The tummy is the ultimate trouble spot, and most women spend a lifetime looking for the secret to a washboard stomach. They fork out top dollar for gizmos and gadgets that prove to be an exercise in futility. Well, search no further. The Abs Diet For Women is the hot new approach to weight loss that will have you donning belly-baring clothing in a matter of weeks. Author David Zinczenko shares the formula for a flatter stomach in this exclusive interview.
If you’re one of those women with a weak stomach, have we got the diet for you! Most women only dream of having washboard abs tight enough to turn heads. Now, it’s time to make those flesh-flattening fantasies a reality with The Abs Diet for Women (May 2007, Rodale Books). Superhunky fitness god David Zinczenko has designed a simple workout that any woman can stomach. A combination of a balanced diet and a basic exercise regimen makes the Abs Diet for Women completely doable, regardless of the physical shape you’re presently in.
A few years back Men’s Health Editor-In-Chief David Zinczenko made a name for himself when he released the ground-breaking Abs Diet (Decemeber 2004, Rodale Books). Hailed by diet and fitness experts as a no-nonsense approach to weight loss, the book became a bestseller in no time. However, Zinczenko’s work was far from done. Determined to design a comprehensive program specifically for women, he fleshed out his ab-perfecting program with the successful follow-up The Abs Diet For Women.
Zinczenko sits down and talks candidly about his innovative approach to weight loss that’s been a hit with everyone from singer Nelly Furtado to the average woman struggling to shed that extra baby fat.
How successful has the Abs Diet been for women? Can you quantify the results?
We've had so many success stories from women (and even celebs like Nelly Furtado) who have tried the Abs Diet and found success -- women who wanted to lose post-pregnancy fat, women who wanted to get back into their college jeans, women who wanted to firm some flab, women who wanted to make themselves athletes. It's hard to know exactly how many men and women have found success. But if you take a look at some of the success stories in the book, you'll read about women who realized that the Abs Diet isn't a diet, but a lifestyle.
Why did you design a special Abs Diet for women?
The original Abs Diet can work well for both men and women, but I also realized that women have some special needs and interests that many men don't necessarily have. For example, while I don't necessarily agree with calorie counting, I also know that many women do like to calorie count.
So I've included some guidelines for how to do that. I also wanted to include some information about other things that are typically more of a concern for women -- like what to do if you're vegetarian, or are lactose intolerant, or have hormonal problems that make losing weight troublesome.
Why does a woman need a different abs routine than a man? How important is core strengthening and how can women avoid the male 6-pack look?
In a lot of way, the actual "abs" workout doesn't have to be a whole lot different than what men do. Basically, you want to strengthen your entire core -- focusing on the upper section of abs, the lower section, the obliques (sides), the deep supportive muscle (the transverse abdominis), and the lower back. We only want you to do abs work two or three times a week, and you're only doing a few exercises at a time -- enough to strengthen your core, without doing so much that you're going to look like a bodybuilder. That way, the goal is a flat, toned stomach.
What are the main components of the Abs Diet?
In the Abs Diet, the main component is certainly the eating principles -- specifically, making sure that you eat often enough to keep your metabolism revved and making sure you eat the right fat-burning and good-for-you Abs Diet Powerfoods that will help keep you satisfied all day long. But of course, the magic bullet is the exercise plan -- a circuit of exercises that both gets your hear rate up and also adds lean, toned muscle, which in itself will increase the rate in which you burn fat.
What rate of weight loss can women expect when following the Abs Diet?
Of course, it depends on the woman and a lot of factors (like the starting weight). But I found that women can reasonably expect a 5-pound loss in the first two weeks (and possibly a bit more). But women should also look at such things as waist size and body-fat percentage, because the addition of lean muscle, especially at first, may throw off the scale a bit, but will pay huge dividends in the end.
What sets the Abs Diet for Women apart from other core strengthening workouts?
This is total-body: Works legs, upper-body, abs, and we also include a high-intensity interval session to really get the metabolic rate going. Best of all, these are all short workouts with major results. You don't need to spend a ton of time in the gym or doing long running sessions in order to change your body.
What are some of the most important foods on the Abs Diet for women?
All of the Abs Diet Powerfoods are crucial. They are easy to remember, because of the ABS DIET POWER acronym:
A Almonds and nuts
S Spinach and green vegetables
D Dairy, low-fat
I Instant oatmeal
T Turkey and lean meats
P Peanut butter, all-natural
O Olive oil
W Whole grains
E Extra protein (whey)
R Raspberries and other berries
Center your meals around those Powerfoods and you'll fuel your body with the necessary nutrients-protein, good carbs, good fat, fiber. I think women need to pay special attention to protein, because it helps build that meal muscle that will help you burn fat faster.
Why is the stomach such a tough trouble spot to tone?
For some, belly fat may be the first to go when you start losing weight. But for others, it's the last. I've talked to many moms, of course, who are especially frustrated about the fact that post-pregnancy fat is so difficult to shed. Abs exercises won't make you lose weight -- they'll only strengthen and tighten your core. The way to do it is through smart eating and exercise that will help you burn fat (that is, strength training and those interval sessions).
What can most women achieve in six weeks as far as reshaping their bodies?
It's not unusual to have women lose 15 pounds (some up to 20 or more) in six weeks. But perhaps, even more important, is the change in shape. A woman can certainly lose inches from her waist, and she can change her shape and tone with our circuit training that targets both the upper and lower body.
Why is the Abs Diet for Women approach so effective in battling the belly bulge?
Because it targets exactly what you need to do to burn fat-that is, revving your metabolism through eating the foods that will help you and doing the exercises that are most effective. Studies have shown that programs very similar to the Abs Diet have been especially effective in helping people lose weight… and lose inches from their bellies.
Can you give an example of an Abs Diet for Women workout?
Abs: Do each exercise right after another. Then repeat.
Bent-Leg Knee Raise
Circuit: Do one exercise right after another with no more than 30 seconds of rest in between. Do 10-12 reps, and repeat the circuit. Do two or three total circuits.
To learn more about The Abs Diet for Women, click here.