Day 72/73 of 90: The Ab Myth


A few weeks ago I was speaking to a Ukrainian bloke who had lost 3 stone, through CV and swimming, and was planning on crunching his way to a six-pack – he literally did hundreds of crunches of one sort or another every time I saw him. Now please hear me, I’ve began to see a little definition on my obliques but I’m a long way from a six pack (though it might be my next challenge after this 90 days) but I do know this, that you cannot crunch your way to a leaner belly and here’s why:

1. Muscle is an active tissue that helps your body burn fat even when you are resting. Therefore, it would be better spending time on bigger muscle groups like legs, chest or back than concentrating on small muscles like abs. In fact, I read one article which claimed that abs can be developed without ever isolating abs (I only hit them occasionally and whilst they could be hit every day I would never spend a whole session on abs). This is because most peoples abs are hidden under a layer of fat, so regardless of how hard you work them you will not be able to see them until you drop your body fat percentage down to 10-15%.

2. This is to say, as the popular adage states, that abs are built in the kitchen as well as the gym. This does not mean that you have to starve yourself; in fact this will cause you to lose muscle and slow down your metabolic rate, but it does mean that you have to eat clean and enter a slight caloric deficit (burning more calories than you eat) if you are to see your body fat percentage decrease.

3. Finally abs should be trained like any other muscle. This means that whilst you may want to hit huge rep counts to fatigue the muscle, like 4 sets of 50, you also need to do more taxing ab exercises (possibly with weight/body-weight) in which your hitting 3 to 4 sets of 10-15 reps at least once a week. This increased intensity, like lifting heavy, will help aid quicker and bigger muscle growth.

So, regardless, if your looking to tone your tummy or you’ve been seduced by the six pack these are things that you want to consider.

Yesterday’s Food Log (carb-loading day)
Pre-Workout: boiled egg and steak cubes
Post-Workout: all-in-one shake
Breakfast: porridge, mixed nuts and goji berries
Snack 1: plain popcorn
Snack 2: dried apricot
Lunch: brown rice, steak, mushrooms, tomato, cottage cheese and chilli
Snack: a banana with peanut butter
Dinner: Thai based salmon with rice and peas (recipe)


Desert: low fat Greek yogurt with cherry
Evening shake: whey
Snack: plain popcorn

Today’s Food Log
Pre-Workout: a tablespoon of peanut butter and honey
Post-Workout: all-in-one shake
Breakfast: porridge and mixed nuts
Snack: steak cubes
Lunch: Thai prawns with salad


Snack: 2 kiwis
Dinner: chicken and okra curry with 2 chapatti (I wouldn’t had carbs but we were guests in someone’s house)
Snack: a falooda (an Indian ice cream sundae – hey it’s not everyday were in little India) (link)


Evening Shake: whey


Day 31 of 90 Mixing it Up a Little



One of the issues with training 7 days a week is that your body quickly becomes used to routines and your mind quickly gets bored.  That is why I use Saturdays to experiment with different sets and reps, new exercises and today I even used the power plate.  Now I have got to be honest I was a little bit apprehensive when I first used it.  However, after an hour and a half of weights I thought it was either the plates or some mat work.  So I spoke to one of the instructors and do you know what I discovered?  That it was actually really good and had my abs burning like I have never felt in a while.  Check out the video and if your gym has got one give it a go and remember…”mix it up a little,” who knows you might break up the monotony and/or find something that works for you.

PS here’s my ice bucket challenge, if you wanna give just watch the video


TODAY’S FOOD LOG [no food from 7pm  yesterday – after workout]

Post-Workout: all-in-one shake with banana

Breakfast: oats, with apricot, mixed seeds and goji berries followed by a poached egg

Snack 1: beef biltong (its like jerky)

Snack 2: peach

Lunch: lamb and vegetable chilli with a low calorie healthy naan bread (try not to have carbs after lunch if your looking for lean muscle, the only exception might be if your doing a heavy training session – you need the carbs for building muscle)

Snack 1: 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

Snack 2: sheet of seaweed and some mixed seeds

Snack 3: red apple

Dinner: chicken breast in a lemon, tomato and chilli sauce with salad

Evening Shake: whey protein with milk

Snack 1: 1 tablespoon of peanut butter

Snack 2: 2 tangerines