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 important reasons why you should strengthen your core musculature. A strong core will support your spine and protect 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 for my free jump rope tutorials.
4. 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”.
5. 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.
6. 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.
- Vispute SS, Smith JD, LeCheminant JD, Hurley KS.The effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat.J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Sep;25(9):2559-64
- Baker J.A. Comparison of rope skipping and jogging as methods of Improving cardiovascular efficiency of college men. Research Quarterly, 1969, 39. P. 240-243
Thanks for the great tips Sara!
Thanks Joelle for the feedback – let me know if you implement any of this into your plan!
Another question for you Sara- when would you recommend taking fat-burners? It seems like if I take any on an empty stomach, I feel a little loopy and weird. Since I’m doing IF & breaking my fast around 4, I don’t want to take them too late in the day if they have stimulants. Would you just recommend sticking to non-caffeinated fat-burners? Any suggestions?
I’m currently on a break from my thermogenic (gaspari detonate), but when I did take them, it was in the morning, fasted. It didn’t bother me. Other brands have bothered me. Perhaps try something else?
I’m a 27 year-old former bodybuilder (I competed when I was 21-24) and I’ve always followed the 6-meals per day plan with counting macros—plus doing the double split of cardio in the AM and weights at night.
I’d describe my body as meso/endo (I can keep muscle easily, but I can’t get lean very easily). My midsection (abs and lower back) are covered in fat, however my arms are vascular!).
Long story short, I want to get into the best shape of my life in the next 30 weeks (mid-summer of 2013). Would you recommend this type of protocol for guys too? Btw..I’m 6’2″ 230 lbs at around 18% bodyfat.
I hate doing the 6-meals per day because I’m starving constantly!
Yes! it works better for men!
I’m still going to do my cardio in the AM before work and then I’ll supplement with aminos. I wont break my fast till noon and I’ll train at 5pm.
I am in the same position as Josiah Novak above. I am a meso/endo and have trouble shedding fat around the abs/lower back area.
My question is that you have been doing IF for the past three months. But how did you manage to get so lean and ‘chiselled’ prior to starting IF?
Also do you take any vitamins in particular to make up for any potential nutritional deficiencies now that you have started fasting?
Thanks in advance, please keep posting more blogs about your Fasting journey as it’s really useful to see how another Meso/Endo physique is making progress. I think there are far too many websites dedicated to Ectomorph’s and helping them out!
IF is the best way to lose stubborn fat in the lower abdomen and lats zone. And I am LOL right now because I WAS NOT LEAN before IF! Did you not see my before photo? I started IF to lose all the fat! And it worked. And it’s easy to maintain! Lastly, there is no reason why you will have nutritional deficiencies. You eat all the same foods & calories as you did before – except you eat it in a narrow window in the day. Make sure you eat healthy food and you won’t have to swallow a pill.
I love this blog entry. You are proof and proof makes me want to try what you are doing to see if it works for me. I notice a difference in some of your earlier shows up to now and its quite remarkable. I just don’t know how to incorporate the warrior diet when I work the swing shift and have no more than 30 minutes to eat my dinner (around 6pm). this is the only thing that prevents me from doing the IF!
Do you count a cardio session as ten minutes of jumping rope?
Thanks! Margesella, just put your eating window where it is convenient for you. We all have different schedules. You don’t have to do the warrior diet. Just make sure you spend more of your waking hours fasted than you do feasting. Perhaps that means you eat for 8 hours a day. Ten minutes of jump rope is better than nothing. 🙂 Turn it into 10 minutes of HIIT jump rope sprints and you’ll get more bang for your buck!
Your blog and your pictures definitely convinced me. I started IF 2 days ago. I will let you know if I see results. I need to lose fat as I’ve been struggling with my entire life. My question is regarding good supplements : I got green tea extract , L carnitina and CLA. Can I take them fasted in the morning ? When is it better to take them ? My eating window is from 4 to 8.
Dr. Sara Solomon
take the green tea extract in the morning before you train. The others can be taken when you eat.
Sara, your hard work has paid off…very beautiful, for intermittent fasting, what hours do you normally do 18/6 or different? and when do you start your fast?
Amazing article recommended to me by a friend!! Thank you for sharing! Excellent work!!
What about the l carnitine? When do you take that? And the bb green tea extract says to take with food. But it’s ok to take it in the morning fasted before training? My window is 12-8. I train at 5:30 am. I’ve been doing this for a month and have seen no results yet. It’s frustrating.
I was wondering if its possible for a 35 year old female diabetic to loose stomach fat and get flat abs?
I’m very interested in this
Hello Sara, i’m not sure if you are another gimmick that builds our hopes up and then leave us to fall back into a spiral of depression and self torture. But seeing as i am a hopeful person, i am willing to try your way and hope that it works for me. After 2 children in my late 30’s i am really feeling the need to move more and eat less, except i have almost zero time. Starving myself seems impossible with how tired i am as it affects my moods (not for the better). Staying focused is my main issue as i am not afraid of working out, is there a way of doing this? By the way you have a great bod!! would like to be half as fit one day before i am 45 🙂 x
Dr. Sara Solomon
I know how you feel Kerry because I’ve been there too. I have been doing my system since 2012 and have not rebounded or thrown in the towel. It’s very simple and effortless … that’s why it works. Just keep piecing the days together and soon you will be a believer.
Hi Sara, Do you recommend the same excerise routine and supplements for a 50 year old women?
Dr. Sara Solomon
Please consult with your physician first
i want to start IF as I haven’t done and I have gained weight upon turning 40. I work out & eat clean but no weight change. I am confused on the supplement choices – are all necessary? Could you recommend a sequence of how to implement daily in a specific order? Any guidance to this new endeavor would be great!