Kickin off "2011" with focus & purpose.....

Goals!! I have heard people say no more than three goals should ever be on your list and another say that you should have 101 goals. Your goals our yours and you now have to go figure out the following.

How long will it take to complete this goal/outcome?
How important is this goal to me to complete?
What will happen if I do not achieve this goal?
What are the roadblocks that I can expect to have crop up because of my weaknesses in the past?
What will I get if I complete this, what is the reward?
Are there any goals that I should achieve first to get this one done?

These are big questions and are the questions that never get asked when we just jump at making a new years resolution. Answer these questions for each of your goals and don’t really belabor the questions or you will never get them done.

Best wishes & thanks for making AbFitt your choice for your best body ever!

It's almost time for the madness to begin again...Holiday indulgences translate into Hyper-Focus on anything workout and metabolism.

To start off the " Fit season" right, and so you can avoid the know-nothing non-experts from reality shows putting out near worthless fitness books and products that only distract you from the truth about fitness, I've put together a list of 4 common questions that I often get about metabolism with answers.

1. Why do women have a slower metabolism than men?

In general, they don’t. The fat cells in women’s hips and thighs behave differently in that they are somewhat less responsive to the body’s signals to release fat to burn as fuel. It just means that they are a bit more stubborn, but there’s nothing that automatically makes a female metabolism slower than a males. Our metabolism is the result of our genetics (not from gender, but from our blood line) combined with our eating and activity/exercise patterns. The last two are within your control. So the stubborn fat cells might make it appear that a female's metabolism is slower than a man's but it's really up to you since you can stimulate metabolism by appropriate eating and exercise patterns.

2. How does building muscle help speed up your metabolism?

Muscle is very “costly” stuff. It uses energy to repair and maintain itself – it is very active tissue. This increased need for energy drives the energy use by the body, and that’s the essence of metabolism – the speed with which the body processes and uses food. This is where the biggest effects of adding strength training for fat loss show up. The boost to metabolism from regular strength training is not a massive boost. However, if we multiply the effect over days and weeks, it can play a role in fat loss. Furthermore, when we’re at rest, we are burning a higher percentage of our calories from fat (although a smaller number of calories due to the lower activity level), so our elevated metabolism throughout the day helps access a bit more stored body fat day by day.

3. How can aerobic activity stimulate your metabolism?

It increases the use of calories during the activity so the metabolism is elevated to supply the muscles with the fuel it needs to continue the activity. Most of the boost to metabolism occurs only while in the performance of the activity and the metabolism returns to normal levels soon after ceasing the aerobic activity. So you will likely burn more calories in the performance of aerobic training vs. strength training, but the metabolic boost discussed in question 2 above likely makes resistance training the bigger fat burner over a 24-48 period after the training session.

4. How does strength training increase your life expectancy?

It increases your capabilities. By keeping joints, bones, and muscles stronger for longer you can do more of the things that make up living. A favorite saying of mine is “aerobic training may save your life, but strength training makes it worth living.” The aerobic effort keeps the heart, lungs, and blood stream in top shape, while the strength training helps keep our limbs functioning at a high level for longer.

Make your 2011 your best year ever, Live Fit! Be Fit, AbFitt-


The following nutrition program is nothing new. It’s my variation of a phase-shift diet that combines the protocols, research, and teachings of Dr. Mauro DePasquale, Gary Taubes, Loren Cordain, PhD, and the late Dan Duchaine; nutritional giants who’s broad shoulders we have the luxury to stand upon.

The five targets for fat loss are as follows

1. Increase lipolysis (fat breakdown)
2. Decrease lipogenesis (fat accumulation)
3. Burn free fatty acids with correct exercise
4. Maintain muscle tissue
5. Maintain metabolic rate (T3, thyroid) and optimal hormone function

This eating plan is for athletes looking for the super shredded look and is based on the following principles:

1. Eliminate breads, flour, and gluten grains including wheat, barley, and rye.
2. Eliminate grain and vegetable extracted cooking oils; instead cook with butter, animal fats, and coconut oil.
3. Eat more healthy animal fats, butter, cream, and coconut milk to replace calories that formerly came from carbohydrates.
4. Eat more animal protein (beef, chicken, bison, eggs, fish, etc.).
5. Eat when hungry, don’t graze. Livestock and prey eat constantly; the King of the jungle eats sporadically. Continually stuffing yourself with food is counterproductive to hormone function and digestive health. For athletes: eat no more than 4 meals, and 1-2 snacks (post-workout) depending on training schedule.

“Our ancestors consumed food much less frequently and often had to subsist on one large meal per day, and thus from an evolutionary perspective, human beings were adapted to intermittent feeding rather than to grazing.” (Mattson, M.P., PhD, Lancet 2005; 365:1978-80)

6. Build muscle with a structured resistance-training program.
7. Ensure adequate Vitamin D intake through midday sun exposure or supplementing with Vitamin D3.
8. Ensure adequate intake of Omega-3 fats and oils from pharmaceutical grade fish oils.
9. Schedule your menu so there’s a 2-hour fast before bedtime. Don’t consume any food, supplements, calorie containing, alcoholic, or caffeinated beverages 2 hours before bed; water is okay. You want to get blood sugar levels down before going to sleep; this will facilitate GH release.
10. Only consume simple sugars, fruits, and carbohydrates at specific times to enhance muscle hypertrophy and thyroid function.

Hey ladies, now is the time to get your best body ever!

Studies have shown that men and women do not need to train differently.

If you are a woman and want to gain muscle and improve your shape and curves, then you are going to have to lift heavy weights. This means that instead of doing endless reps with light weights, as the media often prescribes women to do, you need to lift some heavy weights and really challenge yourself! While performing high rep sets (15-20 reps) does have some benefit, it is not optimal to adding muscle mass.
Here is a very vague overview of rep ranges:

* 1-5 reps = Strength
* 6-12 = Hypertrophy
* 12+ = Endurance

That is very superficial overview of rep ranges as there is a lot of crossover of adaptations between rep ranges. For example, many people grow lifting solely in the 1-5 rep range and 12+ rep range. But it gives you an idea of the weight you need to lift to grow; a weight that you can complete for at least 6 reps but not more than 12 reps.

Diet & Nutrition

Men and women do not need to train differently to see results, but what about diet? Should women eat differently than men? Not really. Men’s and women’s metabolisms are very similar except that women burn a greater ratio of fat to carbs than men. This may be one of the reasons women do well on lower carb diets. The main thing that needs to be adjusted is one’s total caloric intake. Women need fewer calories than men because men have more muscle mass and less fat (relative to total bodyweight) than women. The amount of protein, carbs, and fat will be dictated by the amount of calories one eats.

We have shown that women do not need to train or diet much differently than men. Then why do we always see women in gym performing hours of cardio and lifting the lightest dumbbells in the gym for endless reps?

This is most-likely due to not being informed, or even misinformed (by the media), about how women should train. What about diet? One of the most common breakfast meals recommended to women is yogurt and a banana. Now there is nothing wrong with eating a yogurt and banana, but where is the protein and essential fatty acids? If you are a woman trying to gain lean muscle, you will need to eat adequate protein and good fats (essential fatty acids). It is time to stop listening to the media and misinformed individuals and time to become educated and get results.

Smart food choices for the best body ever

Alright, so let's start with the fridge. Each week, I try to make sure I'm loaded up with lots of varieties of fresh vegetables. During the growing season, I only get local produce, but obviously in winter, I have to resort to the produce at the grocery store. Most of the time, I make sure I have plenty of vegetables like onions, zucchini, spinach, fresh mushrooms, red peppers, broccoli, etc. to use in my morning eggs. I also like to dice up some lean chicken or turkey sausage into the eggs, along with some swiss, jack, or goat cheeses (preferably raw grass-fed cheeses when I can find them).

By the way I'm talking about whole eggs, NOT egg whites. Always remember that the yolk is the most nutritious and nutrient dense part of the egg, so only eating egg whites is like throwing away the best part... and no, it's NOT bad for you because of the cholesterol... eggs actually raise your GOOD cholesterol. Try to get free range organic eggs for the best quality. Here's an entire article I did on the topic of whole eggs vs egg whites.

Coconut milk is another staple in my fridge. I like to use it to mix in with smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt for a rich, creamy taste. Not only does coconut milk add a rich, creamy taste to lots of dishes, but it's also full of healthy saturated fats. Yeah, you heard me...I said healthy saturated fats! Healthy saturated fats like medium chain triglycerides, specifically an MCT called lauric acid. If the idea of healthy saturated fats is foreign to you, check out my healthy fats article

Back to the fridge, some other staples:

* Chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds - delicious and great sources of healthy fats.
* Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and yogurt - I like to mix cottage or ricotta cheese and yogurt together with chopped nuts and berries for a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon meal.
* Whole flax seeds or chia seeds - I grind these in a mini coffee grinder and add to yogurt or salads. Always grind them fresh because the omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and prone to oxidation, creating high levels of free radicals in pre-ground flax.
* Whole eggs - one of natures richest sources of nutrients (and remember, they increase your GOOD cholesterol so stop fearing them).
* Salsa - I try to get creative and try some of the exotic varieties of salsas.
* Avocados - love a great source of healthy fats, fiber, and other nutrients. Try adding them to wraps, salads, or sandwiches.
* Butter - don't believe the naysayers; butter adds great flavor to anything and can be part of a healthy diet (just keep the quantity small because it is calorie dense...and NEVER use margarine, unless you want to assure yourself a heart attack).
* Nut butters - Plain old peanut butter has gotten a little old for me, so I get creative and mix together almond butter with sesame seed butter, or even cashew butter with macadamia butter...delicious and unbeatable nutrition!
* Leaf lettuce and spinach along with shredded carrots - for salads with dinner.
* Home-made salad dressing - using balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and Udo's Choice oil blend. This is much better than store bought salad dressing which mostly use highly refined soybean oil (full of inflammation-causing free radicals).
* Whole grain wraps and whole grain bread (look for wraps and bread with at least 3-4 grams of fiber per 20 grams of total carbs).
* Rice bran and wheat germ - these may sound way too healthy for some, but they actually add a nice little nutty, crunchy taste to yogurt or smoothies, or can be added when baking muffins or breads to add nutrients and fiber.

Some of the staples in the freezer:

* Frozen berries - during the local growing season, I only get fresh berries, but during the other 10 months of the year, I always keep a supply of frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, etc. to add to high fiber cereal, oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt, or smoothies
* Frozen fish - I like to try a couple different kinds of fish each week. There are so many varieties out there, you never have to get bored.
* Frozen chicken breasts - very convenient for a quick addition to wraps or chicken sandwiches for quick meals.
* Grass-fed steaks, burgers, and ground beef - Grassfed meats have been shown to have as high as, or even higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than salmon (without the mercury). Also, grass-fed meats have much higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) compared to typical grain-fed beef. I recently found an excellent on-line store where I buy all of my grass-fed meats now (they even deliver right to your door in a sealed cooler) -
* Frozen buffalo, ostrich, venison, and other "exotic" lean meats - Yeah, I know...I'm weird, but I can tell you that these are some of the healthiest meats around, and if you're serious about a lean healthy body, these types of meats are much better for you than the mass produced, hormone-pumped beef and pork that's sold at most grocery stores.
* Frozen veggies - again, when the growing season is over and I can no longer get local fresh produce, frozen veggies are the best option, since they often have higher nutrient contents compared to the fresh produce that has been shipped thousands of miles, sitting around for weeks before making it to your dinner table.

Alright, now the staples in my cabinets:

* Various antioxidant rich teas - green, oolong, white, rooibos are some of the best.
* Whole wheat or whole grain spelt pasta - much higher fiber than normal pastas
* Oat bran and steel cut oats - higher fiber than those little packs of instant oats.
* Cans of coconut milk - to be transferred to a container in the fridge after opening.
* Brown rice and other higher fiber rice - NEVER white rice
* Tomato sauces - delicious, and as I'm sure you've heard a million times, they are a great source of lycopene. Just watch out for the brands that are loaded with nasty high fructose corn syrup.
* Stevia - a natural non-caloric sweetener, which is an excellent alternative to the nasty chemical-laden artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharine, and sucralose.
* Raw honey - better than processed honey... higher quantities of beneficial nutrients and enzymes. Honey has even been proven in studies to improve glucose metabolism (how you process carbs). I use a teaspoon or so every morning in my teas. Yes, it is pure sugar, but at least it has some nutritional benefits... and let's be real, a teaspoon of healthier raw honey is only 5 grams of carbs... certainly nothing to worry about.
* Organic maple syrup - none of that high fructose corn syrup Aunt Jemima crap...only real maple syrup can be considered real food. The only time I really use this (because of the high sugar load) is added to my post-workout smoothies to sweeten things up and also elicit an insulin surge to push nutrients into your muscles.
* Organic unsweetened cocoa powder - I like to mix this into my smoothies for an extra jolt of antioxidants or make my own low-sugar hot cocoa by mixing cocoa powder into hot milk with stevia and a couple melted dark chocolate chunks.
* Cans of black or kidney beans - I like to add a couple scoops to my Mexican wraps for the fiber and high nutrition content. Also, beans are surprisingly one of the best sources of youth promoting antioxidants!
* Dark chocolate (as dark as possible) - This is one of my treats that satisfies my sweet tooth, plus provides loads of antioxidants at the same time. It's still calorie dense, so I keep it to just a couple squares; but that is enough to do the trick, so I don't feel like I need to go out and get cake and ice cream to satisfy my dessert urges.

Lastly, another thing that's hard to go wrong with is a good variety of fresh fruits and berries. The staples such as bananas, apples, oranges, pears, peaches are good, but I like to also be a little more adventurous and include things like yellow (aka - mexican or champagne) mangoes, pomegranates, kumquats, papaya, star fruit, pineapples, and others. Also, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cherries are some of the most nutrient and antioxidant-dense fruits you can eat.

Tea is a calorie free beverage boosting with natural benefits.

Tea is the second most commonly consumed beverage worldwide. And, with good reason, tea is a calorie free beverage boosting with natural benefits. If you get bored with water, brew a cup of tea and toast to good health.

How Tea Can Enhance Health!

* Green tea is made from the non-oxidized leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant.
* While tea contains caffeine it also has l-theanine so you won't over stimulated.
* Studies show that drinking more green tea decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease

What Is Green Tea?

Each of the four types of tea, green, black, white and oolong, are made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. The differences in color and taste among each kind of tea are due to differences in processing of the tea leaves. For instance, black tea is made by allowing the tea leaves to oxidize for a few hours whereas the tea leaves are not oxidized at all when green tea is made. Oolong tea is made from tea leaves that are partially oxidized and white tea is made from very young tea leaves that are not oxidized.

Even though each of the four types of tea are made by using different processing techniques, even within a category of tea, there are large differences in taste depending on whether the tea is loose or in a bag, where and when the tea leaves were picked and more. Therefore, your tastes buds will notice that no two types of green tea taste the same.

Herbal tea isn't actually tea and therefore doesn't have the same health benefits associated with tea.
Green, Black, White, And Oolong Teas Are All Made From The Leaves Of The Camellia Sinensis Plant.

Green, Black, White, And Oolong Teas Are All
Made From The Leaves Of The Camellia Sinensis Plant.

How Green Tea Can Enhance Health:

Tea Is Loaded With Polyphenols

Polyphenols are plant-based compounds associated with a decrease in free radical-induced damage that contributes to some types of chronic disease.

Tea Helps You Focus And Concentrate

One complaint some people have about caffeine is the over stimulation - bouncing off the walls effect. Turn to tea and you'll feel focused yet relaxed. Tea is a natural source of both caffeine and the amino acid l-theanine. Both substances increase alertness but l-theanine also increases alpha-brain wave activity inducing relaxation. Studies show that l-theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress and produces a dose-dependent relaxed yet alert state about 40 minutes after consumption. One study found that together, 250 mg caffeine and 150 mg l-theanine led to faster simple reaction time, faster numeric working memory reaction time and improved sentence verification accuracy.


Every day I am bombarded with the question from both AbFitt loyalists as well as people I meet on a daily basis..."What is the best pre workout drink". I mistakenly earlier this year wrote an article "2010 top pre workout drinks", not realizing so many people took it as gospel. Look guys these were just suggestions to an often over asked question. As AbFitt nears 1000,000 world wide readers ( looks like by weeks end we will have hit this mark) I realize I am doing you a disservice by not giving you the pre workout question's real answer.

Truth is supplement company's rarely come through on the promises posted on the package of your container of newly purchased preworkout powder or drink. These company's have all been struggling to convince you otherwise since the ban of ephedra based products. So look save your $42 no matter what the big guy in the gym tells you and start taking complete control of your pre work out kick n the ass. I mix my own, its cheaper and I know the ingredients are in the potion.

5 grams of BCAA
5 grams of creatine
2 grams of beta alanine
5 grams of taurine
5 grams of arginine
5 grams of glutamine
Mix with 12 oz of steeped green tea

Note: This is taken 30 min prior to my training, one hour prior to training I take 25 grams of whey protein.


Lean principles

As usual, like I do with all topics, I've provided you with no-nonsense information. If implemented properly, this information will help you on your quest to get lean. It will not be easy, especially getting to the point of being shredded, and will take a lot of dedication, patience and self-motivation. Use the basic principles below to get on the right path to changing your lifestyle, which will positively change your life.

* Eliminate all processed convenience foods from your diet.
* Eat whole natural foods.
* Eat at least four times per day.
* Eat protein with every meal.
* Keep a Daily Nutrition Progress Report.
* Eliminate all store-bought oils like soy, corn or canola.
* Don't consume any product that contains "vegetable oil," "hydrogenated vegetable oil," "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" or "shortening" listed as one of the ingredients.
* Include fats like coconut oil, omega-3s, and raw butter in your diet.
* Use coconut oil and raw butter for cooking and frying. Olive oil can also be used for one time frying, but it doesn't contain the MCTs of coconut oil and butter.
* Exercise intensely three to six times per week. Progressive resistance training is imperative.
* Do not perform slow or moderate cardio unless you enjoy it. It will have little to no effect on your weight loss over the long haul compared to more intense exercise.
* Get adequate sleep.

ASK ABFITT....How do you train your abs.

Rich Great site and thanks for keeping it free. I read you are almost 40, how do you keep your abs so defined? Can you also explain your abdominal workout? I am also in my forties and just want a good set of abs, your help is appreciated and keep up the good work.
Stan- Tacoma, WA

Thanks Stan and yes AbFitt will always be free! I earn my living as a helicopter engineer not from AbFitt. I have always believed fitness advice should be free because its just that, advice. so keep enjoying AbFitt. Now to your question. I train my abdominal region every day. The key is I separate the ab region into three sections and I will work them at the end of every workout for 10-20 minutes straight. Like I was explaining, the abdominal region is made up of three areas, upper/middle, lower/middle, side walls and seratus muscles ( Intercostals & Obliques).

I focus on one of these groups each workout for the 10-20 minutes. I normally do 4-6 exercises in a non stop super set circuit workout, I call it "the Ab war" where I do one set for an exercise and then move to the next exercise for one set and continue to move that way until I have done two sets for each of the exercises. I don't count reps, I simply train with heavy weight and I let my body dictate the rep range making sure I completely challenging the section I am working on. When you do this, you keep moving, no breaks just push through.Remember the average guy needs to get to around 9% body fat to see your six pack, so with that being said ya gotta keep your clean eating in check. Good luck.