But the fact is, most of us who are trying for a flat belly and falling, well, flat, are doing so because we're making mistakes that can be solved, literally, in an instant. I know, because even though I've spent most of my career as a personal trainer, I struggled for years trying to figure out how to get a six pack. I was working out twice a day, living on rabbit food, and otherwise making my own life miserable.
Then, the team at Eat This, Not That! challenged me to set aside the conventional wisdom that most nutrition and fitness experts espouse, and look deep into the latest research to uncover the cutting-edge science in the fields of weight-loss and exercise.
What I discovered were seven new, ground-breaking secrets that, quite frankly, will shock the trainers down at your gym. Once I adopted these new strategies as my own, I discovered that I could shred belly fat simply and easily, and stop working out twice a day. (In fact, I now do just two hour-long workouts a week and two additional "micro" workouts that take 20 minutes or less!)
Adopt these seven secrets, and you'll be stunned to see your abs rise up from your midsection like a stadium full of football fans after a touchdown. And find scores of more mind-blowing, abs-defining secrets in my new book, Eat This, Not That! For Abs.
Instant Abs Secret #1: Choose the Hamburger Over the Chicken Breast
Whaaaat? Chicken breast has been the go-to protein source of dieters and bodybuilders alike for generations. But today's chicken isn't the same as the bird that got athletes of yore shredded. The average chicken breast contains only 63 percent as much protein—and 223 percent as much fat—as the chicken our parents ate 40 years ago, thanks to the way chickens are raised. Beef, on the other hand, contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a type of fat that's been linked to fat loss and muscle gain. If you're a vegetarian, you can turn to these 26 Best Vegetarian Sources of Protein.
Instant Abs Secret #2: And Throw Some Cheese on It
Just make sure it's real, full-fat cheese. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at nearly 27,000 people and found that the more high-fat dairy products they ate, the lower their risk of diabetes. Those who ate a lot of low-fat dairy products had the highest incidence.
Instant Abs Secret #3: Skip Breakfast
Another phrase that's sure to get me thrown out of the Fitness Trainer Honor Society. But if you're serious about abs, the best thing you can do might be to skip breakfast and try breaking a sweat instead. The idea is that when you're fasting, the body burns fat instead of spending time processing food. In the most popular version of the practice, participants fast between 8 p.m. and noon the next day. (Psst! It's also one of the 14 Ways to Lose Your Belly in 14 Days!) The idea is that extending the nighttime fast until lunch keeps the fat-burning going. It's not as crazy as it may seem: Some research indicates that intermittent fasting may increase weight loss and have other benefits for the body. In a 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal, scientists reviewed six studies on obese participants who practiced intermittent fasting at least one day a week. On average, they lost 2.6 percent of their body weight after one month, 6.4 percent after three months and 8.4 percent after six months.
Instant Abs Secret #4: Eat Starch for Lunch
Another heresy, but one that's been proven by science: While starch may be high in calories, it's also a proven way to burn away your belly. A study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism found that adding resistant starch—things like potatoes, brown rice, bananas and whole-grain pasta—to a meal promotes fat oxidation (that's "fat burning" in plain speak). Another study found that people who ate ¾ cup of beans a day weighed an average of 6.6 pounds less than those who didn't, even though the bean eaters ate an average of 199 more calories each day.
Instant Abs Secret #5: Pop an Omega-3
You may think of omega-3 pills as something for people worried about heart disease. But in fact, these glycerine goo packets may be the most important supplement you can take for your abs. A recent review in the journal Nutrients found that omega-3s can both enhance fat-burning and decrease hunger levels, while a report in Nutrition in Clinical Practice found that at sufficiently high intake, omega-3s improve our ability to metabolize fat by altering the way certain "fat genes" function. Keep bumping up the burn with these 55 Best-Ever Ways to Boost Your Metabolism.
Instant Abs Secret #6: And then Strap on Your Running Shoes
In another study, researchers at the University of South Australia put 75 overweight people on one of four regimens: omega-3 supps with or without exercise, and omega-6 supps with or without exercise. Over 12 weeks, the group that combined omega-3s with exercise experienced dramatic weight loss; none of the other three groups did.
Instant Abs Secret #7: Replace Your "Healthy" Vegetable Oil
Speaking of omegas, you're eating too many omega-6s—and the main culprit in your diet is what's commonly referred to as "vegetable oil." Sounds healthy, doesn't it? Except vegetable oil doesn't come from what we think of as vegetables, it comes from soybeans. What scientists have recently discovered is that omega-6 fatty acids seem to change the way our hunger hormones work, increasing ghrelin (the "I'm hungry" hormone) and reducing leptin (the "no thanks, I'm good" hormone). For a better option, grab some coconut oil; these 20 Benefits of Coconut Oil will make you wonder why you ever used vegetable oil in the first place.
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