Hi! My name is Dr. Sara Solomon and people always ask me 2 questions:
- How I got abs
- How I maintain them
So here are my 6-pack secrets .... in 6 easy steps!
1. Fasting to Get Awesome Abs:
You can do millions of sit-ups, but if your diet is questionable, your abs will remain hidden beneath an unsightly layer of fat.
I know how hard it is to lose fat (I'm not genetically lean). After years of failed attempts, I finally found a solution that works for me 365 days of the year. I practice intermittent fasting and flexible dieting. I don't follow a meal plan and I do not demonize food. I prefer to eat "healthy" food for 90% of my daily intake and then I allow discretionary calories for the other 10%. Because I keep track of my daily macronutrients and calories, I am able to have greater flexibility with my diet. Meal plans always fail me because they are neither maintainable nor endurable.
True or False? Abs are made in the kitchen.
Answer: FALSE! If you want abs, then get out of the kitchen and stop eating all the time! The easiest way to shed the layer of fat hiding your abs is by fasting. Why? Because your body will finally burn your stored fat for fuel, rather than the food you keep shovelling into your mouth.
If you want to learn how to approach fasting and flexible dieting without damaging your metabolism or compromising your muscle gains, then get started with my Fat Loss Fast System.
2. Core Exercises to Get Awesome Abs:
True or False? Ab exercises will give you a 6-pack.
This study1 investigated the effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat. Their findings indicated that 6 weeks of abdominal exercises alone (with no other training) did not reduce abdominal fat (Note: both the ab exercising group and the control group had identical isocaloric diets)
Nevertheless, low back pain and injury prevention are the most important reasons why you should strengthen your core musculature. A strong core will support your spine, protecting your from back injuries and pain. This is especially important for people who sit all day long on the job with slouched posture.
The Plank is my favourite exercise for strong abdominal and back muscles. Do not underestimate the plank! The longer you can hold the plank, the more resilient your lower back will be to injury, making it the ultimate prerequisite exercise for all weight lifting and sports.
3. Workouts to Get Awesome Abs:
Heavy load weight-training is key. Prioritize compound exercises (i.e. squats, deadlifts) over isolation exercises (lateral raises, biceps curls and leg extensions) Compound exercises illicit a neuroendocrine response. Exercises that induce a neuroendocrine response will increase muscle mass and bone density.
The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you will burn.
Heavy load weight-training allows you to continue burning calories even after you are finished exercising because it generates a large EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). EPOC is responsible for the calories burned post-exercise.
Combining heavy load weight-training (compound lifts) with intermittent fasting is a sure fire way to torch fat.
We all know that cardio is great for the heart.
I especially love jump rope training. Jump rope is a FUN way to burn a TON of calories in a short amount of time. In fact, just 10 minutes of nonstop jumping at 120 turns per minute provides the same cardiovascular benefits as 30 minutes of jogging2. So your cardio workout doesn’t need to be long to be effective. I encourage you to "jump" on the bandwagon!
Click here to learn basic jump rope moves:
Note: Although I do include lower intensity cardio into my regimen, my cardio style is predominantly HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training: (or sprint interval training). Intervals are short bursts of high intensity exercise separated by periods of lower intensity effort. It’s these high intensity bursts that melt the fat away. Research has shown that HIIT burns fat more effectively than low-intensity exercise – up to 50% more efficiently! It also speeds up your metabolism which enables you to burn more calories throughout the day.
4. Supplements to Get Awesome Abs:
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a fatty acid found mainly in meat and dairy products and is known for its body weight management properties of reducing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass. CLA must be used in conjunction with an exercise program and a healthy portion-controlled diet if you want to reap its weight management benefits.
In a year 2000 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, an average reduction of 6 pounds of body fat occurred in those who took CLA compared to those who did not. They also found that 3.4 g of CLA per day is required to obtain the aforementioned beneficial effects of CLA on body fat.
Because it is difficult to obtain CLA from meat and dairy without also increasing your saturated fat intake (you would have to consume at least 500 g of fat to get 3 g of CLA), it is recommended to increase your CLA consumption via supplementation.
L-Carnitine is produced by your body from the amino acids lysine and methionine. L-carnitine transfers long-chain fatty acids into your mitochondria, where they are oxidized to produce energy. When I want to get lean, then I include L-carnitine in my supplement arsenal. Another added benefit of L-carnitine is that it has been shown to reduce fatigue and suppress your appetite. So if you want to prevent your body from storing fat and increase your aerobic capacity (thereby allowing you to burn more calories), then L-carnitine is for you!
The best way to get abs is by intermittent fasting (IF)... and this includes FASTED training! Both IF and fasted training will increase your growth hormone levels, which is good news because growth hormone is your star fat burning hormone. In order to preserve my hard-earned muscle, I sip on BCAAs during my fasted training session. My BCAAs of choice are BSN's AminoX because they have negligible calories and taste great. For more information, please read my article, "Fast with BCAAs".
5. Banish Belly Bloating to Show your Awesome Abs:
You have worked hard to burn the fat off your midsection. Don’t let unsightly belly bloating hide your gorgeous abs! Click to read my most popular article: “Beat Belly Bloating: 22 Quick Fixes for a Flat Belly”.
6. Sleep 8 hours to Get Awesome Abs:
Chronic sleep deprivation leads to weight gain! It affects the way our body processes and stores carbohydrates. Inadequate sleep results in high blood glucose levels, which as we know, spikes insulin. Since our body is not requiring sugar for fuel during sleep, it will inevitably be stored as fat.
Sleep deprivation also alters hormones that affect our appetite. Whenever I pull a late night, I become hungry and eat more (even if I’ve already eaten) because my body releases more cortisol (stress hormone). Cortisol controls our appetite, and when our cortisol levels are elevated, it causes hunger, overeating and raised blood sugar and insulin levels, which contributes to fat storage.
Leptin, which is an appetite control hormone, signals the brain telling us when we are full or when we need to continue eating. Leptin increases when we are sleeping; however, leptin levels decrease when we are sleep deprived, which causes us to feel hungry and overeat.
Get Started Today!
If you are tired of following restrictive meal plans, then let me show you a way that has helped over 10,000 people of all ages and sizes. It's called the Fat Loss Fast System and you can check out the amazing before and after photos here!
Always consult with your medical doctor before embarking on an exercise, nutrition and supplementation program.