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Groom Fitness: The Abs Diet
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"Forget dinner and diamonds," one recent bride said to her groom. "Lose ten pounds around the waist and good things will come!" Grooms have plenty of time to work on their six-pack prior to a 2008 wedding. GroomGroove.com suggests reading our Get Fit Groom guide and picking up a copy of David Zinczenko's The Abs Diet, a New York Times Best Seller.
With its bright orange cover and big black letters, surely grooms have seen The Abs Diet hanging around their local bookstore. Written by David Zinczenko, editor-in-chief of Men's Health Magazine, the book bills itself as a "six-week plan to flatten your stomach and keep you lean for life." That last part - for life - lends itself well to a groom getting ready for wedding day. Getting married is a lifestyle change for grooms, and the premise behind The Abs Diet is to stay fit and healthy over your lifetime. The book puts heavy emphasis on eating differently - changing the foods you currently eat and the number of times you eat each day.
12 Power Foods
The book explains the concept of "12 Power Foods" - foods that you probably don't eat (or eat enough of) but should, as their consumption promotes all sorts of good things (including weight loss and muscle gain). Grooms will have to buy the book to get the goods on all 12 Power Foods, but there are several foods on the list of 12 Power Foods that taste great and you may never have thought of eating.
For example, almonds are at the top of the list (and not the ones that are smoked with "hickory" and salted). The book explains why almonds and nuts are a power food (high in protein and good fat), what they help fight against (obesity and heart disease) and other nuts or foods that act as a complement or alternative (in this case, sunflower seeds and avocados). Packed with this kind of information in an easy to read format, a groom can make small adjustments to his diet to make big gains.
Eat More Frequently Every Day
With a solid basis in science, the book counsels you to eat six meals per day, instead of the usual three meals. The point is to keep your metabolism firing on all cylinders throughout the day, rather than in binge periods every couple of hours. For example, if you're the type of guy who eats a big breakfast, skips lunch and then gorges on dinner, you're likely to be packing a spare tire. In the intervening hours between your breakfast and dinner, your body is starved of food. Accordingly, you'll eat dinner very quickly and eat a lot of it. In fact, you'll eat more than you would ever eat if you snacked on yogurt, an avocado or even a handful of nuts a couple of times a day.
The Abs Diet Versus the Rest
Of particular interest is a chapter that considers the other diet books that abound, including the Atkins Diet, Weight Watchers, The Zone, Sugar Busters, the South Beach Diet and even Dr. Phil's diet. In the words of the author, these diets fail because they "reduce calories too severely, restrict too many foods and they don't take into account lifestyle."
The main advantage of the book is that it takes your lifestyle into account. You may not have several hours each week to plan your meals or be able to spend much time on the cardio machine or lifting weights. However, there are plenty of suggestions in the book on how to replace the things you might ordinarily reach for at the dinner table or restaurant with healthy and equally great tasting alternatives.
This doesn't mean forgoing chips in favor of Brussels sprout. Rather, it means chowing down (in moderation) on Tostitos Natural Yellow Corn Chips instead of Frito Lay Sour Cream n' Onion. Instead of Skippy peanut butter (which is high in salt, sugar and hydrogenated fats, buy "just peanuts" peanut butter (it tastes the same and is dramatically better for you.)
Abs Diet Exercises
The book also contains a detailed section on suggested exercises, and the first thing to notice is that only a small portion is devoted to the abdominals themselves. The reason for this is basic science. The book suggests that you to build your largest muscle groups such as your legs, back, chest and shoulders, which will burn more fat. The book contains a chapter on 50 ways to work out your abs, many of which will be new to you.
As explained in the book, a one-pound increase in muscle mass forces your body to burn an additional 50 calories every day. Zinczenko clearly wasn't thinking Arnold Swazzenegger, but David Beckham, here. The point is to get lean, not huge with a layer of fat. You'll notice that the models in the book use realistic weights and look like fit, normal people…the kind of groom your bride would love to call her own.[Page 1 of 1]
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