6 minute abs, 7 minute abs, 8 minute abs… the list goes on. Who decides how many minutes it will take to get abs anyway?
First, let’s get one thing straight: Everyone has abs, whether they can see them or not. They aren’t something you get, like a car or a bad case of syphilis. So technically, getting abs should take how ever long it took to make you. Hmm maybe that’s where the 6 minutes comes from.
Either way, these “quick abs” programs are going about the quest for the coveted six pack all wrong. The truth of the matter is that abs are made in the kitchen. Having a visible six pack is simply a matter of having a low percentage of fat. It really doesn’t matter how many crunches you do, if your nutrition isn’t on point and your body fat isn’t dropping, you won’t be able to see much definition. And no, doing ab workouts doesn’t burn fat exclusively from your midsection. When was the last time you saw anyone with a 6 pack who wasn’t lean everywhere else?
All this doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to achieve this goal with minimal time and effort, it just isn’t what you think. Oh, there will still be time and effort, but it will be minimal, but it actually works. The trick is meal planning, and if you do it right it takes about an hour. In this piece I’ll give you a brief introduction to effectively planning your meals to lose weight in a stress free fashion. The phrase that comes to mind is, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.
How it’s done
Schedule an hour at the beginning of the week to sit down and write out every meal you are going to eat for the week. This one hour of planning can have a huge effect on your nutrition. It leaves less up to chance and whim as well as eliminates things like,”I meant to eat healthy, but we only had junk food around the house”. Now, if planning the whole week sounds daunting, start small and plan only one meal per week at first. However, for the purpose of this blog I am going to discuss how to plan the whole week.
Prioritize your meal planning session. Put it in your calendar just as you would a workout. It’s much easier to put things off when we try to improvise. Then, go on your computer and start looking up healthy recipes that look tasty. The less variety you have the easier it will be to grocery shop, but make sure you don’t get bored. Plan out 80-90% of your meals and snacks this way. The rest will be free meals which I will discuss in a bit.
Once you have all of your recipes out in front of you, make a grocery list of the ingredients you need. After that it’s just a matter of following your own instructions. You have your meal plan to refer back to and you should have all the healthy ingredients you need to follow through with it.
Keep in mind that meal planning is a skill and requires practice to develop proficiency. That said, it’s a skill that is paramount when it comes to weight loss so it’s worth your time. At first there will be hiccups(aww crap my broccoli went bad before I was scheduled to cook it!), just as with anything new, so don’t get discouraged and continue to learn from them.
I know this may sound like a lot of effort, but it’s not as much effort as trying to wing it when it comes to weight loss. An hour dedicated to your nutrition at the beginning of the week, makes the rest of the week a breeze as you will be able to put your nutrition on auto-pilot.
I don’t particularly like the phrase “free meal”, but I like it better than “cheat meal” and I haven’t thought of anything better. For the meal planning strategy to work, the concept of the free meal must be understood. A lot of people screw this up and end up sabotaging all the progress they made during their on-plan meals.
A free meal is a meal that consists of indulgent foods that aren’t good for weight loss when consumed in excess. Diets that are too strict are rarely successful because they’re too difficult to adhere to. Making your diet less restrictive can be help to ensure consistency as well as each moderation and sustainable nutrition. Preventing deprivation by allowing balance makes consistency much more feasible. In a free meal, the portion sizes stay the same, but the quality of the food shifts. So long as you are being honest about the 10% of free meals being around the 10% mark, this strategy will be successful. If I go out for a free meal and have dessert, I’ve had two free meals, regardless of whether or not it was in the same sitting.
How to screw up a free meal
Use it as an excuse to binge on junk food. Feeling like it’s a race to eat as much crap as possible because, “I have to eat back on plan next meal”. The goal here is to keep you on track over the long term by allowing for the occasional indulgence, which if you are honest about the percentage of your diet that consists of free meals, is very effective.
Whatever you do the most will have the greatest effect.
If I’m eating salmon and broccoli 90% of the time, eating cake 10% of the time isn’t going to stall my weight loss efforts. Eating cake 30% of the time and saying/thinking it’s 10% of the time will though.
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Curious about how it works? Fill out a super brief form here http://mortontrainingsystems.com and let’s set something up!