Six-pack on a plate
You can do as many crunches as the Cookie Monster, but if you're not eating right your six-pack will never show its full potential. So you need to get some fridge discipline to make the most of your abdominal work. Men's Health'sfitness adviser Ray Klerck lays down the laws of eating your way to cover-model abs.
Five golden rules
Rule 1 Eat like a king in the morning, a prince in the afternoon and a pauper in the evening.
Rule 2 Consume six small meals to keep your blood-sugar levels steady, and 3-4 litres of water a day.
Rule 3 Pack in at least 150g of protein each day from lean red meat, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, milk, tofu or pulses. Your body uses 20% to 30% more energy to digest protein than it needs for carbohydrates.
Rule 4 Do not go without food for more than three hours otherwise the body will suppress its calorie-burning capacity.
Rule 5 Don't snack after 11pm.
In: get ‘em in
• Five portions of fruit & vegetables daily.
• A high-carb breakfast every morning as early as possible: porridge or scrambled/poached eggs on wholemeal toast.
• Nuts, seeds and dried fruit are great for snacking on throughout the day.
• Get enough healthy fats each week: oily fish, mixed nuts and seeds.
• Lots of greens: broccoli, kale, spinach, green beans and cabbage.
• Protein shakes an hour before training and immediately after.
• Plain meats and fish.
• Beans, lentils, oats, brown rice, quinoa, wholemeal and rye breads
• Green tea.
• Low-fat cheese and plain yogurt.
• Jalapeño, Habanera and Cayenne peppers.
• Oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, lemons and limes.
Out: get ‘em out
• Sauces: use extra-virgin olive oil, sesame oil, lemon juice, wine vinegars or reduced-salt soy sauce to flavour your food.
• Booze: in particular beer, Guinness and wine. Vodka, lime and soda is a good alternative, but not to fuel lost weekends or all-nighters.
• Crisps, sweets, chocolate and jam.
• Deep-fried anything.
• White pasta, rice and bread.
• Takeaways and soft drinks.
• Carbs in the evening.
7am: Oatmeal porridge with banana and raisins, washed down with tea.
10am: Two poached eggs on a toasted Food Doctor (made from wheat bran and topped with extra seeds) bagel.
12pm: Protein shake (pre-training).
2pm: Protein shake (post-training), followed by chicken breast with spinach, cherry tomatoes and sweet potato.
5pm: Protein bar and banana.
8pm: Grilled tuna steak with broccoli, carrots, kale, quinoa and soy sauce. For dessert, papaya with ginger and lime juice.
Words by MH's David Morton