How to Sculpt a Flat Belly Lesson 10: Your Flat Belly Cheat Sheet

Welcome to the tenth and final lesson of this course.  If you haven’t read the other nine articles, this one won’t make much sense, so click here to start from the beginning.  

I have no new information to teach you today.  Instead, I want to recap what I’ve covered so far, in the form of a cheat sheet that you can refer to in order to quickly refresh your memory of everything you learned in this course. 

Flat belly = 70% diet, 20% exercise, 10% lifestyle and other factors

Diet

3800 calorie deficit to lose 1 pound of fat

Max rate of fat loss- up to 3% of bodyweight per week for obese people, down to .3% of bodyweight per week for ultra-lean people.  About 1% of bodyweight per week for the average person. 

Eat 3-4 meals per day, 3-6 hours apart.  4 meals maximizes muscle growth.   

Protein- at least .8 grams/day/pound of bodyweight spread evenly across your meals.

Fat- at least .4 grams per pound of bodyweight per day. 

Carbs- no minimum requirement, use to fill out your calories as desired.  Eat most of your carbs at night and post-workout.

Calorie cycling- after weight-training workouts, the next 2 meals should have about twice as many calories as other meals.

Vegetables- eat as many as you can, ideally with every meal.

Exercise

Use a variety of movements to work the various ab muscles. 

Sample exercises: front plank, captain’s chair, slow myotatic crunch, bicycle crunch, twisting crunch, Swiss ball crunch, side plank, side bend, ab suction

Avoid crunches where feet are anchored- these work quads more than abs.

To spot-reduce abs, do 15-20 minutes of ab work, then 20-30 minutes of cardio using both upper and lower body (swimming, elliptical, ergometer).  Eat only a little protein pre- and post-workout.

Sample Ab Workout

A1) Front plank, 3 sets to failure

A2) Dumbbell side bends, 3 sets of 8-12 per side

A3) Swiss ball twisting ab crunch, 3 sets to fatigue

B1) Side plank, 2 sets per side to failure

B2) Slow myotatic crunch with dumbbells in hand, 2 sets of 8-12

B3) Captain’s chair, 2 sets to failure

C1) Ab suction on hands and knees, 2 sets of 10-12

C2) Bicycle crunches, 2 sets to failure

D) Elliptical machine, 30 minutes at a steady pace.  Raise the resistance and use your arms as well as your legs.

Lifestyle

Sleep 8-9 hours a night on a regular schedule.  Don’t let sleep/wake times vary by more than an hour.

Reduce stress to keep cortisol low.  Five techniques for stress reduction:

-Sleep more

-Meditate

-Work hard, play hard

-Quit caffeine

-Remove sources of stress from your life

Reduce bloating to make your belly flatter (and feel better)

Avoid the following foods:

-Wheat (except sourdough bread)

-Legumes (unless soaked and drained)

-Alcohol, especially beer

-Large amounts of caffeine

-Mangoes, apples, pears, peaches, plums, watermelons, and nectarines

-Asparagus, artichokes, onions, beetroot, leeks, garlic, celery, and sugar snap peas

-Milk products that contain lactose, and possibly also casein

Lose water weight to temporarily look leaner

-Cut out salt

-Cut out carbs

-Reduce but do not totally eliminate water intake

-Use diuretics (mainly dandelion extract, but also caffeine and alcohol) to shed water

-Perform a glycogen depletion workout like the one given above

And that’s it.  That’s everything you need to sculpt a flat belly- and even grow the full set of sicpack abs, if you want to.

Well, everything other than maybe a coach/trainer, if you want that.  In that case, take a look at my coaching plans.