So, you want six-pack abs, huh? Let me start by saying, ANYONE can get a six-pack. That's right. There's no such thing as an evil "fat gene" that's preventing you from sporting a sexy beach body. There's only the wrong types of food staring evilly at you from the store shelves. And there's a super diet designed by mother nature herself that can burn the fat off the world's fattest midsection if followed properly.
Allow me to introduce KETOSIS, or, as I like to call it, PK, paleo-keto.
How does it work?
Your body usually uses glucose from food for energy. When there isn't enough glucose from food in your blood, your body starts burning atored fat to get glucose from your triglycerides; this results in ketones building up in your body, because ketones are a by-product of this process. When your blood ketones are 0.5–3.0 mmol/L, you are officially in ketosis.
What are the benefits?
1) Burn body fat faster than on any other diet.
2) Feel full while in a caloric deficit; fatty foods quickly bring satiety.
3) Feel energized throughout the day; no more sugar crashes.
4) Build muscle while burning fat. While in a caloric deficit. Yes, it IS possible (more on that later).
5) Increase HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).
6) Improve cardiovascular health.
How do I follow PK?
1) STOP eating this: any and all grains and grain products, pasta, rice, candy, fast food, and most types of fruits. Basically, you want to keep your net carbs at 50 grams per day or lower. What are net carbs? They are the carbs that have an impact on your blood sugar level. That is, Total Carbs minus Insoluble Fiber when it comes to nutritional labels. Your net carbs should all ideally come from non-starchy veggies such as spinach, lettuce, etc. so that you get enough vitamins while in ketosis.
2) START eating this: healthy fats and protein, such as eggs, beef, poultry, venison, pork, fish and seafood, avocados, tree nuts, seeds, olives, coconut meat. All athletes (weightlifters and bodybuilders especially) should keep their protein intake anywhere from .9 to 1.3 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. The true keto, which is 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbs is NOT for those who lift.
3) Maintain a 300-400 caloric deficit to safely burn fat without burning muscle.
But how do I know what foods contain what?
There are many great sites/apps that tell you everything you need to know. Personally, I like FatSecret. It's a great resource that provides accurate nutritional info on thousands of different food items. Just click "Foods," type in the name of the food you want to learn more about, and you'll have several options to choose from.
But why paleo? Can't I get my net carbs from a sugar-free candy bar instead of spinach?
Sugar-free candy bars don't exist. Flip that candy bar over and read the nutritional label: does it say 40 grams sugar alcohols per serving? Sugar alcohols are metabolized just like regular sugars. They will very likely kick you out of ketosis by messing with your insulin.
What you can do to satisfy your sweet tooth, however, is make a protein smoothie. Grab some low-carb whey protein powder, blend with 6 fl oz coconut milk, 1-2 tbsp heavy cream, 3-5 mint leaves, and 2-4 frozen strawberries, then sweeten with stevia or splenda. Good reason to buy a blender if you don't already have one.
But how will I know whether I'm in ketosis?
The most certain method is to measure blood ketones with a specialized meter; your ketones should be 0.5–3.0 mmol/L.
Some people may also notice slight fatigue and bad breath for the first few days when switching to ketosis as their body adjusts to burning fat stores. These will go away, and you will find yourself more energized after you've adapted.
But how do I build muscle in a caloric deficit?
The fitness industry has overpopularized the idea that you need surplus calories to gain muscle mass. A high-fat diet gives you a great metabolic edge by keeping your insulin levels steady. Plus, if you're currently carrying sufficient body fat - i.e., you're NOT lean, and your abs are NOT showing - then you can use the energy from your body fat to build muscle. The secret lies in proper timing of protein consumption and intense weight training; train hard, 2-3 hours of lifting per workout, and consume 20-30 grams of protein every 2-3 hours. It is ideal to eat 40-50 grams of protein before bed to help your body build muscle. You also have to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night to maximize your results.
Okay, I got my six-pack; how do I maintain it? Does my maintenance diet also have to be keto?
No, it won't have to be keto. But it should be paleo or at least semi-paleo. Bring carbs back in the form of low-glycemic-index fruits, not ice cream. Avoid all processed foods. True, a diet coke won't mess up your achievements, because it really IS calorie-free. However, the chemicals in it won't do you much good in the long-term. Stick to lean meat, veggies, fish, etc. to maintain not just your abs, but peak health.
But I'm not a robot. I still want to indulge sometimes. What can I do to protect my six-pack?
Simple: let's say you went to a party, had a big meal, a slice of cake, and five beers. Just run a caloric deficit and keto for the next day or two to burn off whatever fat you may have stored.These mini-diets after the occasional party are much easier to handle than year-long diets after really letting yourself go for a while.
Well, that's pretty much it on paleo-keto. Make your journey to six-pack abs a smooth and easy one!