Well, That's One Way...
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How do I get a six pack has got to be one of the top questions asked on How to Box - so here is the answer...
You have probably noticed a lot of boxers with unbelievably ripped abs and you want a set too. Their six packs are literally bursting out there for all to see. And let's be frank, nothing says lean and healthy and is more attractive than a nice set of abs. Taking off your shirt can be a traumatic experience or it can be a moment to stick out from the crowd. It's no wonder that so many ab machines and gimmicks get marketed each day. Nice abs = big business.
Boxers, like bodybuilders, are masters at cutting fat off their body. They need the absolute maximum amount of muscle they can get and still remain in a certain weight class. That means there is no room for fat on their bodies. That plus the punishment of being hit in the stomach repeatedly means boxers naturally want to develop a really nice set of six pack abs (abs of steel).
I've got good news for you. You already have a six pack. If you didn't your stomach and guts would fall out all over the place. Take your fingers and push on your stomach. Feel the resistance? Your abs are in there somewhere and you were born with them. They are naturally formed into that six pack (actually eight pack) you want so bad.
Now, the hard part - but not impossible part.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is basically a way of living where you deny yourself food for a given period of time (fasting phase) and then break the fast and eat the bulk of your calories during a certain window. For instance, if I was to follow a 19/5 IF, I would not eat or drink anything but water for 19 hours of the day and then eat all of my calories in the five hour window that follows.
It really is a lifestyle, because you quite frankly have to change the way you live in order to do this. You won't be eating breakfast or lunch like "normal" people do - and 19 hours is a long time. You only spend about 8 of that sleeping, so one of the biggest challenges is finding something to do the rest of that time when you'd normally be preparing food, eating food, or thinking about what to eat.
Will Intermittent Fasting Improve Your Boxing and Training?
The ultimate goal of the nutrition information on How to Box is to ensure that what you eat and how you eat it is going to either improve your ability to box or improve you level of conditioning by supplying more energy, decreasing your bodyfat, or increasing your muscle. So, can intermittent fasting deliver in any of those areas?
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Hopefully you've noticed the optimal daily caloric requirement found in your account profile. If you haven't, you should visit your profile and get that number. It is an adjusted BMR that takes into account your level of activity and weight loss/muscle gain goals (if you specified them in your account profile).
With that number, this tool will help you determine the amount of protein, carbs, and fat necessary to achieve your goals. It outputs calories, grams, and grams/meal when you indicate how many meals a day you want to eat.
Following are three typical macronutrient ratios for different goals. You should start with one of them and then tweak your diet to find out works best for you. There is no one ratio that is going to work perfectly for everyone. Your body type is going to have a big say in what works best.
There is nothing magical about weight loss. As I've pointed out in the boxing nutrition part of the site, it all comes down to the number of calories you put in your mouth - the number you burn off in day. If it is a negative number (caloric deficit), you lose weight. If it is a positive number (caloric surplus), you put on weight.
So, if you're fat and not liking it, then you know what you have to do - burn calories or prevent them from entering your body in the first place. I think that has been made more than abundantly clear...
But, how long do you have to wait to start seeing results?
It's actually pretty simple. 1 lb of bodyfat is approximately 3500 calories. So, the quicker you create a deficit of 3500 calories, the quicker you are going to lose a pound.
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Don't get me wrong here, I believe the majority of sports supplements on the market are gimmicky wastes of money, but a protein supplement is one supplement that I believe has worth.
There are some people who lump protein supplements in with the rest of the supplement industry - as just another money grabbing product you don't really need sold by snakeoil salesmen. While I completely disagree based on personal experience and study, I feel it is important to present both sides of the story in an objective manner as possible so you can make up your own mind. All of the arguments for and against will be supported with published articles from sources such as the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which are available online if you wish to research further.
I am not going to differentiate between the various types of whey, soy, and other protein supplements, but rather establish the case for and against protein supplementation altogether.
The basic premise of the arguments against protein supplementation revolves around the belief that the human body does not require protein supplementation - that all protein required can be derived from regular foods obtained from eating a balanced diet. Those against protein supplementation believe it is a fallacy that more intense training demands an increase in protein consumption.
First, let's establish why you may want to consider consuming a protein powder.
If you are a healthy, adult male, are happy with your weight, and engage in moderate to high physical activity such as boxing 3-4 times a week you need about 2600-2700 calories a day. In accordance with the nutritional principles I mention elsewhere on this site, at times, up to 40% of that should be protein which equals about 285g of protein a day.
So, to consume 285g of protein a day, you would have to eat something like 4 chicken breasts, 7 cans of tuna, 48 eggs, 36 cups of milk -- get my drift. Not only would this be near impossible for you to do on a consistent basis, but think of the cost. I bought 2 chicken breasts for $7 yesterday. That's $14/day or $98 a week just on chicken. That doesn't take into account all the carbs and fats you need to consume as well.
So, how does a normal human manage to eat this much protein?
I have a confession.
I've been discriminating against egg yolks for years. Believing the egg white was the only healthy part of the egg, I've been dropping egg yolk after egg yolk down the drain. I would cringe as my friends and family dipped their toast in the yellow goo spilling out of their eggs.
I shudder to think how much time and nutrition I've wasted trying to pick every last speck of egg yolk out of my hard boiled eggs - when they would crumble and not separate from the whites nice and easy.
I'm ashamed of my part in promoting these lies about egg yolks.
Turns out - egg yolks have been getting a bad wrap. They aren't evil after all.
To all the yolks I've wronged - I'm sorry. And now it's time to set the record straight.
Weekends are evil for boxers and their training plans. Actually they are evil for anyone trying to control what they eat and train. While they are just like any other day of the week, there is something mystical about a weekend that has us all partying hard Friday night, sleeping in late on Saturday only to repeat the cycle again Saturday night and Sunday morning. It's a vicious war and the casualties are our training and nutrition.
The one bright spot, is that on occasion, you have a fight one of those nights which keeps you focused, but if you're not following the weekly routine on the weekend, you're going to end up cheating on your meal plan, skipping the gym, and overindulging in food, alcohol, and whatever else may be within reach.
So how do you mitigate the damage, while still ensuring you have a little fun in the process?