Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Six Pack Abs! How to Get Them and Why They are Terrible for You. Part 1.

Nothing feeds the Fitness Monster more than the relentless journey most of the teenage to twenty-something year old population have embarked upon; gettin' ripped, brah!

So... when the chicks ask them how they got those awesome six packs, they can say: "Yea, me and my boy did countless numbers of weird body contortions on the floor together... shirtless... in awkwardly matching hot-pant style athletic shorts... and for some reason, we completed all of our sets in complete silence."

In their defense, they are all ripped up, right? Out of curiosity, I checked out the P90x diet plan. I am sitting here at 275lbs and about 18% bodyfat (checked via ultra-sound in a clinical physiology lab) and that diet plan told me to only eat 1,800 calories a day and keep my serving of protein to 3oz per meal. Also, it told me to only have 1 serving of carbohydrates a day for the first "Fat Shredder" phase of the diet. If I followed this advice, not only would I get shredded, I'd get dead. This is ridiculous. So, here is a brief summary of P90X: Roll around violently on the floor for 10-20 minutes a day, borderline starve yourself, don't eat any carbohydrates, and in 90 days your insulin sensitivity will be so out of whack, the next time you see a box of cereal, you will go into a diabetic coma.

Diets like this put your body into a ketogenic state. Ketogenic is just fancy-talk for tricking your body into thinking you are starving to death so it eats up every available energy source you have stored away. Once the carbs are all gone, all thats left are fats and when they are all gone, protein. A process called gluconeogenesis converts fats and protein into keytone bodies that are carbohydrate-like and can be used as energy. But, you might think, if you are using protein for energy, how can you build muscle like all those d-bags say they do on the P90x commercial? You can't. Everybody has abs. Some people have more fat blocking the view than others. If you are starving, and your body eats all your fat as a means of simply surviving in a fasted state, you will magically have abs. You will also magically be closer to death. If the claims are true, and these "high intensity workouts" are burning 1,000 calories, which they very well could be, then that would only leave 800 calories to get through the rest of your day. Most literature suggests that you need 1200 calories just to make sure all of your bodies systems are working properly. That number is assuming you lay down all day and don't participate in shirtless Ab Ripper X sessions with your bro.

I got on a little bit of a rant so I am going to make this in 2 parts. Part 2 will consist of why everything those guys do in that video is stupid and will list exercises that aren't stupid. Not only will they not be stupid, they will make you a more efficient human being in regards to the movement patterns involved in how our musculature is supposed to function. Also, I might even put in some dieting stuff that won't:
1. make you feel terrible while you exercise and/or function in daily life and,
2. kill you eventually.

In the meantime, thanks for reading and don't forget to sprint after something, kill it, and eat it today.

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