Of course we would all love a six pack but that’s not always possible. Some people are gifted with the genetics that leaves them naturally lean and more inclined towards the very fine muscular definition that provides the wondrous sight of a six pack, for us mere mortals however it takes just a little bit more hard work!
It is important to realise that we all have a six pack its just that for most of us its hidden under the results of our over indulgence or poor eating habits. If you are trying to get in shape and tone up you must remember that all the crunches in the world will not lose that extra fat around the middle if you’re not eating the right foods in the right proportions.
Diet is so often overlooked by people trying to get in shape but it is without a doubt the most important factor in your health, your vitality and your body shape.
Here are the six ingredients you need to make the perfect body.
1. Water and lots of it. You need six to eight glasses a day to stay hydrated, more if you exercise or drink coffee and tea. If your one of the many people who finds it hard to drink enough water then try drinking diluted juices and fruit or herbal teas. Be aware people often mistake their thirst for hunger and so snack instead of hydrating themselves and remember also that your body needs water for a multitude of metabolic tasks, so to keep your metabolism ticking along you need to drink up!
2. Protein. Aim to eat protein regularly throughout the day, ensuring each meal contains some protein to help keep the body in an anabolic state. When the body is in an anabolic state it is building muscle and keeping your metabolism high –vital for fat burning! Try to choose lean organic meats and poultry where possible. Eggs and fish are good protein sources and for vegetarian alternatives switch to quinoa, tofu, beans, cheese or seed vegetables such as peas, green beans or broccoli.
3. Vegetables provide you with all the vitamins and minerals a body needs to work at its best. They are also filling and yet are low in fat. Eat raw vegetables such as salads wherever possible and strive to eat as many different coloured vegetables to give the body all the necessary anti-oxidants. The best vegetables overall are dark leafy green vegetables and you need to eat four to five portions of fresh vegetables daily.
4. Complex Carbohydrates. Steer clear of high GI sources such as white bread and white rice which leave your blood sugar levels plummeting after a short period and are likely to leave you feeling tired and hungry. Aim for wholegrain alternatives such as brown rice, whole grain bread or pasta which supply you with a more steady release of energy. If you are looking to loose weight then you need to curb the amount of processed carbohydrates in your diet.
5. Fruit Snacking on fruit throughout the day can help keep your energy levels high and provides you with plenty of fibre. Fruit however is a source of sugar so always choose whole fruits over squeezed juices which cause a sugar rush and provide none of the benefits of the fibre you get from whole fruit. Aim to eat 1 to 2 portions of fresh fruit daily minimising high glycemic fruits such as pineapple, bananas and grapes while regularly eating berries to take advantage of their high levels of anti-oxidants.
6. Fats Yes believe it or not you need fats to help you loose weight and to maintain your health but these are not the fats found in mars bars or your local chippers take away food. Look to gain your healthy fats from fatty fishes such as mackerel, herring, sardines or salmon. Add a tablespoon daily of ground seeds or cold pressed seed oil to your salad as dressing and don’t be afraid to eat a handful of healthy mixed nuts now and again.