My new morning ritual to get ripped abs and single-digit body fat
In fact, just doing this morning ritual for the last 7 mornings in a row, I can already see that my lower abs are getting more defined by the day (indicating that this is lowering my body fat % a bit more).
This involves both exercise AND nutrition tricks, so read this whole post, even if you can't do the exact same type of exercise.
Here's the method I've been using that is getting crazy results...
The weather here in the Rockies lately has been amazing, and I decided to get back on a sprinting cycle again... so the last 7 mornings in a row, I've been riding my bike about 10 minutes over to the local soccer field and then do about 20 minutes or so of all-out wind sprints (50-100 yard wind sprints with full out intensity), and then I do the 10 minute bike ride back home. When I get home, I do about 5 minutes of floor abs exercises to finish off.
All in all, it's only a 45-minute morning workout, but makes me feel amazing for the day! And I do this morning workout in a "semi-fasted" state, which I'll explain below.
Even if you can't do wind sprints, keep in mind that you can still do something similar that is a higher intensity for you personally (perhaps hill walking instead of wind sprints, for example).
By the way, outdoor sprints are where the action is... sprints on a treadmill don't have the same effect as there's more force production involved in accelerating a sprint outdoors compared to on a treadmill. Plus, the max speed on a treadmill is not high enough usually for an "all-out" sprint. In my mind, it's a world of difference. Personally I never step foot on a treadmill.
How wind sprints raise your fat burning hormones:
One of the reasons that wind sprints are so effective at chiseling your body and reducing body fat to "ripped" levels (have you ever seen the bodies of some competitive sprinters? yes, ripped!) is that sprints are one of the specific exercises that are known to have a great effect on increasing Growth Hormone (GH) naturally in your body...
...and we all know that GH production in your body is one of the key secrets to getting lean, strong, and also staying youthful!
For the wind sprints, what I've been doing is increasing distance on each sprint from 50 meters to 60 meters, 70, 80, 90, and finally 100 meters. Then I repeat the cycle. Usually just 2 cycles of this is enough to get me fully whooped (about 12 all-out sprints)! But as time goes on this summer, I will try to increase distance, the number of sprints, or the intensity to keep progressing.
Important note on sprints: If you're going to try all-out sprints, make sure to ease into them for the first couple workouts if you haven't done them in a while to minimize injury risk. You should slowly increase the intensity (70%, 80%, 90% intensity) for the first couple of workouts before doing 100% all-out sprints.
Also, try hill sprints for variety if you have a hill nearby. I like to do 30 yard uphill sprints, followed by walking back downhill and repeating. These are great variety that can be mixed in with your flat field sprints, and have great benefits for growth hormone production as well.
Now for the morning nutrition trick I've been using...
I've tried "morning empty stomach exercise" in the past, and here's the deal... I usually don't have the energy to do anything intense first thing in the morning on a fully empty stomach, so for these sprints, I've found a nice little concoction I came up with that gives me the energy to do these high intensity sprints without weighing me down, and without many calories. It's just enough to do the trick!
At the same time, this concoction I drink has almost no carbohydrates, so should have very little effect on blood sugar, which means the sprints will be more effective at stimulating Growth Hormone release as well as triggering fat loss.
What I've been doing is mixing this Superfoods Cocktail (which is lightly sweetened with stevia, nothing artificial, and with only 40 calories per serving, but 76 superfoods mixed in) with unsweetened iced tea (green, white, oolong, and yerba mate mixture) first thing in the morning. I usually have a big batch of unsweetened iced tea in a gallon container in the fridge that has at least these 4 teas mixed for taste and diversity of antioxidants.
I also mix in about a half scoop (12 grams) of raw grass-fed whey protein, and I have about 2-3 grams of BCAA's (to help minimize muscle catabolism), and a few caps of krill oil.
This entire concoction is only about 110 calories total (with only 3 grams of carbs from the Athletic Greens), so it's just enough to give me energy to do the high intensity sprints, but not too much to weigh me down, or affect blood sugar levels (and elevating blood sugar would halt fat loss and minimize GH production during the sprints, which is why I kept carbs very low in this morning concoction).
Take note that one of the key parts of the supplements I take for this pre-workout mixture is the BCAA's, as studies show that BCAA's can prevent muscle catabolism during exercise on an empty stomach, and I do these sprint workouts in a semi-fasted state. Some research also indicates that BCAA's used during fasted exercise can help reduce abdominal fat more than a placebo.
I try to get about 15-20 minutes to digest this mixture a bit (the bike ride to the soccer field takes about 10 minutes) and then I start to rock out the 20-25 minutes of all-out wind sprints. The 10 minute bike ride back home is a nice cool down, and then I hit up about 5 minutes of floor abs exercises (such as abs bicycles, mountain climbers, lying leg thrusts, etc) as a good finisher once I'm home.
This morning workout feels amazing, and I end up getting an amazing workout with plenty of energy, as opposed to the no energy feeling I have if I try to do totally "empty stomach" exercise first thing in the morning. This also makes me feel really energetic for the rest of the day too, and I'm sure boosts my metabolism!
When I come back from the sprinting, I wait about a half hour (to let the body keep burning fat for fuel) and then make my full breakfast, which lately has been my fairly low-carb healthy breakfast of 3-4 whole eggs (free range, pasture-raised eggs from a local farmers market), grass-fed bison or beef sausage, lots of veggies mixed in to the eggs (mushrooms, onions, spinach, kale, and red peppers), and a half of an avocado on the side. And I have a cup of green tea or yerba mate with about a 1/2 teaspoon of raw honey.
Keep in mind, I've only been doing this morning ritual for about 7 days so far... but even with only a week of this method, I've already had noticeably more definition in the lower abs doing this every morning for the last 7 days or so! I need to start building in some rest days, so I'll probably try to do this 4-5 mornings per week from this point fwd, until I feel the need for a change and variety in the routine.
So if you're up for a challenge and a great training and nutrition combo method, this seems to be working wonders for me so far! Let's get ripped and ready for summer! Perhaps you can find a way to do something similar in your routine, even if you can't do full-out wind sprints.
I hope this post has given you some good ideas to use. Have fun!
By the way, I have a related article here on how you can use specific workout techniques to increase your growth hormone and testosterone levels naturally.
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