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Last Updated on January 10, 2018

How To Get A Six-Pack In One Month

How To Get A Six-Pack In One Month

I have a six pack. Ok. Sometimes I have a six pack. Ok, Ok. For like 2 months of the year I have a six-pack. I mean, give me a break. I am not a fitness model or anything. I am just a regular old 37 year old. But, I can whip out a six pack given a month’s notice.

I am not going to sit here and insult everyone’s intelligence and effort by saying everyone is going to be able to pull off a six pack in one month. One month is not long enough for some peoplebecause there are many factors that go into fat loss. Genetics, current weight, current diet, injuries, etc.

But, there is not a doubt in my mind that almost anyone could have a six pack. If you exercise regularly and you eat somewhat healthy, have an injury free body that only carries a small spare tire and can be pushed hard, it is definitely possible for you to make your abs pop with a month’s notice. The way is simple but it requires some discipline and hard work and it goes like this:

Number 1 Six-Pack Rule: Create Calorie Deficits!!!

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    Despite all the diet voodoo you read and hear about, losing fat comes down to one tried and true simple fact. You need to burn more calories than you take in. That is how you get rid of fat sitting on your belly and covering up the abs that are living under there.

    So how do we create calorie deficits?

    1. Cardio AND Weights!

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      There are basically two schools of thought in the fitness world regarding cardio for fat loss. There are the high intensity cardio folks and the steady state cardio folks. High intensity cardio will get you a faster burn quicker, but it is a lot harder. Steady state cardio will take you longer to burn the same calories, but it is more sustainable. Pick whichever one you want and remember that all that matters is the calories you burn.

      Just hitting cardio will do nice things for your body. It will lean you up, but it better be combined with weights, otherwise you will be plenty skinny without an ab in sight. When I want to get my stomach ready for taking off my shirt, I never stop hitting the weight room. I just add my cardio on to the time I train. I may lift lighter than usual with less rest in between sets, in order to balance the stress and strain of the added cardio, but I keep lifting, because the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn, as I said above, we are all about burning those calories!

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      2. Diet

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        I cannot sit here and suggest a specific diet that will work for everyone. Everyone is different and I don’t think diets as a whole work. You have to know your body and know what works for you to lose weight. I personally use intermittent fasting as a means to maintaining a functional eating plan for myself. It has a lot more health benefits than simply weight control.

        If you eat lots of lean protein, about as many grams as you weigh, eat lots of greens, fruits and veggies, and fill the bit that’s left with some healthy carbs and healthy fats, I’m confident to say that you are on the right track for fat loss and a six-pack.

        3. Drink Water!

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          A gallon a day. Drinking water helps you to stave off hunger as well as helps with water retention – a big issue when trying to get that six-pack showing. Get a gallon jug, fill it up in the morning and every time you’re are hungry, jug water before you reach for food. Most of the times we seem hungry it is because we are thirsty, so stay hydrated and you will eat less.

          4. Stop Spot Training

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            I just want to dispel a general myth about weight lifting. You cannot burn fat in particular areas of your body by spot training. More often, you can only build muscle by doing so. Spending 20 minutes a day at the gym doing crunches and planks are not going to burn belly fat. Your time is better spent elsewhere in the gym to maximize results.

            5. Diet Pills and Weight Loss Supplements

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              Most of the diet pills out there are chalked full of ingredients that have never been actually linked to fat loss, or are seriously dangerous when taken in dosages high enough to make a difference. I recommend you skip the diet pills and weight loss magic and just put in the hard work necessary to achieve your six pack goals.

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              Exercises to do for your six-pack

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                We have addressed some of the simple advice for getting your six pack, it’s time to look at some of the exercises you can do to make you’re abs pop. The key here is not to constantly train abs, as we discussed above about the myth of spot training, but you should be throwing in some ab work at the end of your workouts 3-4 times a week in order to bring them out.

                Below I list a few of the best exercises that you can fold into any workout. I suggest you pick two of these exercises and hit about 3 sets of 30 reps for each every other workout.

                Cable Crunch

                Bicycle Crunch

                Hanging Leg Raise

                Spiderman Plank

                Lower Ab Leg Lift

                Conclusion

                Bringing out your six-pack requires hard work, discipline, structure and some physical and mental pain. If anyone tells you any different, they are lying to you. There is no secret, mystical fast track way to make your abs pop. So put in the work, create caloric deficits, exercise regularly with weights and cardio, eat clean and healthy, stay hydrated and skip all the magical promises that are out there. If you do all this, you can get your six-pack showing in a month and you can keep it for as long as you continue to put in the work!

                Featured photo credit: Jasminko Ibrakovic via shutterstock.com

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                Last Updated on November 11, 2018

                How to Gain Muscle Fast (The Healthy And Natural Way)

                How to Gain Muscle Fast (The Healthy And Natural Way)

                There’s a common misconception that building muscle occurs entirely in the gym from exercise and lifting weights. In this article, we are going to debunk this notion that weight lifting and gym exercise yields 100%, or even 90% for that matter, of muscle building results.

                So how to gain muscle fast in a healthy way?

                Yes working-out is a critical aspect of developing muscle, however it should not be the focal point. Building muscle occurs primarily outside of the gym by way of diet/eating habits, and sleep regimen.

                How Is Muscle Developed?

                Muscle is developed from damaging the tissue during exercise, and facilitating the most optimal circumstances for repair and growth of those same tissues. This means you will not only need to exercise, but you should focus on carbohydrates around your exercises, and adequate rest and recovery between workouts.

                If your focus is building muscle and not losing weight, focusing on a high-carb diet with carb loading around the workout days will yield great results. Yes, you absolutely can lose fat and build muscle following a low-carb diet, but you’ll make faster progress if you follow a high-carb diet instead. Now don’t take that as a green-light to stuff your face with pasta, bread, and all sorts of other carb-heavy foods.

                Let’s examine Glycogen – a multibranched polysaccharide of glucose that serves as a form of energy storage in humans. Muscle glycogen is a form of carbohydrate that’s stored in your muscles and liver. Glycogen is the primary source of fuel during exercise, and low glycogen levels decreases your ability to gain strength and muscle. The best way to maintain high levels of muscle glycogen is to eat a high-carb diet, with around 1 to 3 grams of carbs per pound of body weight.

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                The time of ingestion of a carbohydrate supplement on muscle glycogen storage post exercise was examined in a study with twelve male cyclists that exercised continuously for 70 min on a cycle ergometer at 68% VO2max, interrupted by six 2-min intervals at 88% VO2max, on two separate occasions. The results suggest that delaying the ingestion of a carbohydrate supplement post-exercise will result in a reduced rate of muscle glycogen storage.

                How to Gain Muscle Fast?

                If you want to gain muscle as quickly, safely and efficiently as possible, then you want high muscle glycogen levels. Here’s a few effective approaches to building muscle:

                Muscle Growth and Glycogen Levels

                The primary driver of gaining muscle and its growth is progressive tension overload, which involves exposing your muscles to increasingly greater levels of tension over time. The most effective way to achieve this is to get as strong as possible on heavy compound lifts (squat, bench press, deadlift, over head press, bent over barbell rows..etc).

                When you keep glycogen levels high, you’re going to gain strength faster, which means gaining muscle faster, too. Having higher levels of muscle glycogen will more than likely help you build muscle faster.

                Maintaining high muscle glycogen levels also improves post-workout genetic signaling relating to muscle growth and repair.

                Muscle Recovery and Glycogen Levels

                Not only do higher muscle glycogen levels yield quicker strength gains, it will also improve recovery between workouts.

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                On the contrary, low muscle glycogen levels are associated with overtraining, and even increasingly popular low-carb diets, which deplete muscle glycogen. Low glycogen levels also increase cortisol and reduce testosterone levels in athletes, which is a key component needed for building muscle.

                Those on a low-carb diets also have reduced insulin levels. Insulin, in addition to helping store nutrients, also has powerful anti-catabolic properties. Basically insulin decreases the rate at which muscle proteins are broken down, which in turn creates a more anabolic environment conducive to muscle growth and development.

                Intermittent Fasting (“IF”) and Testosterone

                Fasting is not just a beneficial way to manage your weight, caloric intake, and start shredding as I have indicated in previous articles. Some research shows that fasting can be a source of strength enhancement and increases in testosterone stimulation.

                As humans age metabolism slows and testosterone production decreases, this simply means that the body will no longer be able to work as efficiently as it did in earlier years. This is one of the primary reasons why you should take more care to your diet.

                Research has shown that intermittent fasting can enhance the ability to secrete growth hormone in the body.[1] This is one of the primary reasons why IF is one of the preferred dietary habits of bodybuilders and strength athletes such as myself, whom will utilize an approach that emphasizes fasting phases (2 of 7 days of the week for example).

                Research has also shown that IF can increase the bodies ability to signal luteinizing hormone.[2] In non-obese men, an intermittent fasting testosterone study showed that IF increased LH (luteinizing hormone – a testosterone precursor hormone) up to 67% and overall testosterone 180%.

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                Luteinizing hormone is one that works in both men and women to enhance our ability to be sexually active and productive. In women, luteinizing hormone can trigger ovulation, and in men, works to stimulate testosterone.

                Intermittent fasting also increases levels of a hormone called adiponectin. This increase in adiponectin during the fast helps improve insulin sensitivity. Adiponectin is so effective, in fact, that it’s been shown to reverse insulin resistance in mice.

                Gaining Muscle and Macro Nutrients – Protein!

                Something that absolutely cannot go overlooked is the protein consumption. Personally, I believe protein should be primarily consumed in food, however if looking to gain muscle, it can often be quite difficult to hit daily macro nutrient requirements.

                If one is to build muscle consistently a general rule of thumb is to aim for 1-1.5grams of protein per pound of body weight on a daily basis. So as a 200lb man I would be needing to consume 200grams – 250grams of protein per day. I would aim for the higher consumption on days when very active and training.

                As I’m sure you’re aware, it can often be quite difficult to consume that much protein, especially in food! It’s in these cases where supplementing protein isn’t a bad idea and I have discussed in great detail the different types of protein in previous articles.

                Generally speaking, I lean towards Whey Protein Isolate, or non-dairy options such as Hemp Protein, or Pea Protein. As of late I have been waking up every morning and consuming one scoop of Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein Bovines from grass-fed beef. Collagen peptides are highly bioavailable and act as building blocks; renewing bodily tissues such as skin, bones and joints.[3]

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                Collagen peptides may act as a messenger to the cells and trigger the synthesis and reorganization of new collagen fibers, thereby supporting tissue structure. Consuming protein such as Collagen in the morning is beneficial as the stomachs acids are needed to optimally break-down and absorb protein.

                Though this has been a topic of great debate, I also firmly believe adequate carbohydrates are required to build muscle, especially if you are exercising/training often. With all the low-carb movements floating around the internet, there’s lots of misinformation. Muscle-building requires energy which is typically through an increased intake of carbohydrates.

                Yes to gain mass, you have to ensure you’re consuming enough protein to rebuild muscle tissue damaged from training; but also consider carbohydrates because gaining size requires filling your muscles with glycogen as we discussed earlier in this article.

                Conclusion

                If you’re serious about gaining muscle fast the healthy way, it requires commitment and consistency. You will need to exercise and I highly suggest you download MyFitnessPal to track progress, set goals, and maintain diet.

                It’s also motivational because you can find like-minded people in the fitness community, or encourage your friends to download the app as well and follow each other. I personally did this when I was losing weight and gaining muscle, and it was a blast to see my own progress and that of people I care about.

                As always I’m not just here to write about the steps you need to take, I’m also here to help! You can message me anytime or email me with any questions you may have. I’m more than happy to assist with your muscle building and weight loss goals!

                Featured photo credit: Arthur Edelman via how to gain muscle fast

                Reference

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