Without a doubt the right diet or healthy eating plan is the single most important requirement for anyone who wants the washboard abs and muscular definition that resembles the perfect form of a Greek God. In fact, after training thousands of clients for over 20 years I can tell you now that the right diet accounts for 80 % of all successful abs programs.
Although a good training routine and adequate rest are important, it is what, when and how much you eat that will decide if you end up resembling a well conditioned athlete or a member of a sumo wrestling camp. The fact that gaining awesome definition is as simple as following a healthy eating plan can be a disappointment to anyone who likes to follow the latest buzz exercise routine or buy the latest abs machine that promises to give you a body like the models demonstrating it in six weeks, but the truth of it is, there are no miracle machines or tablets that can do what they say on the tin. As the saying goes, good abs are made in the kitchen not in the gym.
However, ab exercises are important so see my new video library for tutorials and training tips on the best six pack exercises.
However, the good news is once you know that a healthy eating plan is the key to success it is very easy to use this knowledge to your advantage. Why? Because unlike building the huge muscles of Arnie Schwarzenegger or the strength of the world’s strongest man, great abdominal definition can be achieved by anybody regardless of their genetics, age or the weight they are now. If you follow the right healthy eating plan and training program for long enough the six pack look will be the end result.
So now you know the secret, what healthy eating plan should you follow?
The answer is what ever is right for you and by that I don’t mean break out the hobnobs (unfortunately) I mean as long as you consume less calories than your body needs nothing else is cast in stone.
How do you know how many calories you need?
There are a number of rough guides to calculating your calorie maintenance level. One way is to times your body weight (in pounds) by the number 15 (for men) or 12 (for women). For example, a 140 pound man would require (15×140) = 2100 calories on a daily basis to allow him to maintain his weight. However, it is important to remember that there are numerous other factors that need to be considered such as whether you are male or female, your metabolic rate, level of muscle mass, age, and also your general level of activity. As a result, it is impossible for any such guide to be 100 percent accurate but it will give you an idea.
The next step is to calculate exactly how many calories you are consuming from the foods that you eat. This can be achieved by simply ensuring that you take note of the weight and nutritional information on food labels for several days. Once you have done so, you should then have an informed idea of how many calories you are consuming at present.
Now that you know how many calories you consume to stay the same weight you should aim to reduce your intake by 500 calories per day and see how your body reacts. If you have correctly forecast your calorie maintenance level, and then reduced your daily intake by 500 calories per day, you should lose approximately 1 pound of fat per week, as there are 4000 calories in 1 pound of fat.
The goal for most people should be to lose no more than one pound of fat a week. Therefore, once you start your healthy eating plan, take all your measurements, weigh yourself once a week and observe your body in the mirror to see if you are making steady progress.
If you are happy with what is happening you simply need to continue with what is working. If on the other hand you are not seeing the fat reduction you should or are losing weight to quickly you can adjust the number of calories until you find the right balance.
People following a healthy eating plan to get ripped need a diet that contains all the right nutrients to stay healthy but to make sure you keep your muscle mass whilst dieting you must also pay particular attention to your protein intake.
The exact amount of protein needed varies from person to person but for a rough guide 1.5 to 2 grams of protein for each kilogram that you weigh is the best amount of protein you should consume if you want to keep your muscle whilst the fat leaves the building.
The rest of the diet equation.
As well as how many calories and grams of protein you need each day. You also have to consider the rest of the equation such as what percentage of your healthy eating plan should consist of carbohydrates and what percentage should consist of fat?
The answer as mentioned earlier is not cast in stone so up to a point you can tailor your protein, carbohydrate and fat percentages to suit what works best for you. However, as I am sure you noticed I only said “up to a point” and that is because although you can play around with the exact percentages, most experts would say that to lose fat whilst retaining muscle you should follow a diet that consists of 25% protein, 50% carbohydrates and 25% fat and you don’t want to stray to much from those guidelines. Also note that many body builders consume a higher protein diet of 40% protein 40% carbohydrates and 20% fat, so again do what works for you.
When to eat.
The worst thing you can do if you want to build great abdominal definition is have your total daily allowance of calories in one meal. The best thing you can do is spread the calories over as many small meals as possible.
Because if you only have 1 or 2 meals per day your body uses only a small percentage of the calories and stores the rest as fat, however, when you spread your calories out over smaller meals throughout the day you have a far better chance of burning calories instead of storing them as fat and you are also less likely to feel hungry.
So the best advice for your healthy eating plan is to have 4 or 5 small meals per day eating your last meal a couple of hours before bedtime to give your body a chance to burn the calories.
Because of the marketing designed to get people to buy fitness products some people might be surprised to learn that exercise plays only a small part in what is needed to get ripped.
Whilst a program of muscle building, cardio and abs exercises is certainly needed to develop really good definition most types of exercise will produce results if your diet is right and you stay on it long enough.
The bottom line is we all have abs it is just that for most people they are hidden by a layer of fat. Reducing your calories by 500 less than you need to maintain your weight will eventually reveal the treasure hidden beneath. The only variable is the time it takes the individual and that is a scientific fact.
Great abdominal definition and overall muscle tone is a goal that is obtainable by anyone although it obviously takes longer for some people depending on age, genetics and present fat levels.
However, I can’t stress enough that your diet is the key, if you get that right and stick to it long enough then success will be yours.
Remember, follow a healthy eating plan, make sure you get enough protein and try to maintain a calorie intake that is 500 less per day than you need and you have cracked it.
As for exercise, you should defiantly keep to a good program that includes exercises to build muscle and ones to burn fat but don’t get hung up about it or think that there is only one particular routine that will bring results. Why? Because as you now know the right healthy eating plan is what will bring success not money spent on machines, tablets or the latest exercise routine.
Your body is the most amazing creation on the planet that adapts to what ever is asked of it. Therefore, when your progress begins to slow down on your current diet and exercise program as is the case for most of us. Change things around and make your body adapt further.
For more advice on training diets please see
The strength healthy eating plan
The secrets of muscle building
Fit and overweight
Get back your sex appeal
Weight loss goal setting
How to keep your heart healthy
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