunity nutrient. In addition, a 1996 University of Minnesota study found a significant increase in longevity based upon the blood lycopene levels of nuns living the same lifestyle, in the same conditions. If you’re ready to get into the red, try tomato and tomato products, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava, and papaya.

Yellow/Green – The light absorbing properties of lutein are associated with eye health involving a decrease in cataract formation and macular degeneration. Mellow, yellow lutein sources include spinach, kale, collards, mustard and dandelion greens, summer squash, and pumpkin.

SpinachGreen – Chlorophyll’s abilities to bind toxins and decrease oxidative stress make it a powerful bodily detoxifier and explain how it can actually reduce body odor. You’ll be seeing green with chlorophyll sources like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, arugula, green beans—any green vegetable. The darker, the better.

Green/White – Another detoxifier, sulphoraphane is part of the isotheocyanate class of phytonutrients that has been cited in multiple studies as a cancer preventative and detoxifier of carcinogens. Some super sulphoraphane sources include broccoli, brussels sprouts, broccoli sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, and watercress.

White – The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial qualities of allicin lend to its reputation as an inhibitor of heart disease and gastric cancer as well as a potent immune booster. All-around awesome allicin sources include garlic, onion, leek, shallot, and chives.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to polychromatic eating. Use a food processor to quickly shred red cabbage and brussels sprouts into an easy chopped salad with pomegranate seeds, blanched almonds, and a homemade lemony dressing, or gently wilt kale or Swiss chard in olive oil with garlic, onion, and thinly sliced yellow bell pepper. Spiced sweet potatoes or winter squash bake in less than 40 minutes for a simple, energy-boosting carbohydrate serving. Fruit and leafy green packed smoothies are a fantastic way to throw together a quick, nutrient dense breakfast.

How can you ensure that you’re drenching your system in these healthful, beauty-boosting nutrients every day? Make it a personal mission to sample from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables daily and get as innovative with your recipes as your imagination and nature’s color palette will allow. Get creative and, before you know it, you’ll be benefiting from the phytonutrient rainbow!