“Abs are made in the kitchen” – this is a motto ingrained into me back in my competitive bodybuilding days of the 1990’s.
A multitude of infomercials, supplement suppliers and well-paid spokespeople try to promote a quick-fix six-pack solution, although there is no such thing as a cutting diet, abs diet, mass-gaining diet, etc.
Bottom line is the “Law of Thermodynamics” – weight reduction can only take place when there is more energy burned than consumed.
Likewise, weight gain (muscle gain) can only take place when more calories are consumed than burned.
‘Abs made in the kitchen’ reflects the fact that you CAN diet off a bad workout, but you CAN NOT workout a bad diet.
Nutrition is the most important aspect of a lean, rock-solid core. By following a regular, clean eating lifestyle, in addition to a greater, active exercise routine, you will lose weight along with fat.
Almost every person has a “great set of abs” hiding beneath a smooth layer of fat. So let’s look at how we can chisel away and reveal those amazing, hidden abs.
These are basic guidelines for a properly structured, clean eating program:
Carbohydrates – a healthy target is to have 40 to 45 percent of your total calories come from carbohydrates. Pasta, rice, beans, fruits, vegetables and whole-grain breads and cereals are good sources. The rule of thumb is 1 gram, per pound of body weight.
Protein – a healthy target is 25 to 30 percent of your total calories from protein. Good protein sources are lean meats, chicken, shellfish, fish, soy, eggs and low-fat milk products. Rule of thumb is .75 gram, per pound of body weight.
Fat – a healthy target is 20 to 25 percent of your total calories from healthy fats. Unsaturated fats, like those in olive oil, nuts, avocados and fish oil, are the healthiest. An emphasis should be placed on obtaining essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold-water fish, leafy greens, walnuts, almonds and flax seeds. Rule of thumb is .25 gram, per pound of body weight.
Water – a healthy target is a daily water intake of 64 to 80 ounces. Water needs increase with higher temperatures and humidity, as well as with the consumption of alcohol, coffee and soda. Rule of thumb is an average of 1/2 oz of water, per pound of body weight.
To be successful, we must “plan our work and work our plan.”
Therefore, begin by tracking everything you consume for two days and work out the rations (available on many website calculators) to get a base line and working knowledge of where you are and where you need to be.
Then slowly tackle one macro nutrient (carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water) item at a time, beginning with increased water consumption, than carbohydrates, proteins, and finally, fats. If you slowly make these changes you can see those six-pack abs.