How to Actually Get a Six Pack

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The search for the almighty “6-pack” is a tricky one filled with loads of false truth’s, dead ends, and essentially wrong information and in the naiveté of many consumers, this search has turned into a multimillion dollar business. Everywhere you look you see magazines with the latest “ secret” to chiseled six pack abs, or the holy grail of exercise you need to let those precious muscles shine through. However the truth behind this matter is that the bulk of information posted are merely gimmicks that will run you into a dead end if you are not equipped with the tools to sift through the clutter.

Basic bio mechanics tells us that the rectus abdominus (the abs) should be trained just as any other muscle, with progressive overload. But what is NOT normally talked about is the role of the core in bodily function. Your “abs” are show muscles and what should be more of a focus are the muscles that you CANT see.

The Core

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Your core comprises of your transvers abdominus, erector spinae, internal and external oblique’s, multifidi, and your rectus abdomius which you probably refer to as your abs. Your core is the most important part of your body in that all energy and movement initiates from your core and flows to your upper and lower extremities. In simpler terms, your core is way more than your abs.

How You Should Train Your Core

Your body works as a kinetic chain so what you read typically in fitness magazines is inaccurate in regards to core training. Let’s take the crunch for example. When you crunch you are putting your core in an unnatural position that causes other muscle groups in your body to overcompensate which causes an imbalance in the body. What actually starts to happen is that with excessive sit-ups and crunching comes lumbar spine problems and immobility of the hip extensor muscles by constantly being in a flexed state. Now one can get abs in this way but at what expense??

The Secret

The secret to the elusive 6 pack (probably wish I said this at the beginning don’t you haha) is HEAVY COMPOUND LIFTING, HEAVY CHOPS AND LIFTS, and LOADED CARRIES with a diet that helps you to achieve a body fat level below 10% in men and 18% in women. THAT’S IT. Squat heavy, deadlift HEAVY, Overhead press… HEAVY, chop something, lift something, carry heavy stuff for long distances, and clean up your diet. It sounds so simple but irrespective of all the fat burners, guru eBooks that you spends so much money on each year, and all those superfoods in whole foods, keeping things simple is the way to go in regards to getting a six pack.

Heavy compound lifting recruits many muscles in the core because of the need to keep the spine ridged during these movements. Think about it, when doing a heavy squat EVERY MUSCLE in your core are firing in an attempt to keep you from breaking your back. That’s serious core action!! Chops, lifts, and loaded carries help to strengthen muscles of the transverse abdominals and obliques and by complementing this work with a sound diet you will be able to see the fruits of your labor.

So…

Lift heavy stuff

+

Chop stuff

+

Lift stuff

+

Carry heavy stuff for long distances (being in a calorie deficit to lose fat)

=

SIX PACK ABS

 

Don’t be fooled… you want abs? REAL CRAZY CHISELD ABS?? Start lifting heavy, clean up your diet, and GIVE IT TIME. Once summer rolls back around you’ll be amazed once you lift your shirt.

~ Swxller

 

 

The 5 Laws to Build Quality Muscle : Law 3- Recover for Growth

rest-2

Gym…

Gym gym gym – the word excites many young athletes who are anxious to get big and build muscle. Of course the more time you spend in the gym the more you are going to grow right? Yes, but not necessarily. When learning to build quality muscle one must understand that recovery is just as important and maybe more important to achieve adequate muscle growth.

The reason behind this fact lies in the recovery process that happens once your end your training session. when you exercise you stress your muscle fibers with millions of micro tears. Upon recovery these tears heal and the muscle fibers grow larger during this process. Over time this cycle is what causes muscles to grow larger due to the constant added stress from training. However when you do not achieve the right amount of recovery between training sessions and during sleep, you inhibit your body from completing this process which can lead to excessive bouts of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), a decreased resistance to illness, emotional mood swings, and a decreased urge to train.

Proper Rest Protocols to Achieve Quality Muscle

Hormones play a key role in your ability to build muscle. The optimal levels of growth hormone, testosterone, and cortisol all play a part in your body’s ability to respond to the stressors of training. When you sleep your body is able to regulate these hormones to help your body grow. This is why it is recommended to get a good nights rest.

(Side Note: Human growth hormone  (HGH), the one substance that is BANNED and what so many athletes are busted for each year is produced NATURALLY  when you SLEEP! Be Smart)

So what constitutes a good nights rest?

The standard recommendation of 8 hours per night work for most people but factors such as the athletes training age, current nutrition habits, and muscle fiber composition will play a major part for this number. This sleep should be UNDISTURBED. Turn off all lights, electronics, and allow your body to go into a deep sleep to repair itself.

Supplements such as melatonin and ZMA both help to achieve deep sleep and regulate hormones while sleeping. It is imperative that hormones such as cortisol and DHEA are under control due to the fact that their increased levels can be devastating to an athlete. Symptoms of abnormal levels of cortisol and DHEA include:

  • Excessive exhaustion
  • Increased need for carbs in the evening
  • Increased serotonin levels which channeled to thoughts of depression
  • Prolonged muscle soreness
  • Salt and water retention
  • Increased R.E.M sleep

The Key:

Yes train dirty!! Get in the gym and cause hell each time you train, but you you must rest just as hard. Each night plan to go to REAL SLEEP. Cut off those phones, instagram can wait, and turn the tv OFF. Always remember, you GROW when you SLEEP.

Bahar, J. (2015). Rest & Overtraining: What Does This Mean for Body Builders.

The Power of The Knife & Fork- Part III |5 Costly Meal Prep Mistakes

5 costly meal prep mistakes

I know… yea i know.. You have went to the grocery store, got all of the approved foods and hit up every youtube channel known to man to feed your excitement to start getting this whole nutrition thing down!!! Maybe yes??? Lol maybe that was just me, but in this third installment of “The Power of The Knife & Fork” we will discuss the top 5 most pertinent mistakes people make in the meal preparation process. Before I divulge this precious info lol.. let me remind you that there are companies that market “healthy foods” that are not healthy for you at all and will sabotage your progress to become a high performer. So if you are reading this while drinking a special K Protein shake….. I’ve just slapped it out of your hand.

Lets Go!!

Although I primarily work with athletes who have no problem taking coaching and following a proven program for results, for the regular person the thought of preparing meals for an entire week feels foreign and the process daunting. Well here at Swxller we believe in putting your big boy pull ups on and sucking that up: IT DOES NOT MATTER YOUR TRAINING PLAN!! IF YOU PUT CRAP FOOD IN YOUR SYSTEM YOU WILL GET CRAP RESULTS PERIOD. If you want to COMPLETELY speed up your training progress and achieve and incredible physique you MUST control what you stuff into your face. This leads me to my 1st mistake…

Mistake # 1-  I’m gonna make these 4 little meals and my body we be on point!!

1. MEAL PREP IS NOT A QUICK FIX IT MUST BECOME A LIFESTYLE

DO NOT become one of those people who get all excited just to prep their meals for one week, only eat half the meals, then go out on Friday and throw all of their hard efforts away because “you just had to go to 5 guys”. Regimenting what you eat may seem like a laborious task but consistency will greatly reduce the time it takes you to prepare your meals. We have stated before that we do not believe in diets. A diet is not sustainable and depending on what diet you may be on, very dangerous to your health. Get in the habit of prepping each week and EARN that special meal where you eat whatever you want. Your dedication of proper meal prepping will also give you the tools needed to be able to go out with your friends and order the food that will keep you on track.

Key: Dedicated yourself to prep your meals each week. It will save you a ton of money in the long run and your body (and spouse… hell IG page for that matter) will thank you in the long run.

Mistake # 2 – Why even bother prepping?DO you know how much money this S$%^ is gonna cost?!

2. SHOP LIKE THE CANDY LADY

NO.. you cannot eat candy lol… but we say shop like the candy lady meaning to buy your food IN BULK. Utilizing places like Sam’s, Costco, BJ’s etc, will not only save you a lot of money but allow you to buy a lot of food at once. Buying larger containers of peanut butter, for example, will also save you trips to the grocery store. True you can go to your local sure market each week but more times than none you will spend WAY more money for less food.

When you buy in bulk remember to buy high quality FRESH products (which we talk about in Part 2 of this series). Although this process isn’t complicated if you are still working with processed foods its gonna strain your progress and hurt your pockets.

In regards to meat NEVER buy small cuts. Now is the time to get creative and buy a whole chicken instead of a pack of chicken breasts and learn to COOK all parts to save money. Remember to be smart with your choices that you buy.

Mistake #3-  Man it takes way too long to cook all this food!!

3. NEVER COOK 1 WHEN YOU CAN COOK 3

Now that you are in the meal prep gang lol, there are a few essentials  that you will need in your kitchen to help save time when preparing your meals.

Disposable Aluminum Trays & Aluminum Foil– Why waste all that time cleaning up dishes when you can prepare meals in catering pans? This method helps to save time and allows you to cook a lot of food at one time in the oven

Slow Cooker– When budgets are light and you are still a novice in the kitchen, a slow cooker is the perfect appliance to cook a lot of meat at one time and ensure that it is TENDER (young tenderoni lol) and ready to me used for your weekly meal prep. This “set it and forget it” appliance also will help to free up time to cook more items simultaneously in your kitchen.

Rice Cooker– Let’s face it… INSTANT RICE SUCKS. Remember we want to buy quality products. By having a rice cooker you can by good quality rice and ensure that it is fluffy and light and good to your tummy. If you’re on “Grandma” status in the kitchen you could still use the stove but we believe in efficiency.

Spray Oil- Spray oil is a wonderful solution and cost-effective option to cooking in bulk. Keeping in mind that you want to watch your fat intake,, spray oil will greatly reduce the amount that you use when you are cooking. You only need enough oil to grease your pan and pots while cooking. The oil that you need and ONLY NEED IS

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

COCONUT OIL

We will keep it simple- use those two.. don’t debate we don’t wanna hear it. If you are allergic to one use the other one.

Mistake 4- ” I bought all this food and I only have enough for 3 days.. smh this meal prep thing doesn’t work

4. WHERE IS YOUR FOOD SCALE? MEASURE YOUR FOOD

Food scales and measuring cups are imperative when meal prepping. Each person is different and there is no cookie cutter approach to the amount of protein, carbs, and fats you should eat with each meal. That number will depend on your current training goal and apps such as MyFitnessPal are great tools to help you figure out how much YOU need to eat to get the ideal physique. Once you have that specific number you want to use your food scale and measuring cups to ACCURATELY proportion all of your meals so that you are taking in the proper amount of nutrients at each fueling session throughout the day.

Food scales are relatively cheap, less than $25 dollars and can be bought at places such as Walmart and you can get food measuring cups for next to nothing at the grocery store. When you are equipped with these tools you can portion each meal to the ounce!! Although nutrition isn’t an exact science weighing your meals is as close to perfect as you can get to optimum nutrition.

And we bring it to number 5 which is

5. CONTAINERS

Containers matter.. point blank period. To preserve freshness, create uniformity in your fridge (to save space), and keep you on track the TYPE of container that you put your food in makes all the difference. VERSATAINER is a brand that you can buy off of amazon and you can get 150 containers for less than $50 dollars! Although you can get the simple containers from the grocery store, you want to meal prep to your best ability. Containers such as versatainer will ensure that you can get all of your portioned food inside the container  and save food to freeze that you do not use right away.

We hope that these solutions help you in your meal preparation and remember that trail, error and experience will be your best teacher during your meal prep journey

Swxller

The Power of The Knife and Fork: Part 1

Put The Pop Tarts AWAY

Family,

After our slight “Come to Jesus Meeting” last week, its time to bring you in and coach you up on the most important factor in changing your life: NUTRITION.

First and foremost we don’t say DIET here..period. Your nutrition has to be in direct correlation to your fitness and health goals. Instead of using the word diet we will use the word FUEL. Think about this: If you bought a new Ashton Martin tomorrow (my personal favorite) would you drive your nice shiny new car to the “Cona Sto'” and use 87?? HELL No!! You would damn near go to the dealership to gas that car up with jet fuel if you could. Well if this is the case .. and don’t lie you would lol, why do you do the same with your food?

I’m sad to say that with all the trolls on instagram, you tube, and all of the internet, the overload of faulty nutrition information can be overwhelming and very costly. Everywhere you turn there is a new pill, potion, butt lifter, waist corset, powder.. ehh you get my drift. Here at The Swxller Company we stick to the basics and inform our athletes to the secret of nutrition

Which is…..

NUTRIENT DENSITY

So what is nutrient density? Nutrient density refers to the nutrient quality of the food you are eating on a daily basis. Our bodies haven’t changed in over 100,000 years however we seem to believe that we can cheat the system with processed foods, GMO’s, and the almighty 99 cent menu. Well we are here to tell you that if you do not fuel your body with the proper nutrients you are literally eating yourself into an early grave. Dun Dun…. pretty scary right??

Lets keep this thing simple, if you want to increase your nutrient density you need to eat less CRAP and eat more FOOD

Eat less CRAP:

C – Carbonated Drinks
R – Refined Sugar
A – Artificial Sweeteners and Artificial Colors
P – Processed Foods
Eat more FOOD:

F – Fruits and Vegetables
O – Organic Lean Proteins
O – Omega 3 Fatty Acids
D – Drink Water

Solutions

C- It doesn’t matter if its diet, zero, whatever… if you want to increase your performance you will use coke for its true purpose taking the corrosion off of your battery

R- The sugar you eat should come from your fruits

A- YouTube the effects of aspartame.. thank me later

P- If you can’t grow it or kill it.. you probably shouldn’t be eating it

Food-

F- Eat the Rainbow- your fruits and vegetables should be in a variety of colors. From a boost in immunity, to increased musculature and heart health, each color has a specific purpose to not only heal but reverse the effects of any harm that the CRAP has caused to your body

Want to know more? Check out this article

November 2008 Issue

Color Me Healthy — Eating for a Rainbow of Benefits
By Juliann Schaeffer
Today’s Dietitian
Vol. 10 No. 11 P. 34

O- “The Less Legs the Better” always follow this rule in choosing your meats. Cold water fish such as salmon and trout are a very good start. Also be sure to seek out the hunting and fishing community to get information on grass-fed and wild game that haven’t had access to processed grains and vegetables.

O- If you don’t have fish oil in your cabinet, shame on you haha.. don’t take our word for it , lets see what Dr. Frank Sacks, Professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health has to say.

“Omega-3 fatty acids (also known as n-3 fatty acids) are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential nutrients for health. We need omega-3 fatty acids for numerous normal body functions, such as controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain, and since our bodies cannot make omega-3 fats, we must get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids are also associated with many health benefits, including protection against heart disease and possibly stroke. New studies are identifying potential benefits for a wide range of conditions including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.”

D- DRINK WATER.. a lot of it… all the time.. We won’t tell you again.. if it’s not a gallon per day you are playing yourself

Thats it this week!! Tune in next week for part two as we deep dive into nutrition.

Feed the Wolf

Minor Bowens, CSCS, USAW

The Swxller Co.