My drive to the gym can be pretty dull. It's about a 50 minute trip in on a good day. The distance is a bit mad but hey I like this gym, it's like a second home. Usually it’s an uneventful crawl through peak traffic. While jammed on the motorway last week something caught my attention - on a strategically placed billboard a well cut, abdominally chiselled model. It’s impressive how a six pack has such visual impact.
It started me thinking about Abs.
I often get emails asking what's the best exercise for shaping them. The truth is, building a toned midsection is not about record breaking exercise repetitions. Instead success begins and ends in the kitchen.
Whether the goal is to tone the stomach region, or define a visible six pack, countless crunches alone won't achieve the results you’re looking for. Instead clean eating is the necessity. This may not sound like a fun ride but there are ways to achieve more with less deprivation. If you have a goal to trim your waist, here's some interesting fat burning food info.
Fibre is an important reason to eat plenty of vegetables and whole grains. High fibre foods usually require more chewing, this hopefully slows us down in time to register when we've reached our quota, and reduce the chance of over eating. A great benefit of high fibre foods is that they are less energy dense ie they pack less calories when compared by the same volume to other foods. They're also digested slowly so this keeps us feeling full for longer. Their slow release of energy helps stabilise blood sugar and keep insulin levels at safer levels. Good fibre sources include beans, peas, nuts, whole grain rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain breads, and oats.
Iron rich foods help us maintain energy and are important for weight loss. If low in Iron your body won't transport oxygen efficiently, this will slow you down and your ability to train at the right intensity. Iron is also needed for cells to burn fat. The more oxygen supplied to muscles (through irons oxygen transportation role) the more fat you can burn. A good multivitamin will provide helpful support, along with three or more servings of Iron rich foods each day. Red meat, chicken, fish, whole grains, and nuts are good sources. It may sound odd, but cooking food in iron pots and pans can also boost Iron intake. If you are feeling rundown or weak you may be low in Iron, this is called aneamia - if you suspect you're anaemic talk it over with your GP.
Vitamin C increases the absorption of Iron so be sure to include sources of Vitamin C with your Iron foods. Vitamin C may support fat burning in another way with an ability to dilute fat. This may help the body flush out fat before it can be stored. Vitamin C appears to play a part in removing existing cholesterol deposits in your blood vessels as well as reduce chances of more forming. Because of this diluting ability, fat may be even better burned during exercise. Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons contain high levels of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid).
To help your body deal with blood sugars that could otherwise lead to fat accumulation Cinnamon may do the trick. It's effects are regarded in the battle against obesity and for reducing bad cholesterol in the blood. Cinnamon can be used in either its powdered or stick form, and can be added to drinks and foods. Good weight loss effects have been reported by people taking 2 x quarter teaspoons per day.
Cayenne pepper has been used medicinally for centuries and has attracted interest from dieters for it's fat fighting potential. Cayenne contains Capsaicin which may help speed metabolism, stimulate circulation, burn fat, and reduce blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It also has the added benefit of functioning as a digestive aid to improve the absorption of other nutrients. Combining with Ginger may enhance the overall health and fat reducing benefits of Cayenne. For a good source of Cayenne, Ginger, and other fat targetting thermogenics check out my TR2 formula.