an interview by Geovanni Derice with Mike Geary – Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer
GD: Welcome Mike to our 4-ever-Toned Fitness Journal. For those who do not know you, please tell us a few things about yourself and how you can help our readers with their fitness and health.
MG: Thanks for having me, Geo. Well, to go back a little, I have been heavily involved in fitness and sports for about 17 years now, ever since I was a teenager. Being involved in sports in high school got me interested in strength training and conditioning.
At that point, once I started feeling more energetic, getting stronger, and looking better, I was instantly hooked for life. I’m 33 now and still addicted to the way living a healthy and fit lifestyle makes me feel energetic, confident, strong, and youthful on a daily basis.
I decided earlier in my 20’s that I wanted to make the commitment to help other people experience the excitement of being fit and getting in the best shape of their lives, especially since we’ve reached an epidemic of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, etc. That’s why I became a fitness professional. It just gives me so much satisfaction to help others, who have struggled for years to get in good shape, and show them that it can be done, and it can be fun in the process.
I’ve expanded over the years from just reaching local individuals with personal training, into being able to help people all over the globe achieve their fitness goals with the reach of the internet. I only hope that my passion for fitness inspires people to take action and improve how they look and feel for life.
GD: Now Mike, there’s so many things out there as to what works and what does not work… if you had to pick 3 things that work time and time again to get flat lean abs, what would they be?
MG: The first and most important thing to get control of in order to lose your belly fat and get flat abs is cleaning up your diet. Exercise is important, but your diet is king when it comes to losing body fat so that you can see your abs.
There’s so much confusion these days about what a healthy diet that promotes fat loss really is… after all, we are bombarded by conflicting messages in the media about what is healthy and what is not, and you have all of these gimmicky diet books about low carb, low fat, high protein, vegetarian, fasting, atkins, south beach, liquid diets, and hundreds more. There’s so much conflicting info, that the average consumer doesn’t even know where to start when it comes to eating for fat loss.
The second thing that works time and time again, is to focus on the intensity of your workouts and focus on working the body as a whole in order to get the best metabolic response to lose that stubborn stomach fat.
In order to really get lean, the workouts should have a high intensity, with short rest periods, working the largest muscle groups of the body, instead of trying to isolate specific small muscles like the biceps, triceps, or calves.
For the third thing, let’s talk about actually training the abs specifically. When it comes to training the abs, if you want real results, I always recommend forgetting about the crunches and situps for the most part. They are ok for someone that is really deconditioned, but most people that already have some training under their belt need a much better stimulus for their abs than crunches. Crunches are one of the abs exercises that actually provide the least amount of resistance, and remember that resistance is what develops and tones the muscles.
I provide a ton of great abs exercises in my book, but one of THE highest resistance exercises for the abs, is hanging leg raises (but NOT the way you see most people at the gym doing them). The key to doing these and actually working the hell out of your abs is to curl your pelvis up as you raise your legs. Almost nobody ever does this right. To be honest, the majority of people cannot do this at first, but I provide some strategies in my book as to how to progress to doing these correctly.
GD: What are people doing wrong when it comes to developing the coveted “6 pack abs”?
MG: Well Geo, I know this sounds funny to most people, but the MAIN thing that people are doing wrong to get those flat 6-pack abs is… are you ready for this?
They spend entirely too much time focusing on training their abs! WAY too much time spent on abs exercises. Sounds crazy, but it’s true.
Remember, having a flat and visible six pack of abs is all about getting down to a low body fat percentage. In order to do that, your workouts must focus on stimulating a fat burning hormonal environment in your body, and increasing your metabolic rate. That just does not happen when you focus too much time training a small muscle group like the abs.
Instead, you must use the majority of your time focusing on training the largest muscle groups of the body like the legs, back, and chest. That’s what stimulates your metabolism and the fat burning hormones that will get you truly lean and sporting a flat sixxer!
MG: When it comes to developing the abs themselves, I again refer to any kinds of hanging abs exercises, as well as some good floor abs exercises like lying leg thrusts (all described and illustrated in my book).
However, maximum definition in the abs and midsection comes from losing bodyfat, and the most effective exercises featured in my program for that goal are various forms of swings and snatches (unique dumbbell or kettlebell exercises that almost nobody ever does in normal gyms), squats, deadlifts, lunges, step-ups, clean & presses, mountain climbers, sprinting, and other full body exercises and calisthenics. If you want great looking flat abs, focus on those instead of focusing so much on training the abs directly!
GD: When it comes to diet Mike, people really have tried millions of ways to get one thing… and that is fat loss. What recommendations have you used to successfully help your clients lose body fat and keep it off?
MG: I have included a fully comprehensive discussion of this topic in my book, which accounts for almost half of the book, but I’ll try to make some nice simple generalizations to get people started on the right path immediately. The most important thing is that your diet is as natural and unprocessed as possible. It almost always comes back to the overprocessing of food that makes it unhealthy, and makes it totally wreck your metabolism and hormone balance in your body.
For example, why eat refined grains, when you can eat whole grains (even better are sprouted grains, as I usually recommend limiting grain foods overall for best results).
Why eat refined sugar, when you can get natural sources of sugar from a high nutrient whole food like fruit. Why eat highly processed, refined, and hydrogenated vegetable oils (these are THE worst thing in the modern diet), when you can eat natural sources of healthy fats like nuts, avocados, fish, eggs, coconut milk, organically raised meat, and so forth.
The point is to not fall for some gimmick like extremely low carbs (although I do believe in a fairly reduced carb intake as that is a big problem for most people), low fat, super high protein, or any other combination that has you focusing on one macronutrient vs. another.
Your body needs all macronutrients to thrive and obtain a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. Trying to cut an entire food group out just works against what your body needs. I get into much more detail on this vitally important topic towards losing body fat (especially that stubborn stomach fat) for life in my book.
GD: Thank you very much Mike for sharing with us all of this great information.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this interview and plucked several nuggets of info to get you motivated and started on showing off your flat abs shortly. If you don’t already own a copy, be sure to pick up a copy of Truth about Six Pack Abs book and discover the entire system developed for ridding yourself of that extra ab fat for good!