I’ve had numerous people ask me specifics on how I have been able to sculpt my abs into a 6-pack. I’m 39 years old and I’ve had 5 kids in a 7 year time frame. My oldest is 11 and my youngest is 4. I’ve been fairly thin all my life, but not necessarily healthy and this is the first time my abs have looked this good believe it or not. (Read more about being skinny-fat on my previous blog here
.) After over 8 years of researching and looking for answers to finding optimal health and wellness, I’ve finally come to find the answers I was searching for and the lifestyle that fits my needs and makes the most sense.
I have gone back to more of the way our ancestors would have eaten, back before all the modern day conveniences, before the agricultural and industrial revolutions. You could say, like a hunter and gatherer. If I couldn’t hunt it or forage for it, I probably won’t eat it…although there are a few exceptions like some tasty dark chocolate made with 65% or more cacao. In modern day terms, you’d call it a high fat-low carbohydrate, paleo, or primal diet. I’m livin’ la vida low-carb
, at least low carb in relation to the Standard American Diet (SAD).
So here’s the breakdown of how I’ve been eating and how I’ve been able to sculpt my abs to what they are today. I believe 85% of how we look is due in large part to what we eat, the other 15% is how we move. For the 15%, I’ve adopted the hiit workouts from bodyrock and the dailyhiit right here on this website. Wow, what an awesome way to work out. It’s more fun and challenging than any workout I’ve ever done. I’ve had friends tell me they sweat more with these workouts than an hour in the gym at ‘bodypump’ or that they run 13 miles + and had a hard time getting through the 50 second intervals of the dailyhiit workouts and were sore the next day. If you’re looking for the workouts to sculpt your abs, you can find them here that’s for sure and they're free! No need to pay an expensive gym membership. One word of caution though, don’t get into over-exercising because it only leads to over-taxing your body, adding stress, inflammation, makes you eat more and actually can hinder you from losing weight and/or gaining lean muscle mass. “The bottom line is that you will not lose fat effectively with exercise-driven weight-loss efforts unless you moderate insulin production. “ Mark Sisson of The Primal Blueprint. In other words, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. As long as you’re pumping in the carbs, you’re spiking your insulin which will drive the calories you’re consuming into the fat cells instead of flushing them out, not to mention the many other issues that come along with it. It’s no wonder so many folks, end up spinning their wheels in the gym or working out with little to no results, or experience some weight loss and then stall out…ultimately leading to burn out. Just so you know, I work out an average of 3 hours a week...I'm not killing myself in a gym. I don't have time for that, nor would I want to do that because it's counterproductive.
As for the food, I stick to real food, food that comes from a plant or animal. I use an application that helps me log in what I eat daily called myfitnesspal, but there are others like it if you just search the web. I don’t focus on the calories, but focus on the grams of fats, proteins and carbohydrates I take in daily. As far as carbs go, I try to stay between 50-80 grams a day. For protein, the calculation is 1 gram per pound of lean body mass, which for me was around 80 grams. Some days I get more, some days less just depending on how I feel but for the most part I stay pretty close to 80 without much effort. For the rest of my calories I fill them in with good fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, bacon grease, nuts, etc. The fats help keep you satiated throughout the day and they actually help you burn fat. After a while of sticking with this type of plan, you turn your body into a fat-burning machine, you’re able to change your body from running on carbs to running on fat for fuel, the preferred form.
My calculations may not be exact, but they’re working pretty well for me now. As time goes on, I can tweak things according to how I feel and that’s what I encourage you to do too, listen to your body as you try new things. I've got a few folks trying a 21 day challenge with me, cutting out grains, sugar and processed foods. How about you?
Your weight X % Body Fat = Pounds of lean body mass
Lean body mass = grams of protein