You need more muscle to increase your metabolism and burn off the fat that covers your six-pack. On the nutrition front, this means eating protein regularly. Because the body has no way to store protein, it needs a regular supply to keep your muscles well stocked. Eating small but frequent meals has always kept me more muscular. The protocol that’s worked best for 90% of my clients is to have five whole-food meals and one protein shake per day. If your diet calls for 200 grams of protein in a day (a good goal for a 200-pound man), I advise consuming five to six meals with 30–50 grams of protein in each.
The very act of eating less causes a stress response in the body that jacks up cortisol, a hormone that stimulates hunger and signals fat storage. A 2010 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine found that women who cut calories to lose weight experienced an increase in cortisol, even over another group who simply tracked their calories but didn’t reduce them. So how do you lose fat? Of course calories have to be reduced, but it’s how you perceive the cut that matters. Focus on eating better without restricting your overall consumption. Don’t starve!Also, some foods require more effort to digest than others. It burns more calories to digest protein than it does carb foods.
4. START THE DAY GREEN
An often-neglected aspect of abs is?getting enough green vegetables. They have essential nutrients that your body wants to make sure it gets, and if you don’t provide the necessary nutrition, you’re going to find yourself rooting around in the cookie jar looking for it. To ensure you’re fully loaded, make a fresh juice crammed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants with a minimum of calories. That means vegetable juice (not fruit juice, which is packed with lots of sugar and not enough of the fiber that whole fruit provides). Green juice is like a salad in a glass (only tastier, I promise). This recipe is one of my favorites. Juice the ingredients and pour over 1/3-cup of water and half a cup of ice:
1/2 cup cucumber
1/2 cup celery
1/2 cup spinach
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 green apple
Parsley and ginger, to taste
In addition to providing valuable nutrition you may be unable to get from whole foods during the day, a green juice can also act as a detoxifier.
5. DO THE TOUGH AB EXERCISES
Abs are postural muscles, designed to keep your spine safe when you’re fatigued. That means that they don’t grow as quickly and dramatically in response to exercise as many other muscles do, so short rest periods and a high volume of work are mandatory to make them grow. Try the circuit below in one of your weekly workouts. Perform each exercise for 60 seconds, completing as many reps as possible. Rest 15 seconds between exercises and then 60 seconds at the end.
A. Hanging Leg Raise
Hang from a pullup bar and raise your legs to the bar, keeping them straight. Control the descent and try to slow it down more over time.
B. Swiss Ball Crunch
Take five seconds to crunch your torso to your hips.
C. Ab Wheel Rollout
D. Decline Russian Twist
Sit on a decline bench and hold a weight at arm’s length. Twist to one side and then the other.
Do two rounds of the circuit the first week and add one round every week thereafter until you’re performing it five times in Week 4.
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