How to get six pack abs

There is a lot of promotions and products out there that promise many things….. but you want to really know what it takes to find your abs?
Here is a quick ‘abbreviated’ guide that if followed will put you on the right track!

A) Proper nutrition
B) Proper Exercise
C) Proper flexibility

A) Nutrition. You can NOT out train a bad diet. This is KEY!

Eating guidelines is something that many people seem to struggle with. It can be very confusing due to all the mis-information and Advertising that companies do. Companies do advertising in order to increase sales, and increasing profits is the true bottom line.

Nearly every cell in your body reproduces about every 6 months, it can only reproduce based on the nutrients that are provided!! So, you truly are what you eat.

This 10+ page document outlines how I made some easy changes and lost 20 pounds of fat in less than 2 months! It was easier than I thought it would be. Trust me, I have a thing about going hungry and the whole time, I didn’t. I was surprised that this way of eating allowed me to satisfy my hunger, and actually eat less snacks.
Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

B) Exercise. You must Move! If you want to loose fat, you must move. If you want to loose fat quickly, then you must sweat while you move! If you don’t want to sweat, then you must have lots of time to move slowly.

Tip: Get a Heart Rate monitor!

Quick fat loss = you must push your heart rate up doing exercises, then allow the heart rate to drop….intervals will ideally vary! Intensity and using the highest number of muscle groups is KEY! That is another reason functional training is so popular!

Want six-pack abs? then you have to remember it is the visibility of the abdominal musculature, not the strength of the muscles that matters.

C) Flexibility. In order to prevent injury, perform optimally, and reduce aches and pains, the muscle must be with in proper length tension relationship.

In fact here is an ebook on how to do myofascial release, which is more effective because it is just like a massage and better than stretching.
Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

So, is doing abs a waste of time? Yes and No.

Yes, it is a waste of time if you want a six pack and that is all you are doing to attain that goal – everyone has abs, you just can’t see them – so you have to start there first!

No, because done correctly, ab work is great for your core.

PEP BootCamp

Want to get stronger, faster, and leaner this year?

Then you need Preparation for Endurance and Performance (PEP)

PEP Bootcamp is a fitness program that includes top notch fitness instructions, nutritional coaching and motivational training all designed to get you in the best shape of your life in the shortest, safest possible time regardless of your current fitness level.

PEP is a workout that:
• will develop CORE strength

• be able to recruit more muscle fibers

• is based on intervals rather than reps or weight

• teaches your body create more power

• teaches your Heart Rate to quickly drop between intervals = faster recovery!

• prevents over-use injuries through variation of exercises

• creates stability of all muscles and joints

• increases functional strength that applies to sports

• improve flexibility with advanced foam roller techniques

PEP is a workout that will challenge every muscle in your body and get
you ready for the upcoming race season!

PEP is an endurance workout that affects the whole body with continually challenging exercises.

This promotes a greater release of growth hormone and increased levels of lactic acid
production, which will enhance the body’s ability to remove this waste product when
competition arrives.

Don’t let the next 6 months be the same as the last 6 months. Do something about it.

You CAN do this. The Unstoppable Fitness Formula can work for you. All you have to do it let me “prove it ” to you over the next month

if you sign up right now, I am dropping the price by $50 – this week only.

Classes are: Tuesday/Thursday 7:15am-8 and @9:00am-9:45.
Where: Athletic Training Services – 3872 Roswell Rd. – Suite A-9 – Atlanta, GA 30342
-about a mile from Chastain park

P.S. 30 days from now you’ll either be a month older and possibly a few pounds heavier, or, you can be a 5-10 pounds lighter and 30 days closer to your fitness goal. You decide which on you would rather be one month from now. Make sure you make the right choice

call for a PEP Introductory session

FOR MORE INFORMATION, email STEPHEN using the Contact page

Exercise Risk versus Reward

I know of a exercise regime that has people doing many things that are challenging exercises, however, one of the main things is that the routine doesn’t pay any attention to the Risk vs. Reward factor of exercise. And as such I found out that many people were getting injured doing the workouts.
And as an athlete “The Number 1 way to Improve, is to NOT get Injured”

Let me explain what I mean. The simple fact is there are more basic exercises that you can get as much benefit (if not more) and a fraction of the risk involved in performing them.

Some examples of low risk, high reward plyometric exercises are:

1) jumping rope.
2) squat jumps.
3) side to side hops over cones.

Some examples of High Risk with little reward are:
1) Anything involving standing on a stability ball. I’ve done it, but each time I let out a sigh after being finished – b/c I didn’t get injured. Sure, it’s a cool looking exercise, and people may stop to watch you, but the risk involved during, and finishing the exercise is way too high for any benefit that you would get from doing it.

I heard that Juan Carlos Santana tore an ACL getting off a ball at a seminar – that was enough to make me realize that it was a little risky too do.

2) Increased box size while doing box-jumps. Just because you use a taller box, does not mean that the proportion of benefit from jumping is increased, infact there is an inverse relationship. The taller the box, the less increase in benefit, and the greater increase chance of injury.

For example, if you are doing box-jumps onto a 24″ box, going to a 36″ box is going to barely increase the body’s ability to create more power, however, there is a much greater risk involved.

3) Using ‘the smith machine’ to do squats. I understand the reason people use the smith machine to do squats, but what I don’t think that people realize the hidden risks of using the smith machine. The risks are that:

A) you are loading lots of weight onto the back of your neck, and then attempting to squat that weight, during the course of doing this, you are likely to cheat in any way possible to raise that weight – pushing your neck further into the smith machine.

B) If you have bad mechanics while squatting & then add much weight to the squat (again, on the back of the neck), then the bad mechanics are going to be magnified – and at some point cause an injury.

Want a better exercise that will still challenge most athletes – Single Leg Squats! You don’t have to double the load on your neck, to double the load on each leg, just use 1 leg and your bodyweight.

Another difference is unlike basketball or volleyball, where the power creation may have to come from different muscle length during the course of an event, for cycling, the legs power creation goes through the same cycle (no pun intended, but hopefully appreciated) either seated or standing. So, because the pedal is attached to a crank-arm, your foot is going to do the same circle for every revolution of that crank.

Therefore, we use Plyometrics so that the Power Creation uses a similar muscle length tension relationship of squatting low and jumping, then landing back in a similar squat, then immediately jumping again.

Now before you race to the gym or the basement to hammer out a plyometric workout, please read this first and keep in mind that a risky exercise does not mean it has the most reward!
The biggest reward is to stay injury free.

Cycling Strength

The main purpose of Cycling strength is the ability to recruit more muscle fibers when necessary.
But normal cycling does not cause this to happen. 1) The body subconsciously attempts to do everything as easily as possible, to conserve energy. 2) Cycling in nature is an endurance sport. 3) to race well, you must A) conserve energy sometimes and at others either maintain or expend tremendous amounts of energy.

The body has an inherent desire to do something as easily as possible, in essence you body naturally wants to cheat. Something to do with caveman instincts. Gotta do something? Your body tries to use as little muscle as possible to do it, thus saving muscle strength for later. The problem for cyclists is that at some points, you will want as much muscle fiber recruitment as possible – whether that is for the decisive attack to be in the break, the final sprint of a race, or just the sprint to avoid stopping before a light turns red. Each of these actions will be better performed if your body is able to recruit more muscle fibers to do the work.

Cycling strength is created in 2 main ways: 1) Gym workouts 2) Training in the Mountains or Hill Repeats.
To do this you must overload the muscle fibers that your body is currently recruiting. 1 of the simplest ways to do this is a basic ‘Wall Sit’.

To do a Wall Sit, put your back up against a wall and slide down into a sitting position (thighs parallel with the ground). Your Knees and Hips should each be at a 90 degree angle. Your hips, knees, and ankles should all be the same width apart.

Use your heels to press your hips, shoulders and head into the wall. Within about 30 seconds you should feel areas of your quads start to quiver as they tire out, keep holding because this is what will cause other muscles to be engaged to do the necessary work. This is the start of greater muscle recruitment.
At first 30 seconds of this exercise may seem like an hour, but as you progress with this exercise you should get up to doing a minute each set.

As my clients have been progressing, then we will do the wall-sit and do a weighted goblet squat almost immediately after.
This is a way of tiring out the legs, then challenging them to push even harder in a functional way to stimulate muscle strength. It sucks, but it makes Pistons out of your legs!

Want even more detailed info about strength training, sign up for my monthly newsletter (in the upper right corner) that gives more insight into the workouts we do and a free workout plan.

Train slow, move slow, Train Fast and Move with Power

Train slow, move slow – train fast, and move with Power!
This doesn’t just mean that if you train fast you will have power……

I went out for a spin on a Friday before some Gold Sprints at Peachtree Bikes – but I realized I would waste my time attempting to sprint that night. My legs didn’t have the turn-over required to spin a gear that fast to do well in the sprints. I was having to put too much effort into attempting to spin much above 100 rpm’s…. but it is to be expected, especially when you consider where I am in the training plan.

Although this is disappointing, it is not unexpected, I have been doing a full cold, wet, snow/ice winter of gym workouts this year. Not a lot of heavy lifting, but more true strength building exercises, including weighted lunges & single leg squats. To complement the work in the gym, I have been doing hill repeats at least once a week. When I’m doing the hill climbing my RPM’s are around 70, and the focus is on leg strength – not cadence or Heart Rate. So currently my legs are more used to slowly grinding their way uphill, not turning over the pedals for the county line sprints. So, to suddenly ask my legs to turn over 150 RPM’s for 60 seconds is not suddenly going to be possible!

The good thing about a training plan is things are in phases and I know that the leg turnover comes around much faster than the strength building. Although it has taken most of the winter to build the strength of doing 1 leg squats, it will only be a matter of several weeks to get the legs to increase their turnover again.

As the strength from climbing is combined with the efficient pedal turnover the end result will be power to the pedals. And now that we are into the plyometric phase of the training regime, this is already taking place.

As disappointing as this is b/c I’m not racing in a great event, I know that as I add more speed to my training that the form and turnover of my legs will be a greater reward for the small sacrifice. This is truly where having a plan for the season allows small things like this much more understandable when you are able to look at the big picture and remember the seasons goals, not just what sounds fun this week.

When you are training for a big goal or event sometimes the mind and body respond in funny ways. Some weeks are very challenging physically and sometimes they become challenging mentally. I always let my clients know ahead of time that this is part of the process of becoming stronger. I can even tell them which week in their training plan it will happen & why it will be better the following week.

I find that 1 of the best things about accepting these thoughts as part of the process is although they still pop-up, you don’t dwell on them. Although this does not prevent these self-defeating thoughts from entering the mind, it does help you accept them and push them aside, understanding that it is expected and only temporary. And that just around the corner from this is growth and Strength!

Why you should do Single Leg exercise

Everyone hears that they should weight train to gain strength. That’s true, take 2 athletes with the same body/endurance & the one that is 10% stronger will always win!

When you go to the gym is most of your strength training take place with 1 leg or 2? Most equipment in the weight room is designed for you to use 2 legs – why? Because the training philosophy that has dominated the industry for the past decade has been body building – building large amounts of muscle, and to impress the judges on stage. But does all the muscle size translate into speed & endurance?

When you train and race, all the force production is generated with single leg contractions – running, only 1 leg is on the ground at a time. Cycling, 1 leg is creating the force while the other tries to pull-up or at least not interfere.
So if your workouts should help you become better, faster, stronger shouldn’t your weight training also include specificity to your sport – for example single leg training.

I like to warm-up with squats on a balance board – each leg has to press equally or the board will flop to one side. I will follow this exercise with cone reaches on one leg – this requires using balance/stabilization as well as hamstring & glute activation.

Next I often do lunges – trying not to use the back leg and using the front leg as much as possible. Also, with doing single leg lunges, I find out if 1 leg is producing more power than the other leg. Optimally, both legs produce an equal amount of power!

I will follow this up with another single leg hamstring exercise that mimics the cycling and running foot/leg action, such as hamstring roll-ins on a stability ball.

I always use the best form possible & rely on Quality over Quantity of each exercise – do something until I can no longer hold proper form – then stop, move on to the next exercise.

I hope you like some of these tips and put the ideas behind them to use in your next workout!