I'll give you one guess as to what the most common question I get asked when i'm out & about and someone finds out what I do.
Yep, you guessed it...
It goes something like this...
"How do I get rid of this? (pinch love handles)"
"How do I get a flat stomach?"
"How do I get a six pack?"
"I just can't get rid of my muffin top, what should I do?"
Essentially its the same question in different forms.
I get asked what exercises need to be done, what foods to eat and not eat, what special exercise routines they need to be doing, what secret supplements and specials herbs can they take...
Or they go on to tell me "I must have a really slow metabolism as I have tried everything and I do like a 100 sit ups every morning and night and still no abs"..........but "my diet is ok, I eat really healthy"
Here are my top tips from the 'black book of training secrets' to a leaner mid section.
1. Drop body fat.
Admit it, you're a little disappointed aren't you, you were expecting some super sit up variation like rocky balboa wasn't you?
Well I do apologise, and as cool as rocky is, you would be putting your focus in the wrong direction, so here goes nuttin'.
THE most determinant factor in a leaner midsection is a reduction of fat.
The most important factor in fat loss is to make sure that you are in a moderate (I stress moderate) caloric deficit. Clearly where we derive those calories from matters i.e. the balance of Carbs, Fats and Proteins influences and optimise's how we lose weight (e.g. in simple terms fat vs muscle, but if you're not in a energy deficit (consuming mildly less than you burn) I don't care how "clean" your diet is... you will not be seeing your 'abs' anytime soon.
To drop body fat start here:
- Spend some time tracking or keeping a food diary.
- Find out how many calories you need per day to function properly and hit your goal in a realistic time frame. Any good coach can help with this.
- Eat to your goal - don't go over and don't go too far under your calorie target.
- Eat enough of those calories from Protein - aim for at least 1g per pound of your goal body weight.
- Be consistent.
This could possibly be one of the most underated factors.
Successful fat loss requires a caloric deficit spread over a prolonged period of time.
As someone gets lighter, leaner and metabolic rate changes, the deficit between energy intake and expenditure closes, this is where plateaus happen, and having the patience to move past those plateaus is a case of taking time to understand your own diet and body enough to create the deficit once again either by energy intake or output.
This is where the sustainability factor of most harsh diet "programs" fall short - most are unnecessarily severe, and are at best, guess work.
The harsher a diet is the less likely it can be followed through for long enough to recoup a good payout as not enough time has been spent paying into it.
I suggest creating a sustainable diet that can be adhered to long term, aiming for slow, steady, consistent progress as the amount of fat you lose isn't relative to how much you suffer but by how well you can manage and balance the books.
Preferably some form of resistance training should be performed, this is really to maintain lean body mass while reducing calorie intake. This will help minimise muscle losses, provide shape and maintain strength.
Training doesn't really need to change while dieting, the same training that built your body will likely maintain it while dieting down. If anything, training can actually be reduced in most cases as energy intake is lower, this reduces stress and increases the longevity of a diet.
Cardio can be used as a good tool to swing the energy seesaw to increase energy expenditure rather than reduce calorie intake depending on each persons circumstances to help continue fat loss. Although long drawn out hours of cardio are unnecassery and possibly detrimental, little is useful to ensure that food reduction is not the only option moving forward.
So instead of throwing everything and the kitchen sink at fat loss save some tricks up the sleeve for a later date and begin with as little as is needed to get the results and add as is required.
4. Chill Out.
I say chill out, and for a few reasons.
If stress levels are high we are more likely to give up on our endeavors and end up further from our goals. So from a pure strategical stand point finding balance in what you are doing, including diet and training, and combining those 2 crucial factors with a happy balanced lifestyle wins every time. As it allows us to stay on or close enough to the path towards our destination for longer, as that path is more sustainable.
5. Apply principles 1-4 consistently until you WILL see results.
Your take away... remember this
“abs are revealed! - Due to the consistent work you put into your diet and training, in such a way to create a SLIGHT caloric deficit, optimised with a correct balance of protein, fats and carbs to maintain performance and encourage the utilisation of fat and the minimisation of muscle loss, over a long enough time frame to see results”