The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Getting Abs Won't Ruin Your Life...if you do it correctly.

Wow, what a first world problem.

Alrighty, it's getting to be that season. Summer shredding. Swim suit season. That beach bod. I have seen this a lot the past few years. Especially around this time of year, you start seeing the "How to get shredded for summer" or "6 pack abs in 6 weeks" and then to combat that, the "level headed" no ab havin people like to come out with counter articles called "how having a six pack can ruin your life." Well, if you go about it all stupid like, it sure can make it inconvenient, but ruin it?? Let's not get dramatic. 


Ol' Yeargain is on the lean train.


I almost called this post: "The right way to get a six pack before summer." But, meh...The way to do it is to have started, depending on your current body fat percentage, at least 12-16 weeks ago. If you're leaner, it's a lot less, if you're...uh, larger, it will be a lot more. For me, I was rocking nearly 30% body fat and it took me a year before I could see some pretty good definition in my bottom abs. I may have been able to see them sooner, but I don't enjoy self inflicted torture and I like to eat like a human during the holiday season. 

If you're looking to get them in 10 weeks or less and you're rocking above 15% body fat...be prepared to suffer. Depending on your current muscle mass, you could be in for one hell of a cut. You could theoretically increase your cardio dramatically, slice your calories to pieces, or follow an asinine program where it does it for you. Doing burpees until the sun goes down. Going about the process with absolutely no clue how you're going to achieve the end. You're practically begging to Yo-Yo into fat town with this crap. Especially for you fools that are getting "ripped" for beach summer vacations where you're gonna eat and drink yourselves stupid, eating all kinds of whacked out macros and putting yourself in the land of bloat come august.


This buds for you, fellas.

 
Occasionally I like to search the internet for fitness bull shit to entertain my funny bone. Just typing "6 pack" into google always incites laughter. 

Internet Idiots


Mike Chang:

I haven't doctored this photo at all...he's that puffy.

You guys have probably had a multitude of your internet videos either begin or be interrupted by this douche bag. He's got the most popular YouTube fitness channel. He's got millions of views, and it's because he's made the investment and done the advertising necessary to reach this level. However, this man is a complete idiot. If you're going to this man for information, you need to reconsider some things in your life. It just takes google and a discerning mind to find that he absolutely has no clue what he is talking about and that people are succeeding with his program despite it's idiocy. I'm confident that Mike Chang himself would probably be leaner if it was not for his program. But, I can't say that with confidence, I'm not here to debunk his program and go step by step explaining why it's dumb. I don't care enough to do so. However, I do know enough about the science to realize when I'm stepping in bull shit. You guys do whatever you like with your money, but if you're contemplating giving it to Mike Chang to get his patented Afterburn fuel (Scientifically proven: To work as it claims. From the University of Michigan, Bodybuilding.com and Mscle & Fitness. [LOL! You can't make this stuff up]) please just donate it to charity or a bum and drink some damn coffee before you go to the gym.


This guy:



This guy went from being a moderately skinny fat dude to being a really skinny dude. 153 pounds is SMALL. I can curl 150lbs. Plus, the method that he went about getting this small is the quintessential plan to set yourself up to puff up the next time you decide to actually enjoy food and life. 


"One thing I’ve learned about myself is that: I’M ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE AT MODERATION. I either go all out or nothing. so when it came to dieting, I went all-out
 I’ve never watched what I’ve eaten before, but I went on a incredibly strict-paleo diet. Traditionally, straight paleo would usually be considered only meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits and nuts. I did that and went even a little more overboard. I also cut out dairy, almost all nuts and most fruit (especially for the last 5 weeks) – and I’ve got the nutrition logs to prove it.

That left meat, vegetables and eggs. Over and over and over again. Let’s just say that I single handedly diminished the chicken population within a 10 mile radius of my house and ate broccoli like it was going out of style."


I can't help but shake my head at this. So, in order to get really skinny you stopped eating bread and sugar...and then dairy. Three things that are awesome and will actually HELP you get abs (I might address that in a later article.) So you can shrink down enough where you have to wear a size small t-shirt and weigh less than most women so you can see some abs. You, sir, did not ruin your life, you just put yourself into a situation where you have to buy a bunch of clothes from Kid's gap if you want to maintain your awkward diet, or be prepared to swing back up to 180 when you're ready to join the rest of modern day society.

Also, you don't need to be 5.4% body fat to see your abs. I'm questionably 10-11% body fat and I could start seeing my abs at 12%. Why? Because I actually had slabs of muscle on them, they weren't bird muscles showing underneath a thin piece of skin. I put in some heavy resistance work and made them grow, now my reward is being fatter and still seeing ab lines. If I was 5.4% body fat, I would be tanned up, in bikini briefs about to step out onto a body building stage. There is no other reason to be that lean, and it's pretty much unsustainable unless you have a large amount of muscle, you have a fast metabolism or you are on some clenbuterol. (That's a steroid, by the way.)

He did this without a gym. Which, is fine I guess, nobody ever said you needed a gym to lose weight, but weight training is by far the most efficient way in creating a body that will require a great deal more calories (more food) to sustain and thus allow you to keep your newly obtained physique whilst living a normal life style.

"we created a bodyweight circuit routine that required almost zero equipment. In fact, the only two items you need besides yourself are a pull-up bar (also  known as a tree branch, jungle gym bar or anything else you can pull yourself up on) and a jump rope which costs less than $10 and fits in your back pocket. Both pieces of equipment are optional (you can makeshift your own pull up bar and jump plenty on your own without a rope), so you can do all the workouts involved in the program even if you don’t have them.
As proof, here’s the complete list of exercises I did throughout the entire program:

  • Pushups
  • Burpees
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Jumping Lunges
  • Pullups
  • Body Rows
  • Plyometric Pushups
  • Sprint intervals
  • Jumprope intervals"

What's troubling is that he could have actually applied some progressive overload to some of these things and gotten some better results. Like, more muscle, more ab definition. Weighted pull ups and push ups can build one hell of a strong body. Hell, you could have even had incredible results with JUST a bar. Look at these guys:


Again, not my style of training, but whatever get's you the results you want. These guys at least believed in the long over arching journey and made a life and a living out of it. Their work ethic is nothing short of insane, and it's represented on every inch of them.

Even then, this insinuates that you need to drive your body into the ground and work your ass clean off to achieve something like abs. It's simply not true. It's one way to go about it, but not the only way. You should only train like that if it's something you absolutely LOVE to do and you would do it regardless of the physical alterations. If your goals are purely aesthetic and the idea of lifting makes you sad, then dammit, don't lift two hours everyday like me. You don't have to. You can workout 30-45 mins a day and get great results if your diet is on point. It's very much a reality.


 Why I'm writing about this.


What stirred this was me trying to find an article I read about a year ago called "How getting a 6 pack ruined my life."...or something like that...I cannot find it anymore, I really wish I could because it highlighted exactly what is wrong with this quick fix programs and the like. 

He talked about how he signed up for a contest or a test program...or some shit that would get him a 6 pack. He did the program, got the results, did the photo shoot, and because he had restricted so much and had no clue what to do after the process was finished, he lost his 6 pack fairly quickly. He was mad, pissed and quickly resumed back to a lifestyle that was not conducive to looking the way he wanted, and thus it was stuck in his mind that to look that way you have to give up a lot of things in your life and suffer, and when you stop doing these activities you will lose all of your hard work.

*UPDATE*


Alright, it's way more asinine that I originally thought.
"
I celebrated right after my photo shoot with a burger and two frozen custards. It was raining. And I was struck by how only one person was around to share that moment with me. I was supposed to be celebrating some kind of triumph, a really special once-in-a-lifetime physical and personal achievement. But nobody from Greatist really wanted to hang out with me. None of my best friends wanted to be around the six-pack me. I ate the frozen treats with one hand while holding an umbrella in the other and talked with a buddy about a personal relationship that just ended. Then I went home alone, and for three hours I felt sicker than I thought possible.

Side Note: You have terrible friends. During my cheat days (which I no longer indulge in) my friends would all be there to watch my self destruction. They ate stuff they liked and laughed as I ate half the restaurant. I ate over 15,000 calories during my buddies bachelor party and he loved every second of it.

I lost the six-pack in a matter of days. I spent the next two months eating more or less everything I looked at and returned to my normal, cheerful self. (Literally, I even ate a 7-Eleven Big Bite hot dog just because I could.) My team and friends stopped avoiding me. I could eat guacamole and chips again (even after 9pm!). The article series did really well, even receiving positive press coverage that didn’t try to muck up the message. At the time, I felt the sacrifice was justified.

Things I continue to struggle with:

  • Rule-Making. Making healthy choices has always been challenging for me, but it’s only become harder since the #absperiment did a number on my self-control. When I’m presented with something I’ve never really wanted in the first place, I literally think, “C’mon, it’s not like I’m still on the #absperiment.” For example, I’ve never really particularly liked muffins. But holy sh!t have I eaten so many mediocre bran muffins in the last year or so. Setting rules for myself, ones I genuinely want to follow, has always been an incredibly powerful tool I’ve used to make healthier choices. But after the #absperiment, I just can’t seem to convince myself to stick to anything, and it scares me a little. Maybe a lot-tle.
You lost self control over the whole of your life because of six weeks of restriction? My god, man. You have the will power of a toddler.
  • Food As Reward. Since the #absperiment, I’ve treated food as a reward to an extent I never have before. I’m not sure I really deserve ice cream, candy, and French toast for a tough day at the office. (It’s too bad hitting inbox zero burns zero calories.) Sometimes I want some delicious things, and that’s cool. Sometimes I do think I deserve it, especially when sharing something indulgent to celebrate or to commiserate over tough times. But alone? And not just one pint of ice cream, but three, because I accidentally misspelled someone’s name in an email? After just six weeks of treating healthy food as punishment and indulgences as forbidden fruit, the way I look at food has been profoundly affected. Unfortunately, I’ve spent a year trying to snap out of that mind frame without much success.
Food as a reward is by far the worst thing a person can do to their diet. It's like making sex a reward in a weird fucked up marriage. If you want it, you have it. You make it part of your day. I'm talking about both right now.
  • Body Image. The third thing — and probably the worst of all — is how my post-#absperiment mindset has affected the way I view my body. Even though I’ve struggled with weight on and off for most of my life, I’ve always been a pretty confident guy no matter the number on the scale. And I’ve come to terms with the size that makes me happiest. During the #absperiment, I wasn’t happy at 180 pounds, even though I’d never been so lean and skinny before. But every morning I’d look in the mirror and literally take a picture, watching what progress I made and mentally comparing myself to the day before. Relative to where I was those last few days, my reflection today looks positively fat. And I’m not remotely overweight! I’m actually pretty athletic and, depending on my nutrition week-to-week, I’m right around where I want my weight to be, where my healthy is. But I’m objectively nearly 30 pounds heavier! It’s been terrifically tough to stop judging my own body when I have such an extreme point of comparison."

There isn't a single "Right" thing about this article. In fact, it almost reads like a "be ye warned" to me. That you have to live in the realm of sacrifice and find pleasure in that to obtain the physical results you want. It's not the physique that causes these psychotic symptoms, it's the the idiotic means in which a person will go about obtaining them.

I don't mean to be "mean" or to pick on this guy, but I have to use his words and his thoughts as example. I thought the same way as him as little as 6 months ago. I thought that in order to get the physique I wanted that I was going to have to drive my body into the ground with punishing exercise, I was going to have to cut my calories to smithereens, and that I knew someday I was going to have to accept myself getting fat again. BULL SHIT. There is literally nothing you cannot accomplish, and that means having visible abs.


A year ago on the left, a week ago on the right. (April 28, 2014)



"See! Getting a six pack ruins people's lives!!!!"


 

As a guy that has more or less acquired himself some abs in the past few months, I can tell you with full confidence that people with 4 packs, 6 packs, and 8 packs aren't all suffering each and every moment of their lives, looking at food and crying and dieing on the inside. There are lots of people who have set the ground work to make having visible abs fairly manageable with flexible dieting and complete understanding of what it entails to diet correctly. I consider myself one of them.


An up close and personal look. Multiple angles gives you a more realistic idea.




Why the 6 week fix is bull shit.


I'm just going to say this: Anything worth having for more than a hot minute should take longer than 6 weeks. That's not true for everything, but with something like your body, the thing that you live with every second of every fucking day, if you're going to make an investment to look the way you want to, do yourself a favor and invest more than a month and a half towards something. If you don't care enough to do it, then fuckin don't. We live in a quick fix society and the minute we can't have what we want RIGHT THIS SECOND, we flip our shit. I can't count the amount of YouTube videos I've seen where fast food employees get physically attacked by customers because of something as stupid as having to wait an extra few minutes for fries or some shit. People try to pin this on the fast food company, when this goes way past that, it's a human behavioral issue. McDonalds french fries are fuckin tasty, our radical impatience is what is upsetting.



The Three step Method to 6 Pack Abs.

  • Weight Training with focus on Strength in the big compound lifts.
  • A diet that is flexible and allows you to enjoy foods that you love.
  • Consistency with Both.

That's all I'm going to say. I've talked extensively about how to get into better shape on this blog over and over. You can look through the numerous articles on this blog because all of them contribute towards being the strongest, leanest version of yourself. The most athletic, healthy and fuckin sexiest version of yourself you want to be.

That's all for now, hit me up if you've got questions.


I can't get out of saying the "F word" one more time.

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