Last day, I explained to fitness expert, Scott Colby, that what you’ll find in my19 DVD Home Abdominal Workouts is more than just ab exercises, it’s a complete guide to overhauling your current physique.  Because achieving your dream body isn’t just about abs exercises…not by a long shot!

Today, we’ll continue the abs discussion, specifically, my recommendations on the BEST ab exercises if you’re looking to develop ripped, six-pack abs.

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Scott Colby:  We have Raymond who asked a question from Facebook, “Having low body fat around 8%- 10%, what are the best types of exercises that will make your abs more defined or do you just continue to lower your body fat more?”

Craig Ballantyne: Well, in my kind of famous photo I’m only 10% body fat. A lot of people say, “Oh, I thought you were 6% body fat.”  Most people underestimate how much body fat they really have even when they’re getting lean.

So, at 10% body fat you should be able to really see your abdominals if you’re a guy, for a woman it’s somewhere between 14% and 18%. If you are at 10 % body fat, and you can’t see your abdominals, you need to put more muscle on in general, so I would probably switch to a muscle building program.

If you take a look at the ABDOMINAL exercises that I use, this will help you to put some size on your abdominals. Really, they’re a very thin muscle, so it’s very difficult to hypertrophy your abdominal muscles. Stability ball rollout would be one, because of the eccentric stretch. That’s going to put a lot of damage on the rectus abdominals and as a result in an increase in muscle size.

The chin up-knee up, hanging leg raise, and the stability ball jackknife, are going to make the big difference.  Again, it’s not something that is really going to hypertrophy or grow the lot on its own. More it’s going to be about making sure that you do have the body fat down to 10 %, and then you should be able to see your abs quite well.

Scott Colby: Very cool. Mike in Orlando, just asked a question, and has followed some of your advice. He says; Craig, I follow daily that carb protein and fat ratio you recommend, in which you suggested carb and protein ratios equal to your goal weight. It has helped a lot, however, given the amount of fruits and veggies I eat every day I normally go well over on carbs even though all my carbs are from fruits and veggies.

I train one to two hours six times a week, AND just complete my first triathlon at age 39. I just have to say thanks for all your help to get me ready to compete at this level.  So my question is; “Should I try and cut back on the fruits and vegetables to bring the carbs back in line with my goal weight?”

Craig Ballantyne: Well, very cool, that’s excellent to hear. Now, if he’s training that much, it’s kind of hard to understand how he could he eat too many fruits and vegetables, because they’re pretty low in calories. So, that’s the type of thing where we need to see the actual diet.

Is that pretty much the only concern? It seems like things are going pretty well. Did he mention body fat levels that he wanted to change or anything?

Scott Colby: No, he didn’t, He seems to have a set number of carbs that he thinks he might need to stick to and he’s going over that with the fruits and vegetables and getting the results that he wants.

Craig Ballantyne: I think, especially with that type of training those numbers may not necessarily apply to his type of training. Those are really for fat loss and not for fat loss plus endurance athlete training. Things do change with fat loss and endurance athlete training.

A great book that he should check out is called “The Thrive Diet”, by Brendan Brazier. I was recommended this book many times, but I didn’t think it was going to be that good. It turned out to be one of the most important nutrition books that anybody can read, because it expands on the Simple Nutrition philosophy.

It is a vegetarian book, so it certainly can change your mind about whether or not you want to eat meat, or you can add meat to his plan. Really, it just shows you the incredible amount of variety, of all the fruits and vegetables that are out there. It obviously shows what an endurance athlete takes on and how it uses maximum energy.

It shows you how many other fruits and vegetables, there are. Honestly, I’ve never heard of half of these. So, if you think it’s just apples, oranges, and bananas, clearly not. It’s not just broccoli and spinach. There’s so much out there.

Easy for me to say when I live in a city that has farmers markets, and Asian markets, but I think even in smaller cities you should be able to find a lot of the new stuff that is not necessarily going to be known to you right now.  It’s a great book, I highly recommend it.

Scott Colby: Cool. Ryan out in Toronto, has one of those myth types of questions here, “Is morning cardio on an empty stomach much more efficient at fat burning than cardio after weights?”

Craig Ballantyne: No, not at all.

What it really comes down to is the INTENSITY of your training and your diet. I don’t know too many guys in our peer group who think that it’s important at all and there are a lot of smart cookies, bodybuilders, and guys with low body fat.

On the other hand, if you want to do that IT’S FINE.

What I would recommend is that everyone treat your bodies like a SCIENCE EXPERIMENT, and you record what happens when you change the variables. Record what happens when you eat a certain food.

If you go to Applebee’s at lunch, and you eat five slices of bread and you’re tired at 2:00 p.m. you’ve got to be able to make that type of connection. If you train in the morning at 6:00 a.m. without having breakfast you need to be able to realize after three weeks, “Is this making a difference? Is this significantly increasing my fat loss?” If it is, stick with it, if it’s not then clearly it’s not working for me.

In my opinion, it’s not going to be beneficial or essential or anything to worry about, but again it’s really going to depend on his body’s science experiment that he does. I highly RECOMMEND that everyone try a whole bunch of stuff and make sure that you’re doing everything and giving it a fair shot.

Everything that’s safe, of course, if you’re worried about something that might not be safe then check with a professional. But, if you want to try out stuff, there’s certainly no harm in doing that. I would give it a three week trial to make sure that it does or doesn’t work for you.

I wouldn’t change too many things at once. I’m not going to change my cardio, then change my weight program, then change my diet drastically and then say one of them doesn’t work, because that’s not a good science experiment.

That’s what I would recommend in the end.

llantyne: Well, very cool, that’s EXCELLETNT to hear. Now, if he’s training that much it’s kind of hard to understand how he could eat too many fruits and vegetables, because again they’re pretty low in calories. So, that’s the type of thing where we’d need to see the actual diet.

Is that pretty much the only concern? It seems like things are going pretty well with that. Did he mention body fat levels that he wanted to change or anything?

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Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

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