How ‘Maxing Out’ Can Take Your Fitness to the Next Level

Max Out

 

Regardless of your fitness goals, the surest way to success is, ironically, failure.

That’s what research in recent years has revealed about the relationship between reps and results, which progress in sync with one another.

Momentary muscular fatigue—also known as training until failure or “maxing out”—simply demands performing movements until you can’t do them anymore. Rather than setting an arbitrary ceiling for yourself and hoping to, again arbitrarily, increase that ceiling over time, maxing out uses your body’s current capabilities to decide the variables (weight, reps, etc.), whether it’s high-intensity cardio, weight training or any combination of the two.

Once that ceiling is reached, you achieve failure, with the gains coming in the form of your body’s ability to go just a bit further the next time. “If you never fail at a set, you aren’t pushing hard enough,” says Steve Edwards, Vice President of Fitness and Nutrition at Beachbody.

But beyond a red-blooded sense of accomplishment, why is it important to press the limits? Edwards says, “Pushing towards failure is the only way to derive all of the benefits of a workout as it’s designed.” Most workouts, Edwards says, target energy systems, which, to be simplistic, are the physiological processes that facilitate the conversion of fuel into fitness. To make these systems more efficient—which is the very definition of fitness—Edwards says you’ve gotta fail.

“It’s the founding principle of all athletic training, or really, all physiological processes in the human body.”

insanity max

Turning it up to 11

Anaerobic activity (including interval and weight training) is designed around the body’s failure point in one of the aforementioned energy systems. In resistance training, this is represented by the amount of weight needed to fail at a given number of reps. In the case of cardiovascular workouts—most often interval training—this is represented by the use of body weight, speed, jumping and stopping to achieve failure.

“Training, philosophically, is about putting your body in environments that it’s not entirely adapted to,” says Dr. Marcus Elliott, Founder and Director of P3, a facility that applies scientific research to athletic performance. “Training to failure suggests taking your body as far as it can go. That is what your body responds to: being challenged.”

Resistance training has long been known to stimulate muscle growth, but recent research finds that there are diminishing returns to simply adding weight. A 2010 study commissioned by Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council found that low-load, high-volume resistance exercise (i.e., less weight, more repetitions) is more effective at building muscle than high-weight, low-rep resistance training. The researchers determined that muscle growth is dependent not only on weight, but also the number of reps performed.

The result are greater strength, muscle endurance and, of course, mass. But the benefits aren’t limited solely to muscle development. “In addition to muscle adaptation,” says Elliott, “you also increase adaptive response to lactic acid,” the chemical that builds up in overworked muscles, creating that burning feeling. “When you take a workout to failure, you can become more efficient at utilizing lactate (lactic acid) as energy.”

Adapting to lactate means that, instead of gasping and vomiting during intense exercise, you breathe more easily. You also develop blood buffers, which help maintain a healthy blood pH and prevent nausea. “How that shows up in terms of fitness is if you’re climbing or on a run and the guy next to you is suffering and you’re not” explains Elliott.

While not all of the particulars explaining the effects of “maxing out” are clear, Dr. Francis Stephens at the UK’s University of Nottingham, says, “It likely has to do with metabolic and mechanical stress associated with fatigue within the muscle signaling for the adaptation.” Translation: burn it down.


30 minutes. INSANE results.

 

Fail, recover, repeat

A vital component here is rest (also known as recovery). The harder the workout, the more muscle fiber and neuron groupings—known as motor units—are recruited. Outside of long-distance running, most workouts target the moderate and high motor units. The more those units are recruited, the more recovery is required.

“This is why almost all training is broken into microcycles (weekly training schedule) and macrocycles (longer schedules) so that your recovery is properly balanced between your training,” says Edwards. That explains why weight training is staggered by muscle group and why very intensive training (plyometrics, et al) is done only once per week.

Edwards says there was a time when professionals were afraid to use programs like high intensity interval training (HIIT) with out-of-shape subjects. “This started changing in the early ’90s as studies began on highly deconditioned people and saw them respond much quicker to HIIT than traditional low-level aerobic work.” That means the only people to whom maxing out doesn’t apply are those with an injury or physical limitation that might prohibit it.

Still, Edwards advises that maxing out should constitute the bulk of training for most people. As he says trainers always say, “Failure is not an option.”

PiYo Diet: Get the excess fat off you!

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Piyo is the new sensation for those who look for a stunning figure now. Introduced by Chalene Johnson, this plan is keenly created to get the leaner and thinner body shape out from all ages and genders of people. Is it easy? Well, that’s what Chalene says. Just by inculcating good food habits and a 25 minutes workout in a day, you will be able to define your body in a way you have always wanted to. Isn’t it wonderful?

Why Piyo diet?

Piyo diet is more of a clean and computed way of your food intake. This is much defined so that you take what you need. You can even eat what you want but the quantity is something that really should be thought upon. The most exciting news is that, you do not have to spend half day in cooking these low fat foods. They are all ready tasty foods, which are going to work fantastic on your body.

What should I eat while I am on Piyo diet?

Almost anything you want, but just be careful of how much to eat. That’s the only check here, to get into a stunning figure of lean body, flat tummy and powerful abs and muscles.

It’s a basic rule that makes this program so effective that, portion eating always helps in flat tummy. This is how you make the portions.

· Breakfast

· AM Snack

· Lunch

· PM Snack

· Dinner

Another point to ensure is to start your day early and finish it early, for a good physique.

Here is a menu of Piyo diet for a week:

Breakfast:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday

¼ cup of oat meal + cup of blueberries+ 2 Half Boiled eggs

Tuesday and Thursday

2 Eggs, 1 cup Spinach, 2 tb spoon Avacado.

AM Snacks:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Cucumbers, peppers (1 cup), 2 tb spoon Avacado

Tuesday and Thursday

Apple, 1 1/2 tbsp. of PB, Fat free yogurt ( 1 cup)

Lunch: 

Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Shakeology plus almond milk Plus 1/2 banana

Tuesday and Thursday

Shakeology plus almond milk and 1/2 banana

PM Snack:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday

1 cup broccoli, 1 cup carrots, 2 tbsp. hummus

Tuesday and Thursday

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cucumbers plus 1 tbsp. hummus

Dinner:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday

4oz. seasoned chicken or tilapia and 10 asparagus or summer squash

Tuesday and Thursday

3 oz. Pork Tenderloin or Steak, 1/2 cup sweet potato, Eggplant

You can get creative during Saturdays and Sundays make your own recipes of low fat yet tasty food, to satisfy your taste buds. We are not aiming at starving in this plan but we are trying to limit our diet so that we can eat more often than more quantity. Eating more often in small quantities always helps in fastened metabolism. This is the best advantage of this program that you get all the benefits of a strict starving diet system but you actually fill yourself more times than ever. Isn’t that amazing?

You can use more green vegetables and low fat yogurt in case if you don’t feel full. Adding more vegetables and vitamin c fruits will give you more energy spontaneously and you will have the instant energy but not the stubborn fat. So go for it today, to feel the magic!

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PiYo Workout: Don’t Buy It Until You Read This!

What is PiYo Workout?

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As PiYo quickly gains popularity among the public, one question is being frequently asked; what is PiYo workout? The answer to this is quite simple. It is a low-impact, full-body, athletic workout brought to us by Chalene Johnson, directed at all individuals regardless of their age and fitness level.
PiYo combines Pilates, yoga and several dynamic exercises, to achieve a workout session that targets different muscles in the body. Each session lasts for between 25-45 minutes and is set to music, yet requires no weights or jumping motions. The overall aim of the workout is to develop strong, toned and lean muscles, build endurance, burn up fat and improve agility.

Below is a list of the 8 different workouts included:
1. Align- 46 minutes
2. Define: Upper body- 35 minutes
3. Define: Lower body- 25 minutes
4. Sweat- 35 minutes
5. Core- 30 minutes
6. Drench- 40 minutes
7. Strength intervals- 25 minutes
8. Sculpt- 30 minutes

When undertaking the aforementioned workouts, you should expect to exercise the following parts of your body.

LOWER BODY
1. PiYo lower body workouts target your calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes, and purpose to define and tone these areas with the intention of giving you lean leg muscles.

CORE AND BACK
1. A powerful core, chiseled back and sculpted abs is the dream of every individual working out. That is why PiYo makes use of core workouts, which eliminate fat and build muscles on these areas of your body.

UPPER BODY
1. You can always pinpoint a person who works out by examining the condition of their arms, shoulders and triceps.
2. Upper body workouts aim to define these 3 features, through strengthening and stretching the muscles located on your torso.

WHOLE BODY
There are several PiYo workout exercises that cater to your body in its entirety.

1. To begin with we have the Align workout that aims to educate you on the fundamental techniques involved in the PiYo workout, with the aim of familiarizing your body with the techniques undertaken throughout the workout. The goal of Align is to give each individual the tools needed to take full advantage of the program.
2. We also have another full-body workout in the form of Sculpt. This intense workout helps you achieve greater muscle endurance and a faster metabolism through the use of differently paced exercises, and in the process reshapes your figure.
3. The drench workout is a sweat inducing endurance exercise session that involves each muscle in your body. What you attain out of this exercise is a reduction in your fat deposits and a quick increase in your metabolic rate.
4. We also have the sweat workout which should not be confused with the drench workout listed above. This traditional PiYo workout has a fast tempo, and makes use of dynamic conditioning, ab workouts, cardio yoga flows and body weight resistance strength training to achieve a chiseled physique.
5. Unlike the workouts listed above, the strength intervals workout is designed to tone your muscles and burn your calories in a short period of time. This is done by making use of fast paced dynamic exercises, as opposed to weights.

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6 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

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Diet Mistakes Causing Your Weight-Loss Plateau

Food journal? Check. Regular workouts? Yes, indeed. Enough fiber to keep an entire army regular? You got it. I know how to lose weight. I’ve been writing about the topic for more than a decade. That’s why it was so frustrating when the pounds clung to me like a codependent boyfriend, no matter how hard I tried. A lot of women have this problem, the experts tell me. “Body weight can fluctuate by up to five pounds on any given day, so the amount you shed can easily get lost,” says Pamela Wartian Smith, MD, the author of Why You Can’t Lose Weight. I combed through research and grilled diet gurus to pinpoint little-known reasons that your efforts — and mine — haven’t been showing up on the scale. Who knew?

You Don’t Drink Enough Water

We’ve all heard how important H2O is when it comes to shedding pounds. It helps to suppress appetite, so you’re less likely to overeat. But that’s not all: When you’re dehydrated, your kidneys can’t function properly, so the body turns to the liver for additional support. Because the liver is working so hard, more of the fat you consume is stored rather than burned off.

What surprised me most, though, is that if you’re upping your fiber intake but not also hitting the bottle hard, things tend to get a wee bit, er, backed up. “It’s important to add fiber gradually and increase water intake at the same time. Otherwise, instead of helping with digestion, fiber may actually lead to constipation,” notes Anna-Lisa Finger, RD, a personal trainer for the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center in Baltimore. I often consume nearly double the recommended 25 grams of fiber daily. Gulp.

Just how much water should I be drinking? “About one-half your body weight in ounces every day, especially if you’re exercising,” Dr. Smith says. So the eight-cups-a-day rule applies only to sedentary women who weigh 128 pounds (sure as hell not me!). “If you consume an aggressive amount of fiber, another eight to 16 ounces a day is a good idea,” Dr. Smith adds. H2OMG! That amount of liquid — for me, 12 cups a day, minimum — requires serious effort. I fill up with about a liter at each meal, and I’m a peeing machine.

You Skimp on Protein

Several studies show that high-protein diets result in more pounds shed, at least initially. Protein enhances the feeling of satiety and prevents your losing muscle as you lose fat. You also have dietary thermogenesis, which is the energy you burn to process and use the food you eat, on your side. “Your body expends more energy to metabolize protein than carbs or fat,” says Cari Coulter, RD, the program director for Wellspring Weight Loss Camp in Kenosha, Wisconsin. “So higher-protein diets make you burn slightly more calories.”

So how much protein do I need a day? “It depends on your weight, but most women should get 40 to 80 grams,” Dr. Smith says. To accomplish that, I have Greek yogurt (18 grams) or a couple of eggs (13 grams) for breakfast, and I eat a few ounces of lean poultry (25 grams) or fish (22 grams) or a heaping helping of black beans (15 grams) or lentils (18 grams) at lunch and dinner. I snack on a handful of raw almonds (6 grams). As a result, I feel fuller — sometimes so full I don’t even sneak a bite of my son’s ice cream (the way I used to whether I was hungry or not) — so it’s easier to keep daily calories in check.

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More Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight

You Sit at a Desk All Day

I log a solid hour of exercise almost every day, but outside of that, my time is mostly spent sitting in front of a computer. Much to my dismay, research finds that dedicated workouts simply can’t compensate for being sedentary the rest of the time. According to one University of Missouri-Columbia study, sitting for just a few hours causes your body to stop making a fat-inhibiting enzyme called lipase. Getting up and walking for just two minutes during each of those hours burns an additional 59 calories a day, according to recent research from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Experts recommend setting a timer on the computer to remind you to move every hour, but what’s helped me is the Fitbit One ($100, fitbit.com). I keep this activity tracker clipped to my bra 24-7, and I won’t go to bed until I’ve logged 10,000 steps a day. To accomplish that, I heed some of those recommendations we’ve all heard a million times (“Take the stairs instead of the elevator,” “Park far away from the mall”). I even jog in place while brushing my teeth and watching TV. At first my husband and son laughed their skinny little butts off at me, but now seeing me hopping around the living room strikes them as normal. Walks are part of my family’s evening routine, and “How many steps do you have now?” has become the new “Are we there yet?” I’ve even given Fitbits to friends and family as gifts so we can see who takes the most steps. Move-more mission: accomplished.

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Your Numbers Are Off

I’ve always considered myself a math whiz, so I assumed that I had the whole calories-in, calories-out formula down pat. Here’s how I determined how many I should eat a day: I got my basal metabolic rate (BMR, or the amount of calories I need to maintain my weight) using the online calculator at fitnessmagazine.com/weight-loss/bmr, and I entered “moderate” for my activity level, because I exercise regularly. That gave me about 2,400 calories a day. Then I added whatever calories I burn during my workouts (usually about 500), according to my heart-rate monitor. That meant I could eat almost 3,000 calories a day without gaining a pound (or nearly 2,500 a day to lose a pound a week). Sure, it seemed high, but I had used a calculator. It had to be right!

Not so fast, Coulter says. “The BMR calculator already factors in the calories you burn with your workouts, so you shouldn’t add them in again,” she explains. Math club membership revoked! All this time I had thought my daily needs were 500 calories higher than they really were. No wonder I’d been maintaining instead of losing.

You Work Out Regularly

I know, I know. How can an exercise routine make you gain? For starters, people tend to eat more when they work out, either because they feel they’ve earned it or because they’re overestimating how much they’ve burned — or both. “This is especially true in the early stages of a fitness program, when your body is getting used to the decrease in calories consumed and the increase in calories burned,” Finger says. (Read: You’re freaking hungry.)

But here’s the real shocker: Working out can make you retain water. “To ensure that you don’t get dehydrated, the plasma in your bloodstream will store an extra two to four pounds of water,” explains Michele S. Olson, PhD, a FITNESS advisory board member and professor of exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery in Alabama. “You’ll always carry that extra water unless you become inactive; it’s not fat or muscle, but simply superhydration. It’s a good thing.” It’s also a good thing to keep chugging H2O, which can, counterintuitively, help minimize additional water retention. So I’ll take Olson’s advice and stay active, well-hydrated…and off the scale.

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You’re a Stress Case

I’m a lot like the lab rats — and humans — who turn to comfort food and pack on pounds when they’re under duress. “The stress hormone cortisol triggers the fight-or-flight response, which is an appetite stimulant,” Dr. Smith says. “In addition, it steps up the production of a certain brain chemical, neuropeptide Y, which increases cravings for carbohydrates.”

Even when I don’t give in to cravings, stress can stall my slim-down. “Too much cortisol slows metabolism,” Dr. Smith says. “Even worse, excessive stress causes fat to be stored in the abdominal area, where weight is harder to lose.” Ugh! I can practically feel my belly expanding every time I have a meltdown over something, including my weight-loss efforts.

Luckily, a lot of the things I’m doing to whittle my middle should also ease my angst. “Exercise reduces stress,” Dr. Smith notes. “Balanced, nutritious meals can repair the damage that stress does to the body, and a social support network also helps.” So my team of Fitbit-wearing friends and fam is helping me beat belly bloat in more ways than one.

Get Weight-Loss Results

Scale Serenity

It’s been three months since I embarked on this adventure, and I’ve lost 12 pounds — a solid pound a week. I’ve increased my water and protein intake, I move more throughout the day, and I’m trying to stress less. But one of the best things I’ve done has been — go figure — not weighing myself, at least for a little while, as Olson suggested. I was tempted in the beginning, but I stuck to my scale embargo for a month. Now I weigh in weekly, but the fluctuations don’t bother me. Really. Because I know I’m creating a daily calorie deficit, and I’ve found other ways to measure my progress (see “Beyond the Numbers,” below). I know the fat is coming off, no matter what the scale says. I feel enlightened — in more ways than one.

Beyond the Numbers

When the scale bums you out, here are three other ways to gauge your progress.

How do your clothes fit? Try on the same pair of jeans and shirt every six to eight weeks.

How do you feel? You should have more energy, sleep better, and feel less stressed.

How much can you do? Keep a workout log and track how much weight you can lift and how many miles you can walk or run.

 

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How to Reduce Body Fat Percentage

The guidelines for how to reduce body fat percentage aren’t complicated.

It’s certainly not necessary to starve yourself to reduce body fat or spend hours every day sweating your body fat off at the gym.

But, in order to reduce body fat percentage numbers permanently you’ll have to make some lifestyle changes and learn some healthy new habits.

And if you put your mind to it, you’ll be the proud new owner of a brand new body in just a few short months. The twelve steps below are the best ways to reduce body fat. Just take it one step at a time to reach your destination.

how-to-lower-your-body-fat

How to Reduce Body Fat Percentage in 12 Steps

1.  Build more muscle. One of the best ways to reduce body fat is weight training. As you increase lean muscle mass you burn more calories.

2.  Eat for great health. When you eat for great health you’re making sure to have the necessary energy to exercise and enjoy your life.

3.  Avoid refined carbs. Sugar and other refined carbohydrates, zap your energy, ruin your health and contribute to excess body fat. Stick with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and other high fiber food.

4.  Enjoy your protein. To make sure you reduce fat and not muscle when losing weight, it’s essential to get enough protein. Use low calorie high protein shakes for mini meals. And have fun adding fruit or flavorings.

5.  Drink more water. As you up your water intake to at least 8 glasses a day, the less hungry and more refreshed you’ll feel.

6.  Increase activity. If you’re eating less calories, low impact physical activity, like walking, swimming and yoga for at least 30 minutes a day, burns fat, builds a strong lean body and helps boost metabolism activity.

7.  Know your calories. When we eat unconsciously, calories start adding up. Make sure you’re not storing up more than you burn for energy.

8.  Have 4-6 mini meals. Instead of 3 big meals a day, go for 4 to 6 small meals. It helps increase metabolism and burn extra calories.

9.   Eat more veggies. Most plain vegetables are so low in calories and so high in fiber content that it’s almost like you’ve eaten no calories at all.

10.  Eliminate sodas. Sodas are bad for your health and add unnecessary calories. Learn to love drinking pure, clean, calorie-free water.

11.  Enjoy other pleasures. Whenever possible, indulge in simple healthy activities that you enjoy (besides eating). Make a list and have fun.

12.  Get much stronger. Strength training improves flexibility, increases fitness, strengthens joints and bones, builds muscle and helps reduce fat.

Now that you know how to reduce body fat percentage, the rest is up to you. Just add one step at a time and increase your pace slow and easy.

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CASEY PUETT

CASEY PUETT

10 Popular Diet Tips to Ignore

people working out on treadmills

If you’ve ever tried to lose a few pounds, you’ve probably been inundated with diet tips. But take them all with a grain of salt—some advice may sound legit but can actually derail your diet. Here are 10 tips you don’t want to follow.

BAD ADVICE: Choose fat-free or sugar-free foods
BETTER ADVICE: Don’t believe the hype. “They usually use fat and sodium to replace sugar, and sugar to replace fat—or chemicals to replace both,” says Denis Faye, Beachbody’s nutrition expert. And Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist and author of the upcoming book, The 1:1:1 Diet, adds, “Removing fat from a food makes it less satiating, so you ultimately may end up eating more.” Stick with the original versions, and watch your portions or better yet, eat more unprocessed foods.

BAD ADVICE: No cheating ever!
BETTER ADVICE: Relax your diet rules, and you’ll be more likely to stick it out long-term. “If 80% of your diet is tight, then 20% can be a party,” Faye says. “It keeps you from getting stressed—and stress is a huge obstacle in weight loss.” Just plan your splurges ahead of time so you’re not giving in to every temptation that crosses your plate.

BAD ADVICE: Stop snacking.
BETTER ADVICE: Choose snacks that offer a balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats—like apples with peanut butter, or carrots with hummus. “A healthy snack can help maintain steady blood sugar levels, which keeps your appetite in check and your energy stable,” Batayneh says. Skipping a snack can cause your blood sugar to dip, leaving you moody and famished—and more likely to overeat at mealtime.

BAD ADVICE: Don’t eat fruit—it’s full of sugar.
BETTER ADVICE: Let fruit satisfy your sweet tooth. “Yes, fresh produce is full of sugar and carbs,” Faye says. “But sugar itself is not the enemy. Fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals; it’s also rich in fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar. I’ve never met a human being who got fat because of bananas.” When you’re craving sugar, there’s no debate that a handful of grapes is healthier than a hot fudge sundae.

BAD ADVICE: If it’s organic, it’s good for you.
BETTER ADVICE: According to the USDA, organic food is produced without antibiotics, growth hormones, conventional pesticides, and synthetic ingredients.1 The problem is that many people assume organic foods are all low in calories, too, which isn’t necessarily true. Don’t get us wrong—we’d rather eat food that doesn’t resemble a science experiment. But, Faye cautions, “You need to use common sense. If it’s bad for you with conventional ingredients, it’s still bad for you when it’s organic.” A cookie is a cookie, no matter how all-natural it is.

BAD ADVICE: Calories in, calories out—it doesn’t matter what you eat.
BETTER ADVICE: What you’re eating matters. Compare a 100-calorie candy bar to 100 calories of avocado—the latter is packed with nutrients and has healthy fats and fiber to keep you full. Or compare 50 calories of spinach (about seven cups) to 50 calories of ice cream (about two tablespoons). To feel full when you’re cutting calories, look for foods loaded with water and fiber, like veggies or broth-based soups. Plus, “Hormones have a huge impact on our health. Junk food can trigger bad hormonal responses that, over time, can lead to all kinds of problems, including weight gain,” Faye says. Occasionally, someone will pop up in the news claiming they lost a ton of weight while eating nothing but Subway, Starbucks, or Snickers bars—but don’t put too much stock in those success stories. “When you go that route, you’re not educating yourself,” Faye says. “It’s like the teach-a-man-to-fish adage. If you give someone a gimmicky diet, they might lose weight for now; but provide them with knowledge, and they can be healthy for life.”

BAD ADVICE: Try XYZ Extreme Diet—it works for everyone!
BETTER ADVICE: Find a plan that works for you. Gender, age, genetics, metabolism, and lifestyle can all play a role in weight loss—so even if a fad diet has worked for others, that doesn’t mean you’ll get the same results. “There’s no single diet that works for everyone; our biochemical needs are different,” Faye says. Talk to a dietitian or nutrition consultant to find a long-term eating strategy that is tailor-fit to you.

BAD ADVICE: When in doubt, order the salad.
BETTER ADVICE: Choose your greens wisely. Leafy greens and vegetables may be virtuous, but not if they’re slathered in creamy dressing and topped with bacon, candied nuts, croutons, deli meats, or cheese. “Fatty fixings can add hundreds of calories to your meal, and sometimes contain more calories than that juicy burger!” Batayneh says. Salad can be a healthy choice, but order dressing on the side and limit the add-ons.

BAD ADVICE: Don’t exercise—it’ll only make you hungrier.
BETTER ADVICE: Get moving—an hour-long workout isn’t going to make you suck down calories like Michael Phelps. “Exercise isn’t just for losing weight—it improves your cardiovascular health and strengthens your bones,” Faye says. You might feel hungrier while recovering from a grueling workout, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to pack on pounds. “As long as you’re eating clean, your body is amazing at self-regulating,” Faye adds. “It should crave the calories you need to fuel your workouts, not to get fat.”

BAD ADVICE: Treat yourself for a job well done!
BETTER ADVICE: Rethink your reward system. After an intense workout, you may feel like you’ve earned a cocktail or cupcake. But splurging after every workout can quickly undo all your hard work. If you’ve been good all week, go ahead and grab a guilt-free beer on Friday. But, Faye says, “Don’t let every workout become a Pavlovian thing where you need to eat cake afterwards.” After all, the best reward for a killer workout is getting one step closer to the body you want.

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How to get rid of your muffin top

Got some extra weight hanging around your middle? Use our diet and exercise tips to beat that stubborn muffin top

That weight around your middle sure can be stubborn to shift. Anyone who’s tried to get rid of their muffin top can vouch for how difficult it is to get rid of. If you want to tackle your wobbly tum and sides, or just want to tone up your middle area, use these tips along with a healthy diet (think nutrient-dense veg, high-quality protein and LOTS of water) and you might be on to a winner…

Rounded tum:
Get good abs with… crunches and a clean diet!
Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent at a 90o angle. Think of creating a concave stomach by pulling you belly button in towards your spine and then curl your truck up, keeping your head and neck tall and in line with your body. Keep pulling your navel in towards your spine during the whole movement. Do three sets of 25 reps.

Baby belly:
Target your baby belly with… the tummy tucker.
Lie on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor and your hands on your abs. Take a deep breath in, exhale, and then draw your navel in to your spine, aiming to pull your belly button into the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Do one set of 5 reps, working up to 15.

Love handles:
Target love handles with… a one-legged plank hydrant.
Get into the plank with your hands on the floor. Pull one of your knees close to your chest then, without touching the floor, push your leg back out and up so it’s behind you at a 45o angle. Hold for two seconds, then bring the leg back into your chest. Do two sets of 10 reps on each leg.

Belly button fat:
Relieve stress and tone up with… the downward dog to plank sequence.
Start on all fours, with your wrists slightly in front of your shoulders. Separate your knees to hip-width apart and curl your toes under. Exhale, then lift your knees off the floor, reach your sit bones toward the ceiling, and straighten your legs in a downward dog position, pushing through your heels. Hold for five slow breaths. Inhale, then shift your weight forward into plank, with your core strong. Hold, then exhale and push into a downward dog. Do five rounds, holding each pose for around five breaths each but rest if you need to.Let Me COACH YOU for FREE!!

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6 Moves for a Six-Pack, An Isometric Core Workout from Tony Horton

Here it comes boys and girls, a core-tastic workout! We’re going to use isometrics, balance, and core strength all together and moves from P90X2. Core is everything. We talk about the core all the time because it connects the legs and the upper body, and when your abs are strong and tight you’re preventing injury, improving your lower back, and it’s awesome for your general athletic ability. Engage, pull your abs in, and let’s begin!

 

CHECK OUT ME DOING P90X2 With A COUPLE GUYS:  I THINK I HOLD MY OWN WHAT DO YOU THINK??  YOU WANT RESULTS….THIS IS THE PROGRAM!!!

 

7 Myths About Six-Pack Abs

6-pack-abs-training
7 Myths About Six-Pack Abs

We all know at least one person who eats for three and rarely lifts a weight, but somehow still sports ripped six-pack abs. Along with giving the majority of us a reason to curse like drunken pirates over their genetic gifts, those cases also highlight why it’s so difficult to offer hard-and-fast rules for getting a six-pack.

Things like genetics, gender, and stress can all play a part in weight loss (or weight gain), so offering step-by-step instructions for a shredded midsection can be tricky. However, adhering to myths and hearsay on your quest for visible abs will absolutely hold you back.

So whether you’re a workout Jedi or a padawan looking to score abs 101 tips, allow us to dispel fact from fiction when it comes to achieving those washboard abs.

7 Myths About Six-Pack Abs

Myth #1. You Can Out-Crunch A Bad Diet

Consistently feast on garbage foods and your stomach (and arms, and teeth, and legs, and arteries, and skin, etc.) will look like garbage. Building abs starts in the kitchen with a clean diet. But even when your food choices are on point—including cutbacks in sodium intake to reduce bloat and water retention—your portions sizes are vital since it’s still possible to overindulge on healthy foods. This is a universal truth: Consume more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. Read: No six-pack for you!

 

Myth #2. Carbohydrates Kill Abs

Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient that your body uses for fuel. So, no, carbs don’t destroy abs. However, fast-digesting carbs like white bread, sports drinks, and potatoes can initiate an insulin spike that can hinder fat loss. (Consuming those types of carbs is best reserved for post-workout because they’ll aid in recovery.) Instead, get your carbs from sources like fruits, veggies, legumes, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, beans, and oatmeal. When possible, omit lab-created mutant foods with ingredients you need an interpreter to pronounce.

7 Myths About Six-Pack Abs

Myth #3. Crunches and Sit-Ups Are Must-Dos

They’re the two most popular abs exercises, but they’re far from your only options. If you don’t want to get horizontal, try these: Russian twists, Scorpion Tails, dip bar knee raises, hanging leg or knee raises, standing rope crunches, and side bends. Vary your exercises and reps, and add resistance and weights to create a stronger midsection and more defined abs.

Myth: #4: Supps Will Cover My Abs Shortfalls

Supplements like caffeine and green tea do have fat-burning properties to them, but they won’t go all Criss Angel on your belly fat and make it vanish. Sadly, for most of us, there are no shortcuts to acquire head-turning abs. We need a rigorous training regimen, low bodyfat, and adequate rest.

7 Myths About Six-Pack Abs

Myth #5. Slower Reps Are Better For Abs

According to a Spanish study, faster reps enabled the muscle activity in the recutus abdominis, external obliques, internal obliques, and spinal erectors to increase. However, mixing up your rep speeds is a more effective approach.

Myth #6. You Can Train Abs Daily

Well, you certainly can, but you’d be overworking them. Abs are a muscle, so treat them with the same respect you would after torching your biceps, or deltoids, or quadriceps, or—you get the idea.

7 Myths About Six-Pack Abs

Myth #7. Spot Reduction Works For Abs

Doing crunches from here till the Rapture won’t guarantee your abs will show when Judgment Day arrives if there’s a layer of fat covering them. As mentioned, a strict diet paired with steady training is an excellent way to reduce bodyfat. But keep in mind that outside factors also come into play. When you’re stressed, for example, cortisol levels rise. That can impede your ability to lose weight. Also, a recent study that appeared in the Journal of Sleep involving 225 adults found that people who stayed up later were found to eat unhealthy foods during those late-night hours. This, not surprisingly, led to weight gain.

 

 

 

Everything You Need To Know About Getting a 6-Pack

6-pack-abs-trainingI’m just gonna go ahead and start where we need to start…

Ab training is overrated.

It’s true.

We train our abs too much.

In gym culture, I see more ab work than ANYTHING.

I’ve seen 7 days of ab training. 7 DAYS. All abs. I’ve seen guys walk into a gym, do an hour of ab work and go home. Entire DVD’s have been made about ab training. And nobody seems to consider a workout complete without ab specific work. Everyone is training abs. Evreryone.

Now I get it – there are few things in this world more coveted than a shredded 6 pack, but here’s the problem…we’re too fat for it to matter.

Our abs sit under our belly fat and the two aren’t related.

You have your abs. ….And then you have you belly fat.

It doesn’t matter how perfect your ab development is if they’re always covered by fat. It’s like spending hours on your ’65 Mustang GT but never taking it out the garage. What the hell is the point??  

Six-Pack-Abs

And so for most of us, here is the most effective 6 pack workout EVER written:

Warm up) Walk to grocery store

A1) Buy some green vegetables

A2) Buy some yellow vegetables

A3) Buy some white vegetables

B1) Buy some red vegetables

B2) Buy some meat

B3) Cook meat

C1) Cut up green, yellow, white, red vegetables

C2) Add some balsamic vinegar and olive oil to your colorful vegetable salad

C3) A lil’ splash of lemon too

Finisher) Eat

Repeat 100 times. Flex your 6 pack in the mirror.

Nutrition is the foundation of leanness. Leanness is the foundation of a visible 6 pack. So if you want a rockin 6 pack the first and most fundamental step is a thoughtful nutrition plan.

Okay. Glad we got that clear.

And that makes the SECOND step to a rippling 6 pack metabolically demanding full body resistance training.

Sweaty, aggressive challenging resistance training will do more for your mid section than crunches. This type of work burns a butt ton of calories, builds lean mass, and has a profound effect on your hormone profile, all of which help make shreddedness attainable.

And since we’re on a roll here, the THIRD most effective step to getting a 6 pack is probably rest and recovery – the unsung heroes of fat loss.

I’m seriously not trying to mess with you here. The first three most effective steps to getting a 6 pack have nothing to do with ab training. Zilch. Zero. Nada.

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Okay.

Cool.

So if you’ve perfected your nutrition, you’ve established a periodized and challenging full-body resistance routine, and your rest and recovery is on-point AND you want to incorporate a reasonable amount of ab training into your routine, I’m cool with that. Molding your abs into the perfect specimen of delectable sex-appeal is a perfectly noble pursuit.

And so, long preamble aside, let’s actually talk about your abs:

Anatomy

The primary 6-pack muscle is the rectus abdominis. It’s the vertical muscle that attaches your rib cage to the anterior portion of your pelvis. That means it can tips the pelvic up, it can tip the rib cage down, or it can do both at the same time. It can also prevent movement by engaging in order to stabilize.

The rec abs are divided into 6 or 8 “packs” by tendinous inscriptions. These are the horizontal lines that subdivide a 6 pack. Genetics will determine the configuration. Some of us have 6 packs, some of us have 8 packs, some abs line up evenly, some don’t…not a whole lot you can do about any of that except love it and embrace what your momma gave you.

That’s the rectus abdominis.

The other power player of the 6-pack world is your V. The sex-V. The arrows that point to your…..

This is where the most inferior portion of your external obliques meet up with your inguinal ligament. Remember that ligaments attach bone to bone. The inguinal ligament attaches the anterior superior iliac spine to the pubic tubercle (just in case you cared.) The internal obliques are also hanging out in there (as the names imply, the internal obliques sit underneath the external obliques.) Because even the slightest amount of body fat tends to preferentially be stored in the lower abs, ultra leanness is necessary for the sex-V to pop (which is why it’s so coveted.)

Rectus abdominis and your sex-V. Got it. Okay, so how do we train them to make them beautiful?

First of all, we DON’T train them everyday. Overtraining our ab muscles 1) can make them hypertonic and 2) simple isn’t the most effective approach.

Hypertonic adj. – having a greater degree of tension.

This means that our ribs are constantly being pulled down and our pelvis is constantly being pulled up. We lose your lumbar curve, we tend to develop some degree of kyphosis (rounding of the upper back) and pretty soon we’re dealing with back pain or an injury.

The muscle fiber makeup of our abs also tells us that they shouldn’t be trained everyday. Our rectus abdominus is roughly equal parts fast and slow twitch muscle fiber, just like our arms and thighs for example. With proper training, they’ll need time to recover.

All of this is to say…don’t overtrain your abs. Did I mention that? Don’t overtrain your abs. Oh, that’s right. I just did. Five times. Depending on our phase that means training them once or twice per week on non-consecutive days.

The composition and general complexity of our abs also tells us that they’ll responds well to a variety of training. The idea that abs only response to high repetition, high frequency training is a misunderstanding of, you know, everything.

So when you do train your abs, be sure to include a variety of stimulus. Clarification: this does NOT mean every-movement-every-workout…this means your OVERALL routine should be well balanced.

A nice way to categorize ab training:

  1. Upper flexion (a weighted crunch.)
  2. Lower flexion (hanging knee raises.)
  3. Double flexion (row boats.)
  4. Rotation (Russian twists)
  5. *Anti-movement/stability – (planks, Pallof Cable Press)

*Stability exercises are often neglected but from an athletic perspective, a primary function of the abs is to help maintain the relationship between the pelvis and the rib cage, even under enormous force. If you want to be a badass, don’t neglect stability.

Additional ab considerations

The simplest and most effective way to develop the ultra coveted lower abs is to concentrate on full range of motion training. For example, if you’re doing an incline leg raise, initially the exercise is going to work the illopsoas, tensor fascia lata, and rectus femoris (of the quad) – all hip flexors. In order to work your abs, you have to change the relationship between your pelvis and your rib cage. In other words, you have to curl your bum off the mat. As you contract into an absolute full range, you’ll feel the infraumbilical portion of your abs (the abs that are below your belly button) really start to engage. The take home message: Make the exercise easy enough that you’re able to perform a full range of motion in the prescribed set and rep range.

You should also know that your upper abs and lower abs are an extension of the same muscle. That means they work together. Always. More than likely, your lower abs are not underdeveloped. They just have more fat on top of them. If you want to see your lower abs, you need to get leaner.

So, despite the piles and piles of mis information out there, having an outlandish 6 pack really comes down to a few simple steps:

Step 1) Get lean by focusing on big money methods – nutrition, full body metabolic resistance, rest and recovery.

Step 2) Don’t overtrain your abs (1-2 time per week, non-consecutive.)

Step 3) When you DO train your abs, make sure your training program is balanced and intense.

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