Abs…they’re beautiful aren’t they? We all want them and only a small percentage of the American population will ever achieve them. Believe me, I wish I was flaunting my flawless midsection here on this page, but I’m there with you. It’s in process ;). Why is it so difficult to get that perfect six pack?
Nutrition and exercise play a major role in the development of a cut and toned mid section, but there are some additional players in the game you may not have been aware of. Use my “CUT ABS” acronym to get closer to your dream 6-pack!
You hate it…but you love it. Or….maybe you are at the stage where you still just hate it. Either way, cardiovascular exercise is essential for optimal health, and even more so for a toned abdominal section. EVERYONE has the potential to have a six-pack-WHY? Because we all have abdominal muscles! Duh! The problem is the layer of fat that is covering them. Proper cardio exercise helps expedite the fat-burning process, uncovering those beautiful muscles.
- MY FAVORITE: HIIT- High Intensity Interval Training. This is in my opinion one of THE most effective and efficient ways to burn fat fast without putting heavy stress on your body. Some great resources: The Insanity Workout, Zumba, Crossfit, Mercola’s Peak 8, Sprints, Circuit training.
Our society has missed the mark when it comes to protein. If you’re in the body building/athletic world, it is most likely that you are getting the WRONG kind of protein, and it can be very dangerous! It is unfortunately all too common for people to purchase huge tubs of protein powder not even knowing the source and the added ingredients. As long as it has zero carbs or sugar and 5 million grams of protein, it’s a good thing, right? WRONG! The majority of protein powders have been severely denatured, processed, and isolated to the point where our bodies don’t recognize it because it’s not even a food. The dangerous part is the added ingredients. The top dangers to look for in a protein powder are:
- Artificial Sweeteners: Aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame k, splenda, saccharine.
- GMO- Any corn, soy, wheat, maltodextrin, cottonseed, vegetable source needs to be labeled NON-GMO.
- SOY- Many people reach for the soy thinking they’re healthier and that is a myth. Soy protein powders are very harmful to the body because they are most likely GMO, they have 19 allergenic proteins that cause damage in the body, enzyme inhibitors, and suppress the thyroid- all things that will turn ON the fat programs in your body.
- Pasteurized, homogenized if your whey protein has been pasteurized or even worse homogenized, it is no longer a food and has very little absorbable protein. It will make more work for your body that to give it nourishment.
- Isolated vs. Concentrated- You want to look for a concentrated whey protein source if that’s what you’re looking for, not isolated.
- Grass-Fed- If you choose to get whey, make sure it’s from grass-fed cows to ensure the highest amount of nutrition possible.
Of course, when eating animal protein, you also need to be VERY picky. You should only allow clean. organic, and grass fed meat into your bodies. When you eat fish, make sure it is wild and low on the mercury chain.
- MY FAVORITE: Wild Salmon, Sardines, Grass-fed beef, small amounts of organic poultry, Spirulina (one of the highest plant sources of protein), properly cooked legumes, avocados, raw-soaked-sprouted nuts & seeds, Mercola’s Raw Whey, Organic pea protein, Sunwarrior Warrior Protein,
Train with Weights
Your abs are muscles, and in order to build them, you need to use them and strengthen them. The best way to do that is with weights. Weight training has a two-fold benefit. On one hand, building muscle burns fat faster, uncovering your beautiful midsection. Weight training is one of the best ways to build muscle. Doing ab exercises with weights also strengthens and tones your core at a faster rate than using nothing.
- MY FAVORITE: In my opinion, CROSSFIT is one of the most effective ways to get the body of your dreams. (This past summer, I had the privilege of working out at Crossfit Trifecta in Vista, CA, and absolutely LOVED the group there! If you are in the Vista area, make sure you check them out! There are Crossfit gyms all over, so checkout the one nearest you!) Work with a trainer at your gym, or look up a workout plan that fits you online. There are wonderful ab exercise routines that you can find online! Whatever you do, consistency is the KEY!
Absorption & Assimilation
You may have heard, “You are what you eat”, but it’s actually not accurate. You are what you ABSORB, is closer to the truth. There are many people who are overfed and undernourished. The TOP six-pack killer foods are: SUGAR, GLUTEN, Pasteurized DAIRY, REFINED GRAINS, DIRTY ANIMAL PROTEIN, PROCESSED FOODS. These all damage the intestinal tract. If you have damage to your intestinal tract, it is VERY difficult and almost impossible to have a six pack. Why? For multiple reasons:
- Inflammation- What happens when you hurt something- an ankle, a bee sting, you hit your head…it swells. This is the body’s amazing reaction when there is damage. There are specific cells that act like the EMT’s of the body and rush to the scene to immediately start healing on the area. This excess fluid causes inflammation. When you have damage to your intestinal tract, the same thing happens, you end up with excess fluid, excess mucous, and a swollen feeling.
- Lack of Replenishment- When you have a damaged intestinal lining, you usually have little holes that were caused by yeast or parasites. In attempts to cope with the situation, the body usually produces extra mucous that coats the intestinal lining. There is damage to the microvilli (small hair like structures that line your intestinal tract) and this is no good because those microvilli are responsible for absorbing and assimilating nutrients. If they are damaged, you cannot absorb all the nutrients from the food you eat. If you can’t absorb nutrients, they can’t be sent to the muscles for recovery, meaning your body has a much more difficult time building muscle and getting strong. This can also cause malnourished organs that are essential for fat burning- the thyroid & adrenals especially.
You may have a pretty lean body and some nice abdominal muscles, but if you have issues that cause your abdomen to bloat, obviously you are going to have a hard time obtaining the midsection you want. There are many factors that play into bloating, including the topics already mentioned. One of the biggest culprits for bloat is an imbalance of good-bad bacteria in the gut. Donna Gates, author of The Body Ecology Diet, believes that all obesity could be diminished by healing the gut and having the proper good-bad bacteria ratio. Isn’t that amazing! It’s true that the gut affects every single one of your organs and systems, not to mention 80% of your immune system resides here, so taking care of your digestive system is critical to optimal health and an optimal body.
MY FAVORITE: My favorite way to keep my bacteria in check is through making my own cultured foods & drinks. This is the VIP treatment, all my clients receive, is learning how to do this yourself, and for pennies! Cultured foods & drinks are much cheaper and more effective than a probiotic supplement. However, probiotic supplements are not all that bad, there are few companies that I trust with their probiotics: Sunrider Vitadophilus, RenewLife probiotics, Advanced Naturals probiotic, Garden of Life.
Stress is one of the biggest factors that will kill your six-pack dreams. Stress causes major bloating, damage to the digestive tract, and instigates a hormonal cascade that causes your digestion to slow (creating constipation), and your body to STORE FAT, especially around the midsection. Cortisol is a hormone released by your adrenal glands in stressful situations. When you have chronic stress in your life, this can cause the wonderful tire around the waist look as your body becomes inflamed due to hormonal imbalance and you continue to store fat.
There is also mounting evidence, especially in Eastern Medicine that proves if you are mentally/emotionally holding onto a feeling, if you feel unsafe and as if you need to be protected, if you were abused in the past, or if you feel as if you’re not good enough or constantly down on yourself, these will ALL make you continuously gain weight and if not dealt with will make it impossible for you to drop a pound. Over the past months, this has become fascinating to me as I have learned more about the TRUTH in this and learn ways to help my clients overcome it. Does this maybe sound like something you are suffering from? If so, I’d love to help you!
MY FAVORITE STRESS BUSTERS: One of the best things you can do is to just CHOOSE to be happy & LOVE YOURSELF! You may be going through the absolute worst thing on the planet, but YOU choose your reaction. YOU choose how you feel on the inside. I know this is hard for some to swallow, but it is true. So, no matter what is going on around you, do whatever you need to, to FEEL GOOD, FEEL HAPPY, & LOVE YOURSELF JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. Some of my favorite things are to: exercise, yoga, sing with my guitar, visit with friends, bake healthy treats, go outside for a walk, watch a good movie, play softball, and spend hours doing something I really love.
What about you? What are you doing that is preventing you from having the 6-pack you’ve always wanted? I know I have my list, what’s on yours? If this is something you REALLY want, you can do it! It’s just not going to happen overnight or with only a little effort.
Whatever you do today on this beautiful Saturday, just remember to get sweaty and love every second of it!!
Have a great day!!
“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”
~ Hebrews 11:6