By Alan Golnick
To give you the best tools and information possible to embark on your quest for optimal fitness and a rock-hard midsection, we’ve gotten the lowdown from some of the fittest guys on the planet – all of whom have graced the cover of FitnessRx for Men. We asked them for their best ab-training tips and for any advice they have for people who want to start a fitness program. So before you hit the gym, check out what our cover models have to say.
You Need a Plan of Attack
Winston Churchill has a famous quote and it is something my college football coach used over and over: “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” It doesn’t matter if it is in academics, business or getting started in a fitness program. One needs to have a detailed plan of attack in order to have a chance of achieving any type of success. The five most important factors, in my opinion, when starting a fitness program are:
- Having a well thought-out nutrition plan to help fuel your actions to achieve your goals.
- A workout plan consistent with your current physical state, but also with increasing difficulty to ensure increased effort along the way.
- Goals!! Have well thought-out and written-down goals. Whether it is a weight-loss number by a certain date, to run a 5K or compete in a show. Have something to strive for.
- Having a committed workout partner can be crucial to one’s success. Someone who will help push you through the days you do not feel like working hard or going to the gym at all. Having a workout partner keeps you accountable.
- Keep a logbook of each workout so you can constantly measure yourself against previous efforts. Comparing yourself to others is a recipe for failure. However, when you can compare to the person you were yesterday and are always striving to do just a little bit better, then success is imminent.
Joe’s Abdominal Training Tips
- Do some type of abdominal work each and every day. I personally alternate between high-volume work one day, attacking the middle and upper abdominals, and then do weighted lower abdominal work the next day. As an athlete, having a strong core was a crucial part of competition on the athletic field. I have kept this philosophy with my transition into the fitness industry.
- Abs are made in the kitchen, for the most part. Keep your diet clean. You can work your abs all you want but if they are covered in body fat, you are simply spinning your wheels.
- Personally, I am not a big fan of jumping on a treadmill or stair stepper to lose body fat. I have found the absolute best results in ripping up one’s midsection come from getting your ass out on the athletic field and sprinting. Whether it’s sprinting up bleachers, hills or on the athletic field, this is the absolute best way to reduce body fat as well as increase conditioning.
- Be consistent and stay committed. It is a marathon, not a sprint. You will have weeks where you see major progress and weeks where you seem to plateau. Do not quit. Push through and stay focused!
Recipe for Ripped Six-pack
The most important thing to remember about abs is that they are a muscle, and just like any other muscle. But because of the way the body stores fat, this muscle group is most impacted by the food you eat and lifestyle you live. Remember, you can shape the way your abs look according to how you exercise. For instance, if you want deep cuts in your abs, you have to do high weight with low reps; to build larger muscles and for more sculpted abs, it’s best to do low weight with high reps. I like to use a mix of both.
It is extremely important to focus your attention on your abdominal muscles when doing any type of ab exercise. One thing I notice with my clients is that when I tell them this, they immediately stop using their lower back, lower the weight down, and then they are working the intended muscle group. I usually get the same look of amazement in their eyes during about the 10th rep that says, “Wow, I can feel it.”
I do abs every day, but rotate the intensity of the exercises (the reoccurring theme is you have to feel what your body needs and provide just that). If my abs are not sore, this tells me I can continue to break down the muscle because it’s already built back up. I like to use various exercises for abs. One of my favorites is standing rope crunches. I like leg lifts to hit the lower abs and do planks to help create the “lines” around the abdominal area. I do the planks for a couple of minutes at a time for 3 or 4 sets. This is a good way to end that workout.
I will spend about 15 minutes at the beginning of every workout doing the circuit listed below for abs. I use this time to allow the pre-workout supplements to kick in and get focused on the workout ahead.
Perform 3-4 rounds with 90 seconds rest after each round. Do not rest after individual exercises.
|Standing Ab Crunches Using Rope||25-50 reps|
|Leg Raises on the Ball||25-50 reps|
|30-Degree Incline Leg Lifts||25-50 reps|
For more information on how I can help develop a personalized lifestyle program to help fit your life, please contact me. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my Facebook Fan Page, Bill Sienerth.
Diego’s Ab Basics
- Set up a proper nutrition regimen.
- Pre-plan your meals – never wait to the last minute.
- Have a set training schedule.
- Set a 90-day goal/routine to start the year, and then start a new one after 90 days to keep it fresh. Twenty-one days of the same behavior becomes habit-forming and second nature, thus much easier for you to execute.
Hardcore Ab Building Tips
- 15 minutes of a high-intensity ab routine every other day is optimal.
- Incorporate weighted crunches to define and sculpt your abs.
- Cable and machine crunches are great ab-building exercises.
- Supersets are great to fatigue the abs to complete failure.
- Hit all angles of your abs— serratus, lower, upper and transverse.
- Mix up your routine with sprints, knee kicks and an intense, quick ab-crunch floor routine to polish them off.
- Make a mental connection (mind to body part) to isolate every region of your abs (serratus, upper and lower).
- Be careful not to overwork the obliques with heavy weights. You can overbuild them, and that will give you a boxed frame look rather than a V-taper.
- Cardio is also a huge part of getting the abs right! We all have abs … burning that fat is mandatory to shred down to that six-pack. Interval training is a quick, effective way to burn the calories necessary to show those abs.
Tips to Start a Training Program
- Set goals. Log in a journal and set specific goals to get motivated!
- Stay consistent with your diet and training.
- Hold yourself accountable!
- Add interval cardio training, at least 20-30 minutes daily.
- Hydrate— drink at least half your bodyweight in ounces of water every day.
- Get your supplements, including protein powder and pre-workout.
- Cut the alcohol.
- Allow yourself one cheat day per week.
- Keep your intensity high! Don’t just go through the motions … make your workouts count!
- Intensity equals immensity!
For more information, visit www.diegosebastianfitness.com or Diego’s Facebook page, Diego Sebastian.