Are Abs are made in the kitchen?

Question: @DavidZinczenko (Men’s Health Editor) tweeted the other day, “Abs are made in the Kitchen, not in the gym.” This true?

Henrique Adventa, Los Angeles, California

Are Abs made in the kitchen?Answer: Henrique thanks for the great question. Let me start off by first saying that I also follow Zinczenko and have always appreciated the information he has provided readers, notably in the ever popular Abs Diet.

Any qualified coach you ask will not deny the fact nutrition plays a huge role in an athletes recovery, performance and yes- even their abs. Whether or not it’s 70, 80 or 90% of your results, we all agree it is high and often underestimated by people.

The right nutrients at the right time of day will tell your body to either burn fat or build muscle. Your job in the kitchen comes down to nutrient timing. More specifically, at what times of day your body needs what kinds of nutrients (fancy word for food components; ie. carbohydrates, proteins and fats).

Before you get the timing down, you need to know what the right nutrients are… and the right nutrients differ depending on your goal. Do you want to burn fat, build muscle or get stronger?

The foods you put in your body will dictate what hormones are released. Your hormones then assist in telling your body to either burn fat or store food calories in your muscle tissue (or your fat cells).

Each persons nutritional plan can be customized to the fit his or her needs based on current body fat and muscle content. Below I’ll highlight some simple techniques proven useful for people trying to lose fat or gain muscle.

For Fat Loss and Abs:

  • Minimal carbohydrates during main meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner. Stick to meals composed of protein, healthy fats and vegetables which helps to minimize insulin production and prevent fat storage.
  • Medium dose of carbohydrates before an after your workout. Whey protein powder and a fast acting carbs/sugars like a banana or a small handful of raisins before and after a workout.
  • Total daily calorie estimate = Body-weight x 12. Example- 175 pounds x 12 = 2100 calories.

 
For Muscle Gain:

  • Carbohydrates, fat and protein with each meal to maximize insulin production driving calories into your muscles.
  • Pre and post workout nutrition protocol same as above.
  • Total daily calorie estimate = Body-weight x 15-16.

 
I cannot stress enough the calorie totals mean nothing if you aren’t getting the quality and the source of the nutrient content right in the first place. You need to master eating whole, unprocessed, natural foods before stressing about the amounts.

And Yes (after that major side track) getting back to your first question- abs are made and/or lost in the kitchen.
 

Question: Is it dangerous for me to run and train in the cold?

Michel Baptiste, Montreal, Quebec

running in cold weatherAnswer: Growing up in the mild lower mainland of beautiful British Columbia, thankfully I never had to train in really cold temperatures. That being said I do remember (like it was yesterday) a few very damp and wet early morning Football practices where the temperature hovered around freezing. The coach made sure we went through a good warm up prior to getting into anything too strenuous and we were fine. Then again, we were young and invincible back then and cold weather didn’t really phase us.

Regardless, provided you get in a good warm up, don’t begin the run or activity with a cold body and avoid extreme cold (minus 15-20 C or lower minus -4-5 F) temperatures- you should be fine.

There are a lot of myths associated with cold air training and how it can be potentially damaging to your lungs and oxygen supply in the body. Sure it might tingle a little when cold out but your lungs certainly can’t freeze or become damaged. Unless you plan on training atop mount Everest where you’d easily develop a narrowing of the airway known as exercise-induced asthma, exercising in cold air is OK.

Instead of worrying about your interiors you should focus on your exterior limbs such as feet toes, hands, fingers and of course- the family jewels. These exterior appendages are far from the center of your body where most of your heat is kept and will be the first place to experience the cold and drop in temperature.

To stay comfortable and safe in frigid weather wear a microfiber shirt as a first layer followed by a breathable windbreaker, tuque (Canadian version of a beanie or cap), gloves or mittens. Also make sure to run with the wind at your back when possible in cold temperatures to prevent excess sweating, since sweating when its cold will only make matters worse by causing you to lose more body heat.



Great questions this week guys. Keep them coming and I’ll do my best to answer them…

Stay Strong,

Drew

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