You’re sitting at work and your hunger is eating away at you. Your mind wanders to the thought of a fat sandwich from the deli down on the corner. It’s fine, you tell yourself, because you’re going to the gym later and you’ll burn off those calories.
You know this isn’t the best rationale, but Summer is still weeks and weeks away, what can one sandwich hurt?
Chances are, that sandwich is just one piece of an unhealthy diet. And, unfortunately, you can’t out-exercise a terrible diet. An individual with an average weight of 150 lbs will need to run at least 5 miles to burn off a typical fast food burger. And let’s be honest, while we may be hitting the gym, most of us are not up for running 5 miles on the treadmill before busting out a 40-minute strength workout.
If you seem to be increasing definition everywhere on your body but your abs just don’t seem to want to come out and play, then that means you’re putting in work at the gym, but your eating habits are not up to par.
DON’T GO ON A “DIET” – EAT CLEAN
When we need to lose weight, the initial thought is “I should go on a diet.” However, many rapid weight loss “fad diets” involve strict food restrictions with an aggressive calorie cut. Yes, you may lose weight with these “diets”, but that weight will be a combination of fat AND muscle. This unhealthy drop in weight is unsustainable — most people put the weight right back on — and they can lead to all kinds of health issues in the process.
Clean eating is a way of eating that focuses more on a sustainable lifestyle than a “get results quick” approach. At Koko, we believe that eating clean reduces fat content with a healthy and filling nutritional plan that fills your body with essential vitamins and minerals. Eating healthy, whole foods, is the healthier option for lasting effects.
And it’s easy to do.
Simply eat a variety of whole, natural foods that are free from artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. Avoid all prepared foods, fast foods, and convenience foods, or, simply, anything in a package. When you eat natural foods that are free from chemicals and additives, you can eat more of them, which fills you up and reduces cravings for junk food and snacks. Simple foods can be eaten in excess without negative weight-related consequences.
Here is a solid macro-nutrient chart to get you started. This includes cholesterol-lowering, unsaturated Fats, lean cuts of Protein for building and repairing muscle, Complex Carbohydrates designed to digest slowly to prevent blood sugar spikes, and finally, the nutrient-rich Vegetables for the right mix of macro- and micro-nutrients.
You can mix and match these foods throughout your day to get the energy and fuel you need for better results from your workout.
HYDRATION IS KEY
If healthy food is the ab builder, water is the ab maintainer. They go hand in hand. Waterincreases your overall metabolism by 30% and flushes out toxins, but only if you drink 2-3 liters a day!
Another metabolic assistant is green tea, which contains epigallocatechin gallate (try saying that 5 times fast), or EGCG – a natural chemical that increases fat burning. Green tea will detox the heck out of your body and make you feel good as new.
So, remember, abs are made in the kitchen, not only in the gym. You can build up your ab muscles as much as you want, but if your diet does not compliment your regiment you’ll never have that chiseled definition you seek.
The saying is true: you are, in fact, what you eat.
Stay Koko Strong!
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About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.