The Abs Diet. What’s it all about?

The Abs Diet can best be described as a diet and exercise plan which promises a flatter, better-defined, and stronger midsection at the end of six weeks. The creator of the diet, David Zinczenko, who is also the former editorial director at Men's Health states that a flatter and stronger abdominal area can help you sleep better, prevents back pain, can improve your sex life, and to also live longer.

The diet’s requirements include eating six times a day and to base your food choices on specific, nutrient-dense power foods. However, for one day during the week, you are allowed to deviate from the diet. The cheat day so to speak. The other important aspect of the ab diet is the 20-minute exercise regimen that is performed at least three times per week.

The diet was originally published in 2004 in The Abs Diet: The 6-Week Plan to Flatten Your Stomach and Keep You Lean for Life. Although the program originally targeted only men, Zinczenko followed up the first book with The Abs Diet for Women in 2007. This one is also a six-week program which includes 12 recommended power foods and the corresponding exercise program. Both books were co-written with Ted Spiker, a journalist and a former Men's Health editor.

What foods are recommended?

The Abs Diet is packaged as an easy-to-follow plan because only a few foods are restricted and there is no calorie counting. The plan also does allow you to eat quite frequently throughout the day.

Also, there is no set carbohydrate restriction. This carb restriction was a primary feature of many popular diets that preceded The Abs Diet. This less strict distinction definitely helped to set it apart from other weight loss regimens from that time.

The six-week plan includes utilizing lean protein sources, whey protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, as well as healthy fat sources. Smoothies are also a creative and tasty aspect of this diet and work well because they can replace a snack or even a meal. Smoothies are a great way to help redirect eating habits towards more healthy foods because you can get so creative.

To maintain the proper calorie intake, portion sizes of all foods, especially the ones containing fat such as peanut butter or the carbs like bread, pasta, and rice is important. Consuming no more than one or two servings per food group at each given meal. These practices will help to avoid over consumption. It’s simple really. The goal is to ultimately train yourself to eat about the same or less calories than you were before.

This new habit-building obviously includes food choices. Energy-efficient foods are encouraged. Energy-efficient foods are foods that are nutrient-dense. Ultimately, they provide more macronutrients, vitamins, as well as minerals with a fewer calorie count.

Good examples being black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, as well as other foods that provide high protein and fiber that are relatively low in calories. Remember, it is important when preparing/cooking these foods to do so without oil or other fats.

Now about the exercises

The exercise plan is obviously a fundamental aspect to The Abs Diet. If you embark on this journey, you can expect to exercise at least three times per week. Each of these three sessions is for a minimum of 20 minutes. The exercise plan is made up of these three components:

• Strength training:

Each session is a total-body workout with special emphasis on the legs. These strength exercises which are done three times per week, are made up of the circuit format which includes little to no rest in-between exercises. The typical style exercises include the military press, bench press, the upright row, leg extensions, as well as the biceps curl.

• Abdominal exercises:

The ab exercises include the traditional abdominal crunch, the bent-leg knee raise, as well as the side bridge. These are practiced twice a week.

• Cardiovascular exercise:

Other activities that The Abs Diet recommends include running, swimming, or cycling. You are also encouraged to at least do some light cardiovascular activities such as walking during two of the three off days. These activities though are optional on non-strength-training days, however encouraged for maximum benefits of the program.

The most important thing to remember is that you are redirecting yourself into new habits. Being mindful and aware of what you are doing, as well as your goal are important to your overall success, not just with The Abs Diet, but pretty much whatever you may be working on! Read more about habits in this link.

Author's Bio: 

Eric Thompson, self-help & wellness blogger @

I am currently a student at Long Beach City College working towards a degree in Counseling. Attached is a link to my “about me” section.