Ripped Abs, a free diet and fitness plan that works
A Lift for Life.com Fitness Site
Ripped Abs are the holy grail of fitness. Muscular arms and broad shoulders are impressive but washboard abs are the icing on the cake. Magazines and infomercials claim to have a special devise or secret to tighten your midsection in no time. Keep your wallet in your pocket, you don't need a special machine and there is no secret. Everything you need to know is here and while it takes dedication, it's really not that tough.
By the way, my name is Kerry, I'm 45 years old and the abs above are mine. I know what I'm talking about. Stop using your age, genetics or other circumstances as an excuse. The bottom line is that you only need 3 things in order to have lean, healthy looking abs.
1.Strong Desire (you have to really want it)
2.Will Power (you have to stick with it)
3.Knowledge (you have to know how)
All of the knowledge that you need can be found within this page. The desire and will power are up to you.
Lets get started.
How to have Ripped Abs, it begins NOW!
So you've made up your mind that you're finally going to do something about your appearance.
Great! Now, where do you start?
First, don't try the diet that your neighbor lost 10 lbs on and then gained 15. It doesn't work. Forget dieting! What you need is a new lifestyle. A lifestyle geared toward your health and fitness goals. One that takes into account your immediate appearance as well as your long-term health. You can have the most well defined abs in town but if your too tired or weak to show them absolutely no one will ever know.
You do not need to starve yourself.
You don't have to go hungry.
You don't have to use diet drugs
Restructure your Diet!
The first rule in becoming lean is learning what and when to eat. There is no reason to be hungry but this does not mean that you can drink beer and eat French fries. Do you want ripped abs or not? Lets be serious about this. When you eat is almost as important as what you eat. If willpower is not your strong point and you simply must have some fat and sweets in your diet, go for it. Let's call this meal "Breakfast". In other words, get this part of your diet out of the way first thing in the morning. As you become accustomed to eating healthier, you will find yourself requiring fattening and sweet foods less often. Honest! It just happens.
Calories = energy.
Ever accidentally spill a little oil or sugar on the oven burner? Either will burst into flames. They are loaded with energy. Your body naturally stores excess energy as fat. To reduce this fat your calorie intake must be less than the amount required to maintain your current weight.
Consider your current diet. Your normal eating pattern, your typical daily diet is responsible for your current level of body fat. Reduce your caloric intake and you will reduce your amount of body fat. It's that simple.
Reduced calorie dieting is NOT however the best way to reduce weight. To optimize your degree of fat loss while gaining or maintaining the maximum amount of muscle you must include an intelligently structured weightlifting and aerobic program.
If you're looking for one of those "do nothing and loose weight" programs, forget it. It doesn't exist. Those bullshit programs are only trying to reduce your pocketbook. They don't care about you or your health.
If there were a no effort way to be lean then 57% of the population in this country would not be overweight.
So what can I eat?
A lot of what you currently eat. Simply change the amount and frequency. Instead of 3 large meals and a few snacks, plan on having 5 or 6 smaller meals evenly spaced throughout the day. Having frequent small meals accomplishes two things.
First, by consuming only the amount of calories required at that time, your body has no need to store excess calories.
Second, by eating frequently you do not experience the hunger that is common with most diets.
Also, plan your last meal 2 hours before bedtime. Eating just before you go to sleep is a sure recipe for storing calories as fat.
The body converts carbohydrates to glycogen, a fuel used by the brain and muscles. The problem is that there is very limited storage space for glycogen, THEREFORE EXCESS CARBS ARE CONVERTED TO AND STORED AS FAT! This insures that the brain has plenty of stored energy during famines. Tell your brain to stop being so greedy, it's doesn't need all of that stored fat. Give your body the message to start burning fat for energy by limiting the amount of carbohydrates in your diet. I can't emphasize this enough. Try to take in only complex carbs and not the refined (white bread, sugar, white pasta, etc) that litter so many grocery isles. You may have to shop a little but it's worth it. Also, plan your last carb meal 3 to 4 hours before bedtime. Carbs are sticky and if you take them to bed with you they will want to hang around for a long time. Therefore, kick em out before you go to bed! Carbs also inhibit your body's ability to produce growth hormone while you sleep and the benefits of growth hormone would take an entire book to explain. Read the article in the Low Carb link at the bottom of this page, it's a real eye opener.
Eat more Protein!
Remember, you're trying to loose fat while maintaining the maximum amount of muscle. MUSCLE IS PROTEIN. Therefore protein should be included in every meal. Chicken, egg whites and protein powder are excellent sources of high quality protein and you're diet should include a combination of the above. Forget the FDA's guidelines for protein consumption, they are geared toward the average person. Does the average person have a shredded physique and well-defined six-pack.
Bodybuilders who are dieting to GAIN muscle will consume 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight or more. This equals 300 grams of protein for a 200 lb bodybuilder. I know some bodybuilders who take in much more protein than that. Unless you hit the weights hard however your requirements will be less. Aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. This should be considered a minimum. Watch the kidneys however. If you ever experience difficulty urinating see your doctor. This brings us to the next important supplement.
Most people are totally unaware of the importance of water to a healthy diet and lifestyle. I have actually overheard people say that they don't drink water at all. How utterly ridiculous. Water is the most essential element that you put into your body bar none. Every cellular transaction in your body occurs in the presence of water. Water is essential for maintaining optimal health and flushing waste and toxins from your body.
So, how much water should you drink?
Forget the recommended 8 glasses a day. That's not a bad start but let's double it. Do you want to get lean? Then drink at least a gallon of water a day. While dieting for competition, bodybuilders will drink up to 3 gallons of water per day. Why do you think that is?
BECAUSE IT WORKS!
Water not only helps to curb the appetite but it actually helps to flush out excess fat. Every now and then if I eat something that I'm feeling a little guilty for I will guzzle a quart of water immediately afterward. It dilutes the digestive fluids and accelerates the passage of the junk food from your body. A gallon of water may seem like a lot but believe me, you get used to it. Instead of a soft drink, coffee or beer, keep plenty of bottled water on hand, in the car, your place of work and in the home. It's cheap and it is very effective. Supplement companies don't want you to know of how effective water is as a diet aid because they have nothing to gain from it. You can get this highly effective diet aid from your own kitchen faucet.
Sure, you'll piss a lot. Big deal. Your keeping your body and kidneys well flushed and clean.
Reduced calorie dieting causes your body's metabolic rate to slow down which in turn causes you to store more of the food you consume as fat. It's the old "save it for a rainy day" principal. If your body thinks that it's starving it will store all that it can for future use.
That's great if you're a camel.
When you diet, your body's metabolic rate slows down in order to conserve body fat. When you go off our diet, you quickly accumulate more fat because your body is evolutionarily programmed to think another "famine" (diet) could strike at any time. By using thermogenic enhancing agents, your body maintains a high metabolic rate that causes us to burn the food we eat as energy rather than store it as fat.
Fat burners are substances that increase thermogenesis. In other words they slightly elevate body temperature and increase the rate in which you burn calories. There are hundreds of combinations of fat burners on the market however most are variations of the same ingredients.
Do I use them?
When dieting for competition I keep the protein very high, carbs very low, take in 2 gallons of water and use thermogenics twice per day.
Word of caution!
Read the warning label and follow the directions on whatever supplement you use
Hit the Weights.
No one said that this was going to be easy but few things of value are. Deal with it. If you're going to go for the healthy look you might as well go the extra mile and actually BE HEALTHY.
Do you want to be lean and limp or lean and firm? The choice is yours.
When the fat starts to go, and it will, you want to have something to show. You came here because you wanted to get ripped, not skinny. So plan on hitting the weights 3 times a week for an hour. Stick to basic, compound movements exercising the major muscle groups.
The above movements will work the entire body and when done properly will dramatically enhance your physique. Need help. Drop me an email or check out the TRAINING section at my other site.
How often should I work my Abs?
Three to four times a week! Lets skip the anatomy lesson here and just say the your abdominal muscles are divided into upper, lower and sides (intercostals and obliques external and internal oblique, rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, quadratus lumborum). Your goal is to hit them all.
Couch Crunch: Lie on your back in front of your couch with your feet on the cushion. Your calves should be at a 90-degree angle to your thighs. Now, with your hands clasped behind your head (note, do not pull against your head), raise your right elbow to your left knee. Lower yourself and repeat with your left elbow to right knee. Repeat this movement 10 times. For the next 10 reps, keep your elbows together, raise your shoulder as high as you can and your elbows between your knees. Alternating between the side and the middle works the upper and side portions of the abdominal panel.
You'll know. Don't cheat yourself. If you can't do very many that's ok. Do what you can. When the burn sets in, stop! Rest for 1 to 2 minuets and repeat. When you have completed 3 sets call it a day. It's not that tough. After your muscles have adjusted and the initial soreness goes away, you should be increasing the number of repetitions that you can do. Do you want a mid-section that you can be proud of, then prove it. Don't stop until you feel the burn!
Classic Crunch: Lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor and hands clasped behind your head, bring your elbows to your knees. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds while deliberately crunching (flexing) your abs. Your shoulders should be off of the ground during this time. Repeat for 10 repetitions. For the next 10 reps bring your right elbow to your left knee and repeat with your left elbow to your right knee. Follow the same pattern as for Couch Crunches.
Leg Raises: laying on your back with legs flat against the floor and hands at your sides, slowly raise your feet as high as possible. Your legs should remain straight during this movement. From the highest point, slowly return legs to the floor and repeat. Once again, go for the burn and repeat as above. These are great for working the lower abs.
Some people use resistance to work the abs such as holding a weight against their chest during the movement. That's fine if you want large abdominal muscles that stick out beyond the plane of the stomach. I prefer the flat look and do not add weight. Also, I read an article in a men's fitness magazine about a model who does over 3000 repetitions for his abs daily.
Talk about over-training. My abs are better than his and I don't train them nearly as hard. Neither should you!
CHEAT TO WIN!
I'm not kidding. Set aside one day a week to treat yourself to something that you really like. Pizza, ice cream, French fries, whatever. This isn't about self-abuse or neglect. It's about a lifestyle that you can be proud of. It's about health, vitality and happiness. Have a little fun. Let yourself go once a week to keep your cravings in check. You won't find yourself thinking about fattening foods so much. When I first started this program the cravings would get so intense that I would find myself binging on junk food and then feeling guilty for the next few days. Now if a craving sets in I simply remind myself that it's only 6 more days, 5 more days, 4 more days, etc. You get the point. Bodybuilders dieting for competition don't get to share in this luxury. Their goal requires a much deeper commitment and the diet becomes every bit as important as the workout. If you're not out to wear a Speedo on stage then don't be that tough on yourself. Cheat to win!
BUT YOU'RE AN EXTREMIST!
Your right, I am. I must be crazy. What was I thinking? I've wasted all of this time taking care of my body when I could have been watching television and eating junk food. I'm disgusted when I think of all of the times someone would ask if I saw that thing on TV last night and I would answer "No". How foolish of me. And what do I have to show for all of my Excesses? I'll tell you!
I'm 45 years old and turn heads everywhere I go. I put on a tight shirt and like the fit. I look people in the eye. I feel strong and confident.
We have had nearly 40 inches of snow this month. I have shoveled tons of snow and pushed several cars including my own and guess what. I'M NOT SORE.
Yeah, I must be crazy all right.
Maybe you're crazy too.
Here is what I think. Over 100 million Americans are clinically obese. They compromise their health, their pride and self-esteem by their lack of will power. They feel that obesity must not be all that bad because so many people are overweight. They become poor role models for their children in the health arena and their kids become overweight also. They will suffer from multiple diseases and die early.
AND I'M CRAZY?
Since writing this page I have aged another year chronologically. I have competed in another 2 bodybuilding competitions and placed 3rd and 1st respectively. At the tender age of 45 and training naturally I am approaching a 500 lb squat and can still say that I'm in the best shape of my life. I realize that many are less fortunate and I do not take my health granted. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for my continued strength, good fortune and the ability to be an inspiration to others.
Thousands of people visit this site regularly and many send testimonials of their improved health, physical appearance and self-esteem. They have become role models within their sphere of influence and many others will benefit from their experience.
I like to speak of the pursuit of fitness as being on the path. Regardless of your current condition, regardless of your weight, regardless of your genetics, if you are willing to get on the path and follow it you will be changed. The degree of change is up to you. It takes time, it takes commitment, it takes self-control. The rewards of being on the path however greatly exceed the sacrifices. When you step on the scale and have lost another pound you will not regret the pizza that you did not share with your friends. When you lift your shirt and for the first time see the outline of your abdominal muscles you will not regret that you drank water instead of beer or pop. When you play with your children and find that you actually have the energy to keep up with them you will not regret the time that you spent exercising.