Hey, whats good everybody?
I hope that everyone is still making great progress towards your fitness
goals. In this edition of Shape Up, were going to address another round of
questions that were submitted and posted by our readers.
TMO asks: Good
read and real good information... I am on a diet right now, and started about
three months ago I was at 265 and am down to 240, but I still have a big gut. I
just started to lift weights last week, but my question is how can I get my gut
down? Will doing abs everyday help or what? Thanks
AllHipHop.com: Sorry for leaving you off the list of
responses last time TMO! I hope that
your workouts are still going strong though.
While some trainers may have a different philosophy on abdominal
conditioning, I personally dont think that you need to work on them every
single day. In general, outside of a
specialized training program, Id recommend allowing for at least two days rest
in between workouts for each particular muscle group. Since your stomach and
core are so heavily utilized on a day-to-day basis however, you can get away
with doing them every other day for a total of three or four times per week.
Keep in mind that most men tend to carry their weight in
their stomachs, so dont be discouraged if it takes some time to see progress. That
area is almost always the final place that men see the results from their
Im proud to see that youre eating well, but make sure that
you also incorporate cardio into your routine as well. Your crunches and
sit-ups will only build up the muscle that lies below the surface. Until you
lose the extra weight through cardio and nutrition, those muscles will never
fully show and your stomach may remain the same size.
LL asks: I enjoyed your articles on AllHipHop.com. I
probably should know the answer to this question since I am about to get a
degree in exercise science, but I would like you opinion. Im 5'10 170lbs I
want to bulk up, but I also need to lose the fat I have around my stomach. My
question is do lose weight then bulk up, or approach the bulking up phase with
the hope that working out will flatten my stomach?
for the comments LL. Im glad that youre enjoying the articles!
If your goal is to bulk up, make sure that youre doing it
the right way. I once had a friend who
thought that bulking up meant that he could just eat cheeseburgers and
doughnuts all day. As a result, he ended up gaining weight but still appearing
soft and flabby. If youre looking to bulk up, make sure that your nutritional
selection still includes healthy choices so that youre increasing size through
lean muscle instead of fat.
If youre eating the right things and still getting in a cardiovascular
workout at least three times per week, youll start to see your stomach size
reduce even during your bulking phase.
Its a popular misconception that you cant slim down and gain muscle at
the same time. If your strength and cardio workouts are intense enough, youll
see results in both areas.
As I stated in the last response, your stomach may be the
last area to slim down, so dont be discouraged. Also dont become preoccupied
with your weight. Instead, go by how your clothing fits - and if you have
access to have your body fat percentage taken, do so each month so that you can
track your progress.
In the meantime, Id also recommend not ever blowing off
back and shoulder days. Having broader
shoulders and upper back muscles will create the illusion of that v-shape
most people look for, and the resulting tapering effect will make your
waistline appear slimmer than it actually is.
Arthur asks: Ive recently started working out again for
like the past five months. just doing push ups, curls, dips and shoulders. Ive been using 30 and 45 pound dumbbells for
curls and 45's for my shoulders. I do like two hundred push ups and 60 dips in
five sets. And five sets of curls and shoulders.
Ive been working out like this because I havent been able
to go to the gym yet, but I plan on going soon...my first question is, I was
doing sit ups - like 100 a day - trying to lose my stomach, but I was told
thats not the way to lose my stomach. Im seeing great results in my chest
shoulders and biceps and triceps, but my stomach is still poking out. What do you suggest to tighten my stomach to
match the rest of my body?
Also do you see anything wrong with the work out Ive just
described to you? I will greatly
appreciate your response. I found you on AllHipHop and took your advice about
skipping two days, and have seen improvements. I also have more energy.
for the comments Arthur; Im glad that youre already seeing improvements based
on the suggestions provided in the Shape-Up columns.Youre off to a great start
with your workout routine, and Im proud of you for doing what you can on your
The main suggestion that I would make is that youll need to
make sure that youre working all of your muscle groups by the end of each
week. For the most part, youre hitting most of your major upper body muscles
with the routine that you described, but youre completely ignoring your lower
Dont worry, youre
not alone actually most men tend to ignore training their legs. The resulting chicken legs effect is not a
look that youll want to go for however, so make sure that youre working your
entire body so that youll still look proportioned as your muscles change and
If youre still doing your routine from home, try to incorporate
squats, lunges, calf raises and other lower body movements into your circuit.
If you have a flight of stairs at your place, you can also use those to step up
and down on to help work your lower body as well.
For your stomach, youll need to do more than just basic
sit-ups. Sit-ups are great, but they only target your upper abdominals. That
still leaves your lower, oblique (side abdominal muscles) and underlying core
As for the rest of your routine, its not bad, however
youre going to eventually need some variety or your body will adapt to this
workout and you wont see as much progress as you first did. If youve joined a
gym by now, make sure to read the various machines or ask a trainer to show you
other exercises to target each muscle group. Many exercise ideas can also be
found online (including my fitness website listed below) or at your local
library or bookstore.
Combine your new diverse strength routine with cardio and
proper nutrition, and youll see the results that youre looking for.
Zak asks: Ok, Ive
been working out for a few years now and I want abs. I have a flat stomach
right now I know good exercises, but how many times should I work them out per
week? Also, I lift weights five times a week, and I also wanted to know how
many times a week should I run?
AllHipHop.com: If you
read the other responses you may already know what Im about to tell you. Id
recommend cardio and abs at least two or three times per week - depending on
your time limitations and the intensity level of your routine. Since youre
working out five times anyway, you can alternate doing either abs or cardio
You can also cheat cardio into your routine by decreasing
the amount of time that you rest in between movements or by performing a series
of exercises in a circuit without stopping. You can also jump rope or step up
and down on a bench or platform in between sets so that when youre done with
your weight training, youll also be done with your cardio for the day as well.
If youd like to have your questions answered in an upcoming
edition of this column, post your comments below or email me through the
website posted below.
Until next time be good or be good at it.
Here is the MP3 soundtrack to go along with this editions
Crunch and Munch Mike Jones
Body Parts Three 6 Mafia
I Wonder Kanye West
Darrell W. Butler is a
certified personal trainer and strength coach with the American Council on Exercise (ACE). He is the founder of Industrial Strength & Performance (I.S.P Fitness) and has trained at
facilities throughout the nation. You can find out more about his work at www.isperformance.com