Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fastest Way to Lose Belly Fat, Love Handles, and Stomach Flab

Many of the questions we get are about losing abdominal fat. People are always looking for the fastest way to lose belly fat and "love handles" and stomach flab and tummy rolls... etc, etc. While it has many different names, abdominal adipose tissue is a nemesis known by millions of people all around the world. Getting rid of it can be a difficult task but the tips below, when used in combination, will allow you to get the fastest fat loss results possible...

1. Eat a Low-Carb Diet

No diet will give you faster results, in terms of reducing belly fat, than a low-carb diet. There are many reasons for this but the main reason is that low-carb diets dramatically lower insulin levels in the bloodstream. They also improve your body's overall hormone balance in a way that causes it to shed stored abdominal fat very quickly. Once you've lost the tummy flab though you should cycle off of the diet and start eating healthy carbs again. A good carb-rotation diet is a great way to continue losing weight and to avoid gaining back belly fat.

2. Do Strength Training-Based HIIT Workouts

Cardio-only exercise regimens aren't the best for burning belly fat. In order to lose your ugly, stubborn stomach fat in the fastest way possible you should focus on doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts that combine strength training and short bouts of cardio. Focus on simple compound strength movements that work lots of muscles at once, like push-ups, dips, pull-ups, squats, lunges, inverted rows, etc. Finish with about 10-20 minutes of HIIT style cardio. This type of exercise not only burns lots of calories and fat during, but also for hours after the workout!

That's basically it: the fastest way to lose your belly fat, love handles, stomach flab, "beer belly", and whatever else you want to name that ugly layer of fat surrounding your abdomen. Just follow a simple low-carb diet for a few weeks and combine it with about 4 intense workouts per week. Focus on fat-burning, muscle-building strength training and ultra-efficient HIIT cardio. Make sure you get enough sleep, rest, and water and you'll be on your way to a leaner, fitter, sexier body fast!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Rack Workout Review

The Rack is a home exercise device that's been getting a lot of attention lately. So I figured I'd write up a quick review and also ask our readers for their own helpful reviews! The Rack workout device is marketed as an "all-in-one" workout station and it's designed for bodyweight-based high-intensity circuit training. It's light but strong, relatively compact, and currently costs about $160, although the company also offers a 30-day trial for $14.99.

UPDATE: The Rack has become hard to find/buy. The good news is that we've discovered 2 similar products that are both MUCH better overall, both in terms of functionality and value. The first is the TRX Suspension Training Pro Pack, a great portable "suspension" training system. Click here to learn more. The second is the Ultimate Body Press, which is very similar to The Rack but, overall, is much more versatile. Click here to learn more. Both of these popular products allow you to perform all of the same exercises that The Rack does as well as many more that can't be done on The Rack!

This unique product looks a little strange but it's definitely intriguing, especially since it's designed to enable the user to do some of the most effective bodyweight exercises (like dips and plyometric push-ups) without a bunch of heavy and/or expensive equipment. I love dips and have spent many hours over the years trying to figure out different ways to do them at home without a true "dip station". I have found very few good options but with this product we may have a new one to add to the list.

The Rack workout device definitely appears to be targeted towards men. It's a chest and triceps machine more than anything so it's a great option to work those "t-shirt" muscles at home. That being said, there's no reason a woman with some decent upper-body strength couldn't use the thing.

The Rack only weighs 30 lbs, which is good and bad. It's great in terms of being very portable and easily storable. The light weight and attached wheels also allows it to move easily on the floor, turning it into an effective abdominal exercise machine. But being so nimble isn't such a good thing when it comes to the non-chest-building movements they show in the infomercial. 30 lbs of resistance isn't very much when it comes to doing lifts like squats, lunges, shrugs, rows, bicep curls, etc. A typical person will quickly outgrow that small amount of resistance, strength-wise. You can buy special weight plates to attach to it but personally I think your money would be better spent by investing in some simple dumbbells or even a set of kettlebells.

The biggest problem I see with The Rack workout device is that it really doesn't offer much in terms of back exercise options. You can do a type of inverted row with it but with a very limited range of motion, which isn't good. But, paired with a pull-up bar, you'd be able to do nearly all the most-effective upper-body exercises out there: mainly dips, depth push-ups, pull-ups, and all of their many variations.

The Bottom Line: If you're looking for a versatile, light, and highly portable home workout option you may want to give The Rack a try. Just realize that it does have some limitations. Consider matching it with a simple pull-up bar and possibly even some adjustable dumbbells to give yourself everything you need to do the best exercises in the comfort of your home!

Here's a quick review submitted by a reader:
I ordered my "Rack" machine in early February and just recently got it after several weeks of waiting. I don't know if it was a supply problem or a delivery issue but I'm glad I waited. The first thing I did was watch the workout DVDs that came with it. Then I assembled it, did a quick warmup on my treadmill, and got to work. What I noticed right off that bat is that the product is surprisingly strong and sturdy yet very lightweight. I was a little nervous at first but it had no problem holding my weight (currently an overweight 230 lbs) as I performed dips (3 sets of 6 reps).

So far I've done all the DVD workouts and I can honestly say that I'm happy with my purchase. I like the circuit training style because it actually makes it fun to exercise at home. The Rack allows you to do lots of unique movements that you wouldn't really be able to do at home without it, or something very similar. The DVD's are great, with good instruction, music, production, and energy. They remind me a lot of the P90X and Insanity DVD's. They are definitely challenging but they are very do-able and enjoyable even for a flabby out-of-shape guy like me!

One thing I will say is that the Rack isn't made for back and biceps workouts. Don't get me wrong, you can do curls with it but it's so light that you have to do a lot of reps and sets to really feel anything. It's great for chest, pecs, triceps, and abs. If you want to really build back, biceps, and leg muscles you're gonna have to get more equipment.

Overall I'm very happy with the Rack workout system. Compared to other options like a regular dip station it's cheaper, lighter, and much more portable. It can even be folded completely flat and stored under a bed. It also gives you some nice variety and will make any home workout more challenging and more fun. I recommend it to people looking for a way to really increase the intensity and effectiveness of their at-home exercise!

- Jason T, Bellevue, WA

Have you used TheRack Workout station yourself? Want to share your own reviews, questions, or comments? Please leave your feedback below. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ab Rocket Twister Reviews?

Apparently the Ab Rocket Twister is one of the hot new fitness products on the market. We've already gotten a dozen requests for reviews of this new "infomercial" abdominal exercise machine. After spending about an hour searching for real customer reviews online it's easy to see why: there appears to be very little authentic user feedback regarding the Ab Rocket Twister! So let's see if we can change that situation...

Here's one message that we received last week:
"Hi. I'm thinking about buying the new Ab Rocket Twister and would like to know if you think it really works? Is it really as effective as they claim on the commercial? Have you used it yet? I'm kind of desperate to burn off the roll of belly fat I've added this winter, especially since I'm going on vacation (Miami Beach) in May! I had six pack abs just a couple of years ago and I really want them back. Please help me decide whether or not I should purchase the Ab Rocket with a review or suggestion. If you think it's a rip-off please let me know so I don't waste my money. Thank you so much for your help!"

- Monica R.
Well, first things first: no ab exercise machine is going to burn off all your stomach fat and/or give you six pack abs by itself. All infomercial fitness and weight loss products claim to provide "easy" weight loss results but we have yet to find one that actually does so. Remember that weight loss, and especially fast weight loss, is about 75% diet. If you're not eating a proper, clean diet you're not gonna lose fat and shed pounds... no matter how many "Ab Rocket Twists" you do. Even the commercial states that you must use the included diet plan in order to lose the pounds and inches promised in the marketing hype!

That being said, a machine or device that helps you do more effective exercises, abdominal or other, can certainly be useful. I used the original Ab Rocket on several occasions and was actually very surprised that I liked it. Let's face it: sit-ups, crunches, and just about all other unassisted ab exercises are difficult, especially if you're very out-of-shape, overweight, or have any back problems. The original Ab Rocket provides a type of assistance that reduces much of the discomfort associated with typical abdominal/core exercise movements. It appears the new Ab Rocket Twister works on the same principle but adds a twisting motion capability to work the oblique muscles.

In the end I never did buy my own Ab Rocket because I tend to avoid things that make exercise easier. I know from many years of experience that harder, more difficult exercises provide much better overall fat burning, muscle building results.

The spring assistance provided by the Ab Rocket and new Ab Rocket Twister reduces the effectiveness of each individual repetition because it basically lowers resistance levels. Of course, it will probably allow you to do more crunches and sit-ups than you would normally do. That's a good thing in most cases and for some people, especially those who are currently very out-of-shape, the Ab Rocket Twister may be a decent investment. More "comfortable" home exercise options can make it more likely that you'll workout more frequently and get into shape faster.

The problem with many infomercial products is that they simply aren't made very well. Any comfort advantage they provide is overshadowed by the discomfort that comes from using a cheaply-made machine for long periods of time. The original Ab Circle Pro is a good example of that.

Personally I would hold off on buying the Ab Rocket Twister until more information is available online. Please leave your own reviews, testimonials, questions, and comments regarding this soon-to-be-very-popular new exercise machine below... thanks!