Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to Get Six-Pack Abs

The fitness industry is a crazy business, especially when it comes to abs. For example, if you want to reveal your six-pack, you generally have two product choices.

1. The too-easy-to-work method.

You know this better as "5-minute abs!" or some such hype. But if this approach were really effective, even Chris Christie would have a washboard.

2. The so-hard-it-has-to-work method.

Think 60 to 90 minutes of exercise, 6 days a week. Now if you have the time and energy for this kind of regimen, we commend you. But plenty of people are missing one or the other. And that's just reality, not a cop-out.

So we wondered: Could there be an ab-sculpting program that actually works and is doable for most people? For the answer, we turned to Mike Wunsch, C.S.C.S., and Craig Rasmussen, C.S.C.S., creators of Men's Health's newest fat-loss plan, 24-Hour Abs! The answer: "Absolutely," says Wunsch, who teams up with Rasmussen to design the workout programs at Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. "That's exactly how we make our living."

One important fact about Results Fitness: Even in a recession, this Southern California gym has expanded. Twice. Why? Because its trainers have developed a fat-loss formula tailored specifically for busy people. (Read: mostly everyone.) The requirements are simple: 30 to 40 minutes a day, 3 days a week. So how do these trainers do it when so many others have failed? They threw out the old guidelines. The new ones they've created are based on 21st-century science and the methods that work best with their clients. Now you can benefit, too.

Don't target your abs to lose fat

Or you might end up frustrated like this!

Back in 2002, we reported that it would take 250,000 crunches to burn a pound of fat, according to estimates from University of Virginia scientists. We're pretty sure those researchers published that statistic to make a point. But after almost a decade, the point still may not have hit home. "I'm amazed at the number of people who think that simply doing ab exercises will make their belly disappear," says Rasmussen. "That is probably the least efficient way to reveal a six-pack."

Do work every single muscle

Ok maybe not to this extreme but you get the point

"Muscle is your body's primary fat burner," says Rasmussen. Your muscles require energy to contract, which is why you burn calories when you exercise. But resistance training, unlike running or cycling, also causes a significant amount of damage to your muscle fibers. And that's a good thing. "Your body has to expend energy to repair and upgrade those fibers after your workout," says Rasmussen. "And a single total-body weight-training session can boost your metabolism for up to 2 days."

So you shouldn't neglect a single inch of your body. That goes double for the legs, a body part that plenty of men either train just once a week or simply ignore. Case in point: Syracuse University researchers determined that people burned more calories the day after a lower-body resistance session than the day after they worked their upper bodies. [you're welcome The Maker's Body clients for all those leg exercises we give you...they're a reason for the pain...good pain that is :)] Why? Because your lower half houses more muscle. The upshot: "A busy guy's smartest approach is to train his entire body every other day," says Rasmussen. "That allows you to elevate your metabolism maximally all week long, even though you're working out only 3 or 4 days a week."

Don't start your workout with crunches

"You can do lots of crunches and situps and still have a weak core," says Wunsch. "We see that all the time." The reason: Classic ab moves like crunches and situps work the muscles that allow you to flex (that is, round) your lower spine. (In fact, there's new evidence out there that shows the crunch might be The Most Useless Exercise Ever.) True core exercises, on the other hand, train the muscles that prevent your spine from rounding. They also allow you to transfer force from your lower body to your upper body (in a golf swing, for example), and vice versa. Core exercises target the same muscles that crunches do, but they also include your hip and lower-back muscles. So what's a true core exercise? One that trains you to keep your spine stable and in its natural alignment. Besides the plank (more on that in a minute), scores of exercises qualify, including the side plank, mountain climber, and even the pushup.

Do start with core exercises

Stability Ball Rollout

"We test everything in our gym," says Wunsch. "And we've seen that people achieve far better results when they do core exercises at the beginning of their workout instead of at the end." The reason: By training your core when your muscles are fresh, you achieve the fastest gains in strength, says Wunsch.

That's important for the average guy, Wunsch and his colleagues have found, because the core is the limiting factor in almost every exercise. "A weak core is what keeps most men from lifting more weight in the squat and deadlift and just about everything else," says Wunsch. "If we focus on strengthening their core first, they'll ultimately be able to lift heavier weights, which allows them to work more muscle and burn more calories. We're thinking about long-term success."

Don't spend hours on your core

While 5 minutes of exercise a day isn't enough to reveal your abs, it is about the right amount of time to dedicate to targeted core training. "We've found that just 2 to 4 sets of one or two core exercises is quite effective," Rasmussen says. "Our goal is to make you stronger, not more tired." A 5-minute core routine prior to weight training has a side benefit, too. "It revs up your core muscles so they fire better as you do other exercises," Rasmussen says.
Do master the plank
Ok not that kind of plank...
this kind

Flip through any issue of Men's Health and you'll probably find some version of the plank. This exercise may appear boring and easy—after all, you look like you're simply holding a pushup position but with your weight supported on your forearms instead of your hands. "The plank is easy only if you're doing it incorrectly or don't know how to make it more challenging," says Wunsch. What's more, he adds, the plank is key because it teaches you to make your core stiff. "That's a skill you need for almost every exercise."

So how do you perfect this exercise? Start by assuming a plank position, and then have a friend place a broomstick along your back. It should touch your head, upper back, and butt; this indicates that your spine is in proper alignment. If the stick doesn't make contact at all three points, simply adjust your posture until it does. That's the position you need to hold. Now to learn all the secrets to the perfect plank, watch this video.

Don't waste a second on the treadmill

"If you have only 30 to 40 minutes to devote to a workout, then every second has to count," says Rasmussen. "In those cases, our clients do zero running." His contention is that you can achieve faster fat loss with resistance training. How so? First, drop the assumption that running burns more calories than lifting does. A University of Southern Maine study found that a single set of a weight-training exercise torches as many calories as running at a 6-minute-mile pace for the same amount of time. So for every second you spend lifting weights, your body is expending high amounts of energy.

There's also the metabolism boost of weight training. "Resistance training has a much larger metabolic impact than long-distance running does," says Rasmussen. "Plus, your body is being given a stimulus to gain strength and build new lean tissue." One last efficiency benefit: Lifting weights through a full range of motion can improve your flexibility as well or even better than static stretching does, according to a University of North Dakota study.

Do keep your body moving

"Our goal is to pack as much physical work as possible into whatever time our clients have," says Wunsch. To that end, he and Rasmussen frequently implement supersets and circuits—strategies that save time without sacrificing results. To understand why, you'll need a few quick definitions.

Straight sets: This is a traditional weight-training routine, in which you complete all the sets of a given exercise before moving on to the next.

Alternating sets: These involve alternating between exercises that train your body using two noncompeting movements. For example, you pair an upper-body exercise that works the muscles on your front side—a pushup or bench press, say—with a lower-body exercise that emphasizes the muscles on your back side--the deadlift, for example. The idea is that you work a group of muscles with one exercise, but instead of sitting around for a full 2 or 3 minutes while that muscle group recovers, you perform an exercise that doesn't heavily engage those same muscles. As a result, you can cut your rest time in half or eliminate it completely.

Circuits: These are similar to alternating sets, except that they involve three or more exercises. You can rest after each exercise in the circuit, or only after the last exercise.

How much time can these techniques save? A 2011 Spanish study found that men who trained with circuits achieved the same gains as those who trained with straight sets—yet their workouts were 42 percent shorter. But that's not to suggest you should hit the showers early. No, it means circuits and alternating sets can help you squeeze more total sets into the same sweat session.

Your friend,


PS. If you live in North or West Vancouver, BC and want to experience the boot camp in North Vancouver that GUARANTEES you'll lose at least a clothing size in 30 days or your money back AND will help you get fast results like this girl in the video below who lost 20 pounds, 6.5 inches off her waist and 4 inches off her hips, then click the link below to get your free workout and $50 off any one of our programs:
===>Here's the video:

Craig Rasmussen 
Craig has relocated back to Southern California after spending several years in Indianapolis, Indiana working as a fitness coach at a private training facility, and a strength coach at the high school level. Prior to that, Craig worked as a full-time Physical Education teacher at the middle school level in Santa Monica, California. Craig also received his BA in Physical Education from CSU Chico. He grew up in Ventura attending Buena High School with basketball being his sport of choice.

Craig became passionate about weight training following his freshman year in college when his Junior College basketball coach listed that two of his weaknesses were his strength and size. This proved to be a great motivation for him and he now is a competitive powerlifter and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Find out more about Craig at http://www.results-fitness.com/trainers.php?page=4&action=9.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Get More Sleep To Lose Body Fat

You'll see what I mean by bad news at the end.

Everybody knows that if you want to lose body fat you need to pay attention to diet and exercise. However, there's another factor that hardly anybody talks about...sleep. As a culture, Westerners get much less sleep today than their ancestors did. You can blame a lot of that on the blessing of electricity. What happens when you go to bed too late and what is "too late"? I'm guilty of this so don't think I'm perfect. I need to work on this. 

Is this you?

Any competitive athlete will tell you that they can feel the difference between 8 hours of sleep that starts at 9pm compared with 10pm compared with 11pm. When you push your body hard, you recover much better if you get to bed early. Why is this? Eve Van Cauter PhD is a world authority on the endocrine system and circadian rhythms. Put her name into Google or PubMed and you'll find dozens of her studies clearly showing the unpleasant influences that sleep deprivation has on hormones and other physiological parameters. Side note: hormones play a critical role in how much muscle you build and how much fat you lose. I repeat: the better your hormone profile (affected through sleep, diet, training, stress, etc.), the more fat you will lose. 

A colleague of mine in California, Chris Maund, spent over 3 years gathering information on this topic before writing a review of literature entitled "Sleep, Biological Rhythms and Electromagnetic Fields". His conclusion after spending all those months reviewing literature? Very simple...if you wish to get lean and feel physically recovered from day to day you need at least 8 hours sleep and you'd better be asleep by 10pm at the latest. This is partly because getting to bed later than this adversely affects your natural secretion of growth hormone. You only get one pulsed secretion of growth hormone every 24 hours....if you're not in bed early that pulse is significantly diminished in size.

You are probably aware that most people feel better and lose body fat when they cut gluten from their diet. What you might not realize is that all grains are problematic for most people...not just the classic gluten containing grains. 

Why is this? Partly it's because there is a lot of confusion over which grains contain gluten and which ones do not. Many "gluten free" people continue to eat oats and quinoa because they have been told these two are gluten free. There are two major problems with this logic.



The first problem is that most people feel better, have more energy and less body fat, when they eliminate ALL grains INCLUDING oats and quinoa. Chris and his wife Janet have seen many clients over the years who were unable to get rid of their symptoms (and body fat) until they cut oats and quinoa from their diet. This is partly because oats and quinoa do contain a form of gliadin which does cause significant health problem in many people. Gliadin is the relevant offending sub fraction of gluten.When someone says "I'm gluten intolerant" it's more accurate to say "I'm gliadin intolerant". 

The second problem is that all grains - even rice and corn, which are truly gluten/gliadin free - are simply delivery vehicles for huge amounts of carbohydrate. Most people do not do anywhere enough exercise to burn off the carbohydrates that they get from their daily grain consumption. Unless you are doing at least 60 mins of HARD exercise every day, you should cut ALL grains from your diet and get your carbohydrates from vegetables.

So the bad news is you might need to go to bed earlier (myself included ;) and you might need to eliminate, or at least cut back, grains from your diet. But the good news is you'll feel better, become healthier and lose more body fat...I know you like hearing that :)

Your friend,


PS. We're considering opening up more North Vancouver boot camp class times. Currently we have M, W, F at 5:45 am, 11:30 am, 5 pm, 6 pm, 7 pm and Saturdays at 10 am. Would you be interested in a 7:00 am, 9:30 am and/or 12:30 pm (noontime) class?

PPS. Make sure you give these people a big high 5 next time you see
them as they each referred their friends to our program and because
of our referral incentive program got some serious rewards:

Allison - referred 1 friend - gets $100 off next month of training
Mich - referred 2 friends  - gets $200 off next month of training
Aly – referred 1 friend – gets $100 off next month of training
Tania – gets half off program
Rob and Sonja –  gets half off program
Kristen H. - gets half off program

Thanks for bringing your friends out! And this is not all of them

Hey by the way, so that you can get on this list and get free
training and save like these did, encourage your friends, family
and coworkers to come out for their first session at no cost to try
it out and if they choose to sign up, they’ll get $50 off whichever
program they choose and I will totally hook you up with our referral
bonuses of giving you 50% (half) off for EACH person you refer
that joins. Not bad if you ask me.

Janet Alexander
A 25-year veteran of the Health and Fitness Industry and commited endurance athlete, Janet draws her experience from a varied career base, including teaching, sales and marketing, advertising and design as well as working with clients requiring sports performance and orthopedic rehabilitation. Janet is one of the Senior Faculty at the C.H.E.K Institute, co-owner of The CHEK Studio, Inc. in Encinitas, CA where she works predominantly with golfing athletes and their coaches including PGA and LPGA professionals. https://www.chekconnect.com/Page/ConnectProfile?member=janetalexander1

Chris Maund
Chris Maund is a member of the C.H.E.K Faculty and has been teaching for the C.H.E.K Institute since 1998. Chris has a bachelor's degree in Physical Education and Sports Science from Loughborough University in England. He has written a thesis to satisfy part of the requirements for C.H.E.K Practitioner Program entitled "Sleep, Biological Rhythms and Electromagnetic Fields". Chris is a strong believer in the value of massage therapy and studied Paul St John's Neuro Muscular Therapy program. An experienced triathlete, he was a member of the British National Squad from 1989-1992 before emigrating to New Zealand in 1993. Chris has a wealth of experience working in a wide variety of rehabilitation and sports conditioning scenarios. https://www.chekconnect.com/Page/ConnectProfile?member=chrismaund

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