A Formula That Works Wonders for Fat Loss
By PAT FLYNN
The secret to ripped abs isn't so mysterious. People come to me and ask, "What is the best kettlebell program for ripped abs," and I tell them the same thing every time: broccoli. The best ab exercise is broccoli.
Then they say, "But what does that even mean?" And so I explain that no matter how good your exercise program is, fat will cling to your body if you're not eating the right things.
That's the barest truth, and there's no way to dress it up and make it look any more pleasant than that. Diet is the ugliest and single most essential element to fat loss.
I find that kettlebells (along with a great diet) can be a great way to get abs of steel. My primary point is that if you want to get leaner, get stronger. Because conventional cardio (by which I mean moderate-intensity aerobics) is to fitness what an English riding saddle is to a rhinoceros -- which is to say a nuisance and not very useful.
What first got me (as well as most of my clients) a respectable set of abs -- and what has since kept them around -- is a most simple formula. It goes:
1. Heavy Strength Training: 4 to 5 days per week
2. Metabolic Conditioning: 1 to 2 days per week
3. Brisk Walking: As much as possible
The secret here is no secret at all. Four to five days per week you pick five big lifts and do them. One possible arrangement might be as follows:
* Military Press
* Front Squat
* Single-Leg Deadlift
* Hanging Leg Raise
I recommend doing 10 reps a day on each lift. These reps have to be heavy to be effective. One day do two sets of five as heavy as you can. The next day do five sets of two, as heavy as you can. Then 10 sets of one, then one set of 10 -- all as heavy as you can. By switching up the set and rep scheme, the intensity will be varied as a result and stop you from burning yourself out.
Then, one to two days per week you do the nasty stuff: metabolic conditioning. Because for the gross business of getting abs, you need to brave the things that are the most unpleasant and wicked; and by the time you're done, you should feel all-over sweaty and exhausted. That's how you know you've got it close to right.
For this, do sprints or circuit training or kettlebell complexes like the one in the video below. A simple 20-minute session will do. Make it short and intense; vigorous and concise.
Press "play" to see the video of this sequence.
Lastly, we come to fitness walking, or brisk walking. What's cool about brisk walking is that it burns tons of fat and virtually zero muscle. It also promotes recovery and is fun -- not nearly as miserable as running on a treadmill. This you can and should do as much as you want, but the minimum effective dose is 20 minutes a day.
Readers -- I hope you use this formula and get awesome results. If you have any questions or need any clarification, drop a note to me via Twitter or Facebook (via the links below), and let's chat.
Pat Flynn is an author, blogger, fitness minimalist, 7th degree black belt and founder of ChroniclesOfStrength.com, a blog on fitness minimalism. He is also chief contributor to The Chronicles Of Strength Inner Circle -- a monthly newsletter, and author of "Paleo Workouts for Dummies" and "Fast Diets for Dummies" (Wiley, 2013).