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    Frank Guengerich

    Original Article can be found here:

    As we close out the year and start 2024, as club owners, managers and fitness professionals, we must always remember that we serve as a role model for our staff and members. I’m constantly reminded that my personal commitment to my health journey is not only a vital part of my physical and mental wellbeing, but I must be an example for those that I lead. I celebrated my 60th birthday in 2023 and have never felt better. While I don’t agree that “age is just a number,” it is possible to improve your health, physique and overall wellness as you age.

    One of my favorite topics to discuss is the importance of a strong core. As the saying goes, “abs are made in the kitchen.” But, are they really? As a NASM-certified nutrition coach and 5-time Texas State Classic Physique bodybuilding champion, I’ll tell you my coaching advice and how I recommend you obtain and maintain a strong core. I’ve coached many 40+ year-old men and women develop a strong core, lean out, and if they are determined enough, uncover their abs. Anyone can do it, and it can be done at any age.

    Consistency: Discipline to be consistent is perhaps the most important thing anyone can do to improve and maintain their health, fitness and physique. I recommend you set a goal that is compelling so that you’re motivated and inspired to be consistent. Perhaps you want to run a 5K, compete in a Spartan Race, look amazing for an event like a wedding or even compete in a bodybuilding competition. Having a goal that will keep you focused and motivated will influence your approach and assist you in being consistent.

    They were there all along, begging to be let out: Assuming you exercise regularly, you’re almost always using your core to stabilize your body. Your abdominals are constantly getting used and tested. What I’ve learned is that by consistently doing ab exercises, you will not magically begin to see an outline of your abs. If they are covered by a layer of fat, they may be there, you just can’t see them. As a matter of fact, I only do core specific exercises as I get close to a competition. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t do core exercises. You most certainly should to maintain and/or improve your core strength. Core exercises also help prevent injuries and is vital for movement and functionality. But, to get a defined core, the first thing you have to do is get the body fat off your belly.

    Meal Preparation: The first thing I always recommend to everyone is to do meal preparation weekly for the upcoming week. I do mine every Sunday evening. We work hard, long hours, and it’s far too easy to miss a meal or eat poorly. By doing meal prep, this will ensure that you have a predetermined meal portion size, defined macro count (proteins, fats, carbs), and the food you’re consuming is meeting your nutritional requirements. One of the most important things you need to do is eliminate, or at least minimize, wasted calories. That would be those calories that really don’t provide any nutritional value. The five items I always suggest you watch closely are fried foods, alcohol, sweets, bread and junk food like chips.

    Deficit: The math is simple, take in fewer calories than you expend, and you go into a deficit. By minimizing the amount of fat intake that you put into your body, your body will begin to attack your stored fat. Excessive carbohydrates will convert into fat if unused as an energy source, but they are not the enemy. Carbs are actually a vital part of your nutrition, but they need to be properly regulated when you’re trying to lean out. Regular strength and cardiovascular exercise (a minimum of three times a week) will increase your caloric expenditure and assist in putting you into a deficit. It’s okay to “wander” periodically and eat foods that are not necessarily a part of a strict diet. So, pizza or a burger and fries are all fine to eat but just not regularly. This can refeed your body and replace missing glycogen, fats and carbohydrates that your body is craving. But, at the end of the day, consistently eating a well-balanced diet and doing regular exercise is the key.

    It’s a lifestyle: Leaning out doesn’t happen overnight. It should be done slowly and safely. Making sure your caloric intake is modestly lower than your total caloric expenditure will get you to your goal. It may take you three months, six months or even longer. But, once you achieve the results you’re seeking, then it’s all about maintenance. Can you shred off that unwanted fat and maintain a strong, defined core? Yes, you can but it has to become a lifestyle.

    • • •

    Eating a proper diet and then regularly doing both strength and cardio exercise is the healthiest way to get there. We all know that. But, we must have the motivation, discipline and purpose in order to meet our goals and then maintain our health and wellbeing.

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