Ask An Expert: Tommy/Maria: How Can I Get Flat Abs Through Diet/Exercise?
Q: Hello Tommy/Maria: I am 5 feet 8 inches tall and weigh 170 pounds (77kg). I am a Wrestler and I practice wrestling 4 times a week and on top of that, I work out 6 days a week and i eat healthy 70% of the time and I'm a vegetarian. I have a belly. Can u help me please and tell me what else I can do to get flat abs? And can u please tell what should I eat for protein as I am a vegetarian and I can't eat any kind of meat and eggs? Thank you, Ravi
Answer from Tommy Europe:
Hi Ravi, thank you for your question, Maria and I will attack your problem from both the fitness and nutrition sides. I know it must be frustrating to work so hard and not reach your goals, but, don’t despair because that can all be changed with a few simple fixes. Your situation in particular highlights the need for following a balanced diet along with proper exercise prescription. Wrestling takes a lot of stamina, strength and balance. And to be successful at it in the long run will require you to fuel your system correctly. I’m sure Maria has some great insight for you, so I’ll leave the rest of the nutrition expertise to her.
Once you have your nutrition down you will have to get down to business on the training side. At first glance of your situation, here’s what sticks out to me…4 wrestling practices a week + 6 days a week working out = a classic case of overtraining! I can almost guarantee that if you re-jig your diet so that is provides you with the essential proteins, carbohydrates, fats and nutrients that you need (and it will be a little different because you are a vegetarian, who cannot eat any meat or eggs), and reduce your training workouts to 4 days per week, you will be successful in achieving the goals that you desire. Your body needs time to heal and recover from your workouts, and by pushing it to the max, all of the time, you are not giving it any time for recovery.
Following a healthy diet 70% of the time is not enough, given your current training schedule. If you are not doing any high intensity interval training, then you should be; it will help to battle the bulge in your belly. If you focus on overall approach to functional training, you will get stronger, leaner and also make your workouts more efficient. Focus on full body and core exercises to reach your goals, if you need some assistance with exercise prescription, you should go visit a trainer to change things up a bit.
It’s not the amount of time you spend in the gym; it’s about the intensity that you work at, and the exercises that you choose. Some power lifting moves such as cleans, and snatches will also make you more powerful on the wrestling mat!
The bottom line is that you need to work smarter, not necessarily harder. Keep checking in to tommyeurope.tv and sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter, it is filled with workout & nutrition tips to assist you in your journey.
Although your main concern is flat abs, if you follow the advice of Maria and myself, you will achieve a lot more, so focus on the big picture. Good luck and continue to pin ‘em down!
Play safe and have fun,
Written by: Tommy Europe, host of The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp and Bulging Brides
For more information, check out http://www.tommyeurope.tv/
Check out previous health related Ask An Expert blogs written by Tommy Europe!
Answer from Maria Thomas:
Hi Ravi: You may have heard that if you cut back on carbohydrates, that may help reduce your 'belly' however, being vegetarian means that your diet is going to be primarily carbohydrate based. Make sure that the carbohydrate foods you are consuming are high fibre-whole grain breads and cereals, ideally 5 grams of fibre per serving. Minimum fibre per serving is 2 grams.
Fibre will help satisfy you after eating much longer than if the food is low in fibre, and can therefore help curb appetite and keep you from consuming more calories than your body needs. Refined carbohydrates also trigger the need for more insulin by the body, which may be associated with weight gain in the abdomen.
Here are a few vegetarian sources of protein to get you started:
Nuts & nut butters
Beans, peas & lentils
Dairy-cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt
Yours in health,
Nutrition Expert for The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp
Check out other health/diet related articles written by Maria Thomas!
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