Ab roller/wheel reviews: A no BS, unbiased critique

ab roller The wheel is often described as the greatest invention of all time, so how well does the ab wheel stack up when it comes to burning fat and carving out a sleek set of abs? In this review, I’m going to untangle the marketing hype, lay out practical alternatives and explain why (most) people are simply better off saving their money.

There’s a good chance you stumbled across this page because you want to lose belly fat/get abs and think an ab-roller is the perfect tool for the job. There’s just one problem. It won’t help you burn much fat! Look, it’s not all bad news…

Will an ab-roller actively strengthen your abs and lower back? Yeah.

Will an ab-roller give your ‘core’ a good workout and make you feel ‘the burn’? Sure.

Will an ab-roller help burn off the fat covering your abs and give you the six pack you desire? Not so much.

Do ab rollers actually work?

The problem with ab rollers (and similar contraptions) is not that they don’t work or ‘target’ your abs (they do), it’s that they violate the body’s unwritten rules for fast and effective fat loss. And when belly fat is the main culprit standing between you and a set of washboard abs, that’s simply unacceptable.

So, does that mean they’re completely useless? Not exactly. If you can already see your abs, or at least the visible outline, then an ab-roller may be a suitable investment to add a degree of variety/challenge to your existing exercise routine. They may also be useful where strength and stability is the goal.

So, what do I recommend?

With so many ab-rollers out there it can be tough market to navigate. One wheel, two wheels? Spring-loaded, non-spring loaded? And what about materials?

If you are in the market for an ab-roller for the reasons outlined above, then Speed Abs by Iron Gym gets my nod of approval. With it’s ergonomic rubber handles, wide wheel base of support and built-in recoil spring, which decreases excessive strain placed on the spine and lumbar region, it’s a step above others in the market and comes in at a very reasonable price-point.

But let’s not overlook the main point here, if you’re an average guy (or gal) who wants to get abs but has some belly fat to lose, save your money and read on.

The Ab-solute truth

Physiology dictates that fat loss occurs uniformly, not from the trouble-spot over your stomach. So, not only can you give the ab-roller the flick, you can also ditch exercises like the crunch. They simply don’t stack-up in terms of fat burning capacity compared to total-body exercises like squats, dead-lifts, shoulder presses, lunges, rows, press ups and pull ups.

These movements are also ‘functional’ (i.e mimic daily activities), unlike the unnatural ‘rolling’ motion of the ab wheel, and actually engage, strengthen and shape your core with greater efficiency. What’s more, muscle tissue is metabolically active, which means it’s a great natural fat burner, so the more muscle you use and build during your workouts, the faster you’ll eradicate your belly.

A quick word on ‘toning’: Don’t fall for the gimmicky headlines. You cannot ‘tone’ your abs. Collectively, they function as a group of muscles and may only get smaller or larger. The illusion of definition comes from decreasing body fat percentage and/or increasing muscle size.

In reality, the ‘secret’ to losing belly fat and getting abs can be found in following proven diet strategies and exercise principles, not from a little wheel you can pick up on Amazon for $30 bucks. So, until you get both of those factors in-check, consider your workouts an ab roller free-zone.

6 pack superfoods: Destroy belly fat, build lean muscle

Healthy man with a selection of 6 pack foods to help him lose belly fat There’s an old saying ‘You are what you eat”. If you think getting ripped is all about exercise, you’d be wrong. Sure, it’s important but it’s the foods that pass your lips that really govern what goes on inside your body.

Getting your diet on-track and provisioning your body with the right foods can do it all – burn belly fat, boost satiety, increase vitality, boost testosterone and exchange flab for lean muscle tissue (providing you hit the gym too, of course!).

Before we reveal what to eat, here’s a quick word on what to avoid. Our food industry is chock-full of pitfalls with processed ‘junk’ and sweet-treats laced with fat, sugar and unpronounceable preservatives seemingly out there to tempt you at every turn.

So, what’s a guy to do? Impose a fast-food embargo? Nah. That’s no fun. Which is why I’m advocating a smarter, more measured approach. One where you can eat what you like and not suffer the health consequences or feel guilty about it. It’s all a matter of balance and perspective. If you eat right 80-90% of the time, the other 10-20% won’t even matter. Simple.

Below you’ll find a breakdown of 6 pack super foods, their all-important macro-nutrients, why they’re important and where to find them, so you’ll know how to eat right for your waistline anytime, anywhere.

Secret weapon: Protein

Of all the nutrients on offer, protein has the greatest gut-busting and appetite-satisfying effects. Although it’s common to load up on protein at dinner time, there are plenty of ways to include it at breakfast, lunch and snack time, too.

When you include a source of lean protein in a meal, not only are you likely to feel fuller for longer and build muscle, you’re guaranteed to reap the benefits of something called ‘postprandial thermogenesis’. It may sound like something straight out of Star-trek, but it’s effects are very real and could be the key to beating belly fat without lifting a finger! It all boils down to heat (thermogenesis) and how it affects the body.

Did you know, your body churns through up to 15% of your daily kilojoules as part of the body-heating process? Digesting protein is up to 50-100% more energy-intensive than carbohydrates and the best part is all of this ‘hard work’ uses up energy in the form of calories. In fact, upping your protein intake from 15% to 30% of your daily kilojoules can help you burn through an extra 750kj per day – the equivalent of 2 ‘lite’ beers!

The secret to burning blubber on autopilot is to start early. Forget about starting your day with a bowl of sugary-cereal and opt for some lean protein instead – eggs on wholemeal toast, a few bacon rashers, an omelette (with veggies), homemade burger, or a few lean chicken/mince sausage will do the job nicely and set you up for the rest of the day.

You can get your protein two ways – ‘complete’ and ‘incomplete’. Animal protein is complete in that it contains all the right ratios of essential amino acids and while things like eggs, meat and fish are the best sources of protein, combining ‘incomplete’ protein foods, like nuts and lentils at one meal or throughout the day can provide a good dose of protein, too. Let your food keep torching calories long after it’s vanished from your plate by regularly including these protein power-foods as part of your diet.

Animal protein sources: White meat, red meat, seafood, dairy, eggs and whey protein powder. Vegan protein sources: Leafy green vegetables, nuts, mushrooms, broccoli, lentils, chia seeds and peas and beans.

A quick word on protein powder: I’m all for getting protein through the ‘whole foods’ listed above, but sometimes it’s just not possible, especially if you’re too tired to cook and prepare food, a protein shake can be just what you need meet your quota. Look for either a whey protein.  Your best bet is high-quality ‘whey’ protein powder (derived from milk). It’s absorbed quickly by the body and promotes protein synthesis needed for cellular repair and muscle growth.

Secret weapon: Healthy fats

It seems obvious, if you wanna’ ditch the fat, don’t eat it, right? Wrong. Testosterone – that all-important male hormone responsible for building muscle and keeping you lean – is actually made from fat. But it’s not simple as drinking a gallon of cooking oil to carve out a sleek set of abs. Fat comes in a few different guises, so its important to know the differences and how they affect the body. First, let’s start with the bad-guys, aka trans-fats.

It should come as no surprise that the biggest sources of trans-fats come from ‘big’ food companies who, always keen to save a buck, use the hydrogenation of vegetable oils to prolong shelf-life and cut-down processing costs. The problem is that trans-fats not only lower “good” HDL cholesterol and promote inflammation in the body, they lower testosterone levels, too. So, health-wise it’s best to keep your consumption of trans-fats to a minimum by replacing processed and packaged crap (fast-foods, cookies, cakes, muffins, doughnuts, microwavable meals, margarine and oil spreads) with natural whole foods.

On the flip side, to boost your testosterone levels you’ll want to eat plenty of saturated and monounsaturated fats, which you can find in the foods below. But remember, if you’re struggling to lose weight, fat itself is not the culprit. It’s carbs that are the likely problem (see below). Fat will help keep you full, while carbs can put you on a blood-sugar roller coaster that leaves you irritable and ravenous.

Saturated fatty acids: Dark chocolate, egg yolks, whole milk, cheese, butter, red meat, salmon. Monounsaturated fatty acids: Avocado, peanut butter, nut oil's and coconut

Secret weapon: Carbs & fiber

Carbohydrates are essential for energy, building muscle and even brain power. Protein might help you build bulging biceps, but no amount of grilled chicken will get you lean on it’s own. The bottom line is, you need carbs, especially after hitting the gym. Carbs are broken down into glucose, one of your primary fuel sources, so if your stores are depleted there’s a good chance you’re not going to be at your best and suffer the effects of fatigue, malaise and low motivation. Carbohydrates are also essential for day to day living – whether boosting your mood or making sure you keep a full head of hair.

Carbs can be broken down according to their place on the glycaemic index (GI). Your body stores some unused sugar as glycogen in the liver and muscles, but converts the rest to fat. Low GI carbs, like those listed below, avoid being stored as fat by breaking down more slowly, resulting in a ‘smoother’ more long-lasting rise in blood-sugar and energy levels.

On the flip-side, high-GI carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed faster by the body, providing a spike in blood-sugar levels and a quick ‘hit’ of energy. This makes them excellent post-workout and helps release insulin, putting your body into an anabolic, muscle-building state. But it only works when you take in protein and fat, too. A protein shake made with whole milk and some fruit – which hits all 3 – is perfect, as is chocolate milk.

Low-GI Carbohydrate Foods: Oatmeal, sweet potato, quinoa, wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, bran cereal and beans. High-GI carbohydrates: Apple, banana, orange, berries and watermelon

Secret weapon: Caspaicin

Chile Pepper It’s no coincidence that peppers and Chile’s are hot, their thermogenic effect on the body can literally boost fat burn. In fact, scientists have found cayenne pepper to increase the rate at which you metabolize fat by 15-20% for up to 3hrs after eating. Plus, it boosts satiety.

Granted, these subtle fat-burning effects aren’t going to transform your body overnight, but they do provide a great reason to add them to meals, either cooked or raw. Other spices and condiments like cinnamon, mustard and ginger are great metabolism boosters, too.

A quick word on the ‘bad guys’

I’m not going to bore you by listing every ‘bad’ food out there, here’s all you really need to know. Refined carbohydrates (think white bread, donuts, bagels, chips, muffins, cakes), liquid calories (alcohol, soda, sports drinks), lollies or any other heavily-processed food you get in a box or bag generally spells bad news when consumed in excess. Treat these as a ‘sometimes’ and not an everyday staple.

*This is a guide, not a comprehensive list. Eating a variety of natural, whole foods is the key to a healthy, balanced diet.

How to lose belly fat for men: A foolproof blueprint

The first step to winning your battle against the bulge is knowing your enemy. Enter our foolproof action plan to lose belly fat and reveal your abs for the everyday guy. It’ll save your waistline — and maybe even your life.

You see, belly fat is different from other kinds of fat. It doesn’t just sit there; it’s active. Lying in striking distance of your vital organs, it secretes a host of dangerous toxins which increase your risk of diabetes & heart disease. And it gets worse – a bulging belly also spells bad news in the bedroom.

It’s time to take back your belly! Being a guy, demolishing that stubborn roll around your middle can be tough. But, by sticking to our action plan, that spare tire won’t stand a chance.

It all starts here with the flat-belly equation – a trifecta of essential ingredients, which on their own aren’t all that surprising, but when combined create a metabolic firestorm that will flatten your belly, improve your health & build lean-muscle in record time. To kick things off, we’ve tackled the two biggest pitfalls for flat belly success. Take heed and never let them stand in your way again!

Fact or fiction?

If you listened to all the flawed advice out there to lose stomach fat for men and uncover your abs you’d be popping every diet pill & doing upside-down crunches until you passed out. Here’s the absolute truth.

Myth: Crunches burn belly fat

There is no single best exercise to burn off your belly, least of all the crunch or sit-up. Not only do they sabotage your belly-busting efforts, they violate the body’s unwritten rules for effective and permanent fat loss. So until you’ve demolished your gut, consider your workouts a crunch-free zone.

When you exercise, your body burns blubber uniformly, not from the targeted trouble spot over your stomach. So instead of peeling out dozens of crunches, your priority should be on decreasing your total body fat percentage – we show you how below.

Myth: Starving yourself burns belly fat

Starving yourself may cause quick weight loss at first – but fasting actually decreases the activity of the enzymes that release fat from the cells. It’s also unsustainable in the long run. In short, the less you eat, the more stubborn that spare-tire becomes. But this doesn’t give you ticket to splurge on junk. A food quality restriction is in effect.

Think of your body the way you gas up your car. Fill it with the wrong fuel or let your tank run too low and your body will have no choice but to throttle back your fat-burning motor (known as your metabolism). Keep your tank topped with a steady influx of healthy meals. You’ll stoke your metabolism and build a body that burns fat on autopilot.

No gut, all glory!

Your life is ruled by the clock. So you need to find a way of eradicating your belly in the time at your disposal. Welcome to the world of interval training, a turbocharged training style that ditches long, boring steady-state cardio, in favor of short, sharp high-intensity bursts of activity.

interval training workout Not only will you shave minutes of your workout, you’ll unleash a killer blow to your belly with a bout of extended post oxygen consumption (EPOC) where your metabolism continues to run in high-gear long after your workout’s over.

The result? You’ll burn more fat faster, even while you chill-out! You can tap into these benefits any way you want – running, swimming, cycling – whatever your style (i.e perform 20 seconds of intense work followed by 10 seconds of rest for a total of 8 cycles). While the entire workout lasts only 4 minutes, by the end, you should feel like you can’t complete another round.

Stand, don’t sit: There’s more to burning off your belly than wearing out your running shoes. Sitting for long periods – think computer/desk work and watching TV – switches off lipase, a potent fat burning enzyme that prevents fat storage. So if you aren’t active, it doesn’t function. Take regular standing breaks and increase your daily activity levels. Take the stairs, swap your car for pedal power to-and-from work & stretch regularly.

Get abs on autopilot!

Losing belly fat isn’t easy, but building muscle while you burn the calories will increase the rate at which your body breaks down (metabolizes) fat over the short-term as well as the long-term. What’s more, pumping iron will help you alter your overall body composition, giving the impression you’ve exchanged flab for lean muscle.

muscleAbs don’t start showing when you build them; they show when you’ve built all the muscles in your body and cut the fat around your midsection. Here’s they key, your muscles don’t just sit there, they’re metabolically active and cost energy in the form of calories to build and maintain. So, to strip away belly fat and rev your metabolism, your goal in the gym should be to engage as much of this fat-fighting tissue as possible.

Exercises which ‘isolate’ small, single muscle groups like the bicep curl, triceps extension, leg extension/curl and variations of the crunch don’t make the cut here. Instead, build your routine around large multi-muscle moves like squats, dips, rows, pull-ups, push-ups, shoulder/bench presses and dead-lifts. You’ll finish faster, burn more calories both during and after your workout and release a flood of muscle-building hormones.

Mighty mitochondria: Your body comes equipped with its own fat-burning generators. They’re called mitochondria and function as microscopic power-plants that turn nutrients, including fat, into fuel for your muscles. And your workouts can crank them up. The more intensely you exercise, the more mitochondria you bring online. Do this by stringing your multi-muscle moves together to perform a single set of each exercise back-to-back. Repeat x 3-4.

Try it: 4-Minute no-equipment workout!

5 Nutrition rules to live by!

Sure, fasting might make sense for an obese, sedentary guy, but a bloke who’s taming the treadmill and hitting the weights each week needs to be provisioning his body with the right nutrients to support his lard-losing efforts. Here’s how:

#1. Rise & shine!

eggs and bacon breakfastAll of this starts at the breakfast table. Research has shown those that skip breakfast are significantly more likely to sport a bulging belly, so tuck in! A couple of rashers of lean bacon, a low-fat chicken sausage or a poached/boiled egg on wholegrain toast is the best way to start the day. You get equal amounts of protein, healthy fats and energy-sustaining carbohydrates all in one hit.

Despite they’re bad rap, cereals can also be beneficial. Research has shown that downing a high-fiber/whole-grain cereal before exercise burns twice as much fat. On the flip side, low-fiber refined carbs (think waffles, pancakes and pastries) raise insulin levels which limits your ability to use fat for fuel.

Rising with a bowl of energy-sustaining oats is equally good. You get slow-digesting carbs to fend off any sleepiness, fiber to keep you feeling fuller for longer and a generous dose of protein to refuel your muscles. Buy the plain variety and flavor them yourself with honey, banana and mixed-berries.

#2. Get lean with protein!

Maximize your protein fix with lean-meats, fish and low-fat dairy for more muscle and less lard, fast. Aiding in post exercise tissue repair, research has shown that a high-protein will help you lose lard and hold on to muscle. And it gets better. Consuming quality proteins forces the body to work harder compared to fats and carbs and this extra work gobbles up up excess calories to aid in the digestive process.

In the body this is called a called a ‘thermogenic response’ and it’s the secret to whittling down your waistline while you chill out! In fact, boosting your protein intake from 15% to 30% can help you burn through an extra 750kj per day! Tuck in and aim to consume at least 35% of your daily kilojoules from this source safe in the knowledge that the best cut will be the one around your waistline. Don’t forget vegan options like spirulina, amaranth, quinoa, oats, wild rice, lentils, chia seeds and leafy green veggies, too!

selection of healthy protein sources

#3. Shake up & slim down!

I get it. Eating right can be hard. I mean who has the time and patience to cook and prepare healthy meals 24/7? Sometimes it’s just not possible, and this is where a protein supplement can really help. You get all of the brawn-buffing and appetite-satisfying benefits in the convenience of a tub.

whey protein powderProtein quality is key. Look for a product with at least 30g of protein per serve and free from hidden nasties like casein/whey protein concentrate (WPC), gluten, maltodextrin, artificial sweeteners, thickeners and gums. The cleaner your protein powder, the better. For those with lactose intolerance and other sensitivities, plant-based vegan powders are a great alternative.

Chug one anytime of the day, especially after exercise. Solid foods can take hours to digest and only release 4-7g of protein per hour. Have a whey protein shake after training. It’s the most easily digested protein you can feed your muscles.

To create a more filling, nutrient-dense shake, add things like oats, bananas, berries, yogurt, peanut butter and milk to a blender and you’ll have a healthy, belly-busting meal replacement to go in under a minute!

#4. Rethink your drink!

Beer and bellies go hand in hand. They ’empty’ calories found in the bottom of every bottle are devoid of nutritional value and at 150 calories a pop, its easy to see how they can lead to a ballooning belly. Beer also by inhibits the liver’s ability to burn fat. With their sky-high sugar content, soda’s don’t fare much better either. By all means have one occasionally, but if you want to lose the belly, it’s best to cut back. 

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Instead, consider water your new ally in the battle of the bulge. It aids in digestion and boosts your metabolism by up to 30%. Keeping it cold maximizes this effect, as your body seeks out and destroys extra flab warming it up before it can be absorbed. To find out how may liters you should drink per day, divide your weight in kilo’s by 30. Arm yourself with a water bottle during the day and guzzle at first sight! Too boring? Boost it with a squeeze of citrus. Oranges, limes and lemons are loaded with Vitamin C and can boost testosterone levels!

#5. Keep it real!

Not seeing results from your healthy eating efforts can sap your motivation. Keep it simple. If you’re not seeing the scales budge, reduce your total caloric intake by 500 calories per daily (the equivalent of 1 Big Mac, or 2 Snickers bars) and monitor your weight and progress until you’re losing ~1-2lbs/week. Finally, we’re not advocating a fast-food embargo. Eating right should be fun and feel good knowing you’re provisioning your body with the fuel it needs to seek out and destroy belly fat while still being able to enjoy your favorite foods. Occasionally splurging will keep yourself from falling off the wagon without any sense of sacrifice. Go ahead, have a beer or that pizza, just don’t over do it!

Don’t be a couch potato!

Couch potatoThis is the bottom line when it comes to stripping away belly fat. It’s great if you’re committed to working out 3 days a week, but if you’re not getting regularly active for at least 30 minutes a day, you’re not doing yourself (or your belly) any favors. Any activity is good activity and contributes to your daily calorie burn, so get moving!

Getting up and out of the house is always good, but ditch the car (unless you’re using to get to the park or beach). Your mindset should be one where you’re always looking to take advantage of any and all opportunities to get active, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator. These small things can quickly add up to measurable changes, so get creative and think what you can do!

How to lose beer belly: Banish the gut, for good!

Gut-check time! You may joke among your beer drinking buddies “why get a six-pack when you can settle for a keg instead”, but deep down we know you’re not proud of it.

You don’t like the way it looks, it’s a turn-off with the ladies, it zaps your sex-drive, your clothes don’t fit and it’s linked to a host of life-threatening diseases like diabetes, stroke and high cholesterol – just to name a few.

In reality, that beer belly of yours is poisoning your body and decreasing your quality of life. But enough scary stuff, it’s clear that by landing on this page you’re motivated to make the change. First, here’s the lowdown on beer-belly physiology, including what causes it and why.

What causes it? You’d be mistaken for thinking beer alone causes a beer belly, but that’s not the whole story. The real culprit is excess calories. Food, alcohol, sugary drinks and super-size portions can all contribute to a ballooning belly. Beer, however, delivers a killer blow by inhibiting the liver’s ability to burn fat. And with each glass delivering 150 calories (not too mention the snacks on-hand at the bar), it’s easy to end up with serious calorie overload.

Why the belly? You can thank your genetics and masculinity for that. Unlike women who store fat on their hips/bum, men are genetically predisposed to store excess fat in their belly. Getting older is also bad news for your belly thanks to a natural drop-off in fat-burning hormones like testosterone and a decrease in activity levels.

But it’s not all bad news, transforming that keg into a six pack is easy with the right tools. Below I’ve broken down your beer-belly action plan into a trifecta of simple strategies and lifestyle components. Get each of one right and that beer gut won’t stand a chance. In the meantime we trust you’ll lay of the beer, or at least substitute in a lighter alternative.

Gut Punch #1: Mind Gains

A simple scale is the key to fat loss. Balance the two sides of the scale and your body-fat percentage stays the same. A swing to right hand-side where you expend more calories than you take in through your diet will cause your body to seek out and burn fat while the flip side will cause you start piling on the pounds.

But before you slap a padlock on your fridge and wear-out your runners, consider this. The ticket to permanent gut reduction doesn’t start with starving yourself. While you may lose weight at first, fasting actually decreases the activity of the enzymes that release fat from the cells. What’s more, the only thing you’ll lose with of endless bouts of long, boring cardio is your motivation.

Gut punch #2: Get moving

Getting active plays a pivotal role in whipping your belly into shape. But, it doesn’t have to involve the mind-numbing thought of grinding away on the treadmill for hours. If you’re just starting out, the main goal is just to get moving a few times a week. Get out and go for a walk, hit the beach, the park – anything that gets your heart pumping. This will give your metabolism a healthy boost and help burn off the booze. Keep it up and you’ll quickly gain confidence and improve your fitness level. From there, you can then add in more advanced principles, like interval training, to accelerate your results. You can tap into these benefits any way you want – cycling, jogging, skipping – whatever your style.

Gut punch #3: Hit the weights

Your muscles are your body’s own built-in natural fat burners, so take advantage of them by pumping some iron. If the only curls you’ve done recently is with a beer can in your hand, don’t worry. You don’t need to lift heavy or get caught-up in fancy techniques to reap the benefits. All you need is a pair of adjustable dumbbells, even your own body-weight will do.

To get the most bang for you buck, don’t bother with ab exercises, like the crunch. Stick with compound, multi-joint exercises, including press up’s, dips, squats, lunges, pull up’s and chest presses. These exercises use large amounts of muscle, which helps burn more belly fat both during and after your workout and stimulate the production of testosterone and human growth hormone – 2 potent fat burners. Aim for a couple of 1/2hr workout sessions a week to start out before gradually increasing intensity, frequency and exercise difficulty.

Beer belly couch-blaster workout: Exercise burns calories and increases lean muscle mass which increases your resting metabolic rate. But who’s got time the time? After all, working out is hard and who wouldn’t rather spend time chilling out watching TV at home.

Well, now you can do both! Here’s a creative 15 minute full body workout from Peter Carvell that you can do from your couch at home. There’s never been a better excuse to watch the game. Simply use halftime as your workout-window, grab some healthy fat burning snacks and watch your belly shrink!

You can do the workout as often as you like, though if you’re just starting out 2-3 times a week is great. If you struggle to keep pace, simply adjust the difficulty by decreasing the number of sets and reps and increasing the rest period. Finally, if you struggle with any of the movements, use easier variations (i.e. for the elevated, single-leg push-up, just perform a standard push-up off the floor).

Gut Punch #4: Eat right

If you follow to the principles above but remain a few cans shy of a six-pack, the choices you make inside and outside the kitchen may be sabotaging your success. To help you get your diet on track, just follow this advice; you’ll quickly discover that everything else is just details.

Instead of giving you the usual riff about counting calories, one of the fastest ways to lose fat is to cut back (not out) on sugar. Excess sugar makes you fat, plain and simple, so steer clear of the usual suspects – processed goods, soda/energy drinks and alcohol. The leftovers from this sugar embargo – lean meats, fresh fruits & vegetables, whole grain bread, rice & high fiber cereals – should form the backbone of your eating plan.

What’s more, with these natural, healthy food sources, you’ll quickly discover that cooking for yourself not only provides the self assurance of using fresh & healthy ingredients, but the gateway to keeping your gut in check – for good.

Don’t cut the fat: Not only is enforcing a total fat restriction in your diet impractical, it’s the fastest way to deflate your motivation. After all, fat keeps you feeling full and adds flavor. Remember, your body doesn’t discriminate between high fat & low fat diets, rather it focuses on total caloric intake and stores/burns fat accordingly.

So while this doesn’t give you the excuse to fill up on fast-food every night of the week, it does leave you free to splurge occasionally and enjoy the healthy fats found in natural oils (olive & avocado) and protein sources (meat, fish and dairy).