The roadmap to flat abs is simple, but not necessarily easy. If it were easy, everyone would have flat abs and a killer body but everything in life is a choice, even the way you look and feel. These steps are simple but may be hard to follow, it all depends on you and your goals. The hard part is being consistent, making decisions day in and day out that are in line with your goal. I’m turning 39 this month and I’ve had 5 children (in a span of 7 years at that!). Yikes, that makes me feel old! I have a better body now than I’ve ever had in my life with 4-pack abs for the 1st time, almost a 6-pack. I have always been thin, not necessarily super healthy, but thin and active…but never like this. My oldest son just the other day told me I had the body of a teenager, even better than some teens, but with a mature face. He’s not the only one either; most people are shocked to know I’ve had 5 kids, yes 5 kids. I’ve even gotten carded on multiple occasions in the last 6 months; one lady told me it was because of my size. =) The only reason I mention it is to let you know where I’m coming from and that it can be done. If I can do it, you can too. I’ve been on the path to wellness for over 8 years now, spending countless hours researching and studying health, nutrition and the body. It was a gradual progression of cutting bad things out of my diet and in the last 6 months I got even more serious, cutting out all grains and sugar, doing The Daily Hiit routines with Lisa and Sean and that’s what brought me here. Some may call it eating clean, some call it the paleo diet, while others call it primal or the primal blueprint. Whatever you call it is fine with me, but did you know that 85% or more of how we look is determined by what we eat? Do you know what that means? That means you can exercise like crazy and still not see results unless you change your diet. So, where’s your first stop on the roadmap to flat abs? Yep, you guessed it, clean eating. 1. Eat Clean: This is a really simple step and may be the most important but may be one of the hardest to follow. People are so confused on what’s good and what’s really ‘healthy’ because of all the diet tricks, gimmicks, fads, diet pills & potions throughout the years, as well as all the false advertising about what’s good for us. We’ve grown up hearing, for example, that we need grains and a lot of them daily in our diet, but the more we eat them as a society the sicker we are getting. Well, I want you to throw all that stuff that you’ve heard out the window, the so called ‘conventional wisdom’ that we’ve grown up hearing on nutrition, health and fitness as well as the food pyramid you grew up seeing. Picture yourself grabbing a trash can, taking all those thoughts, things you’ve heard, said, read, tried and throw them in the trash. Now let’s start with a clean slate and start from the beginning. Let’s just imagine for a moment that there wasn’t a grocery store, restaurant or convenient store close by where you could get food. What would you do? What would you eat? How would you survive? Do you know for hundreds of thousands of years we lived as hunters and gatherers? We hunted and fished for our food and gathered plants, nuts and berries that were edible. That’s what sustained us for many, many years. I heard a radio talk show host relate the time homo sapiens have been here on earth to 60 minutes, 58 ½ of which we were hunterer-gatherers and only 1 ½ of which we have been eating our modern diet or standard American diet (SAD). That’s a very, very short amount of time don’t you think? And in that short time we’ve become fatter and sicker than we ever have been before. So let’s go back to the beginning, back to the basics and when we walk through the grocery store, focus on fresh, real foods that could have been hunted or gathered back in the old days. Its technology and industrialization that has taken us far from our roots and given us modern day conveniences and while these are all well and good and make life easy, they don’t necessarily make us any better off health wise. We’re dealing with sickness, disease, obesity, and food allergies and sensitivities like we’ve never seen before. So, let’s go back to the beginning and eat what our ancestors from hundreds of years ago would have eaten, the food our bodies were meant to consume like fish, fowl, eggs, nuts, vegetables, fruits and fats/oils (the good ones like coconut and olive). Stick to those ‘real’ foods and you’ll be on your way (more detail to come on those foods in later posts). 2. Fitness/The Daily Hiit: Make sure you get your exercise in. Most of the ailments we’re suffering from today can be alleviated, if not eliminated altogether, by eating clean and by exercising. Studies have shown that short interval training, as seen here on the daily hiit, is the best form of exercise around. Hopefully if you’ve found your way to this site you’ve done some of their workouts. If you haven’t, you definitely need to give it a shot. My muscles are more defined today than they ever have been by combining hiit(high intensity interval training) with eating clean. 3. Make the Decision: Everything you do starts with a decision. Once you make that decision, the action that follows determines what your results will be and if you fail or succeed. Even if you have setbacks, the majority of your actions need to fall in line with the goal at hand. It’s also a domino effect. Once you make a major decision, you make many smaller decisions day in and day out, hour by hour, minute by minute. All of the small decisions have to line up with the big one to form a habit and to lead you down the path to success. If and when you make the decision to eat clean, you don’t even let yourself think about the other foods. It may be hardest in the beginning, especially because once you cut them out you will crave those very foods that are causing you harm. If you’re craving them, even more reason to go without them. 4. Take Action: Again, in order to succeed you have to back up that decision with action, every day, every meal, every snack. Without action, your decision is dead in the water. What’s the point of even making a decision if you don’t back it up with action? Without action, it’s just all talk, your word is nothing and you’ll never reach your goal. 5. Be Persistent/Don’t Quit: Stay connected to this site and others like it with folks that are headed in your same direction, especially in those days when you’re feeling down, or when you’ve hit a plateau and feel like you’re not going anywhere. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Slow and steady wins the race. No one ever got lean by eating a carrot one day and a Big Mac the next, nor did they get lean by going to the gym or working out one time. Even when you experience setbacks, you’ve got to keep pushing forward. How many times did Michael Jordan fail before he succeeded? Many, but who cares…the important thing is he kept going until he succeeded time and time again to become the superstar he is today. You can too! 6. Change your mindset: The folks that are truly successful, whether it is with health, weight and fitness, in business or in any area of life, are the ones who change their mindset on whatever it is they’re doing or want to accomplish. They change their way of thinking, they figure out that what they’ve done or are doing is not working and they look for solutions. You know the old saying, ‘you can’t keep doing the same thing expecting different results.’ Maybe you're just starting out or maybe you've been on this path for a while; we all need encouragement and reminders to stick with it. No excuses, you can and will do it. Keep going, stay on the road to success only looking back to learn from your mistakes or to say 'I'm not going back there.' I'd love to hear from you, to know where you are, where you've been and where you're headed. It's such encouragement to know there are others out there like me and like you, carving out the roadmap to success, to flat abs, to health and wellness, looking and feeling great and living life to the fullest. Here's to a happy, healthy you!