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Book Review: The Truth About Six Pack Abs By Mike Geary 

Review by Brian Stramel, CPT

Flat Abs Book

The Truth

The intro states you need to have an open mind and that a lot of the information will go against what you have read or heard about weight loss and fitness information from the media.   I kind of take things for granted now since I have been researching effective fitness and weight loss information for over 8 years now, but in the beginning, I certainly had my preconceived notions about what constituted proven and/or effective weight loss methods turned upside down.  As my wife was going through this program, she would tell me lots of things she learned that she never knew before…I guess she doesn’t get fitness information from me by osmosis! 

What I really like about the program is everything you need you probably already have at home…or can get with little expenditure as far as fitness gear (I’ll get to that below).

The information is based on techniques proven effective for weight loss through years and years of research and results from training clients.  Much of the information is the same as I was taught by one of the top personal trainer certification organizations…but not common knowledge.

For example; the book dispels myths like thinking lots of abs training will give you a great set of abs.  This is completely untrue, you can do crunches until you are blue in the face, it won’t work.  You need to have a low body fat percentage to have a great set of abs…and ab exercises aren’t efficient fat burning exercises!  He also gives some concrete information on the exact body fat percentages you need to be at for men and women to really see your abs.  This is great info to have, I hadn’t come across these exact #s before, but they make sense to me based on my personal training experience and…the percentages for females surprised me a little since they seemed higher than I would have thought (so it is definitely attainable if you apply yourself).

I really like the detail he goes into about nutrition covering low fat vs. high fat diets, certain foods believed to be healthy that are junk etc.  By now you’ve probably heard that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is bad as well as the evil “trans-fats”, but do you know why and what foods they are in?  He also explains how artificial sweeteners often lead to fat gain…even though they are calorie free.  Yet another myth he dispels is that a low calorie diet will be the best way to lose weight.  While calorie restriction is necessary, you actually need to “over-eat” on occasion to keep your metabolism from slowing way down in response to the restricted calories, leading to rapid weight gain once you come off the diet.

The Nutrition

This is the best section of the book in my opinion.  From the start, he mentions that fad diets rarely work long term.   This is about changing your long term eating habits from un healthy processed junk to healthy, nutrient rich (and good tasting) alternatives.  He doesn’t harp on counting calories (good news!) because if you are eating healthy, the calories aren’t as important since your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.

There are some surprising healthy foods in here that taste great, and you may have thought weren’t healthy.  Things like dark chocolate, nuts, eggs, olive oil and many others.  Of course, you have to watch portion sizes on some of these, but they all have healthy fats your body needs.

He also covers foods that help you burn fat and have “thermogenic” qualities.  A lot of times these can be included in weight loss pills or “fat burners.”  The problem with those is you also get a lot of junk you don’t need, can actually be dangerous (remember the deaths associated with ephedrine a few years back?) and are expensive!  Green tea, spices like cinnamon and hot pepper among many other things actually help you burn more fat.  The daily nutrition suggestions are even adjusted for training days vs. non-training days; this is a very helpful tweak that would be overlooked by most programs.

Finally, there are lots of examples of caloric values of foods and daily meal plans to include serving sizes.  This is huge to be able to see laid out, examples of what to eat to put all this advice into practice.

The Training

The exercise portion of this book is pretty extensive and like the nutrition section, information packed.  He recommends starting out with just a stability ball and a set of adjustable dumb bells, so it is easy and inexpensive to get started in your home.  

Starting with Ab exercises, he lists the bad ones which over recruit the hip flexors (which are too tight in most people from sitting anyway) and may harm the back.  Then he lists a bunch of good ones.  My favorites are the “surprisingly killer” ones that emphasize total core development.

The section continues with illustrated examples of a bunch of different exercise, not much to report here.  He then goes into a bunch of info on which types of exercises are best: (single joint “isolation” or multi-joint), which is better: machines or free weights and examples of inefficient routines and more efficient ones and exactly what makes them better.  He also covers cardio work and why the typical cardio most people do is largely a waste of time.

The section concludes with the actual exercise routines.  He provides enough detail to know exactly what to do, how much to do, and which days to do it.  Thankfully, effective weight loss workouts are no more than 45 minutes (often less) and can be done 3-4 days per week.  You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get results!

The Conclusion

The book wraps up with a lot of general additional tips.  As always, he gives specifics and the “why”.  For example; he mentions to limit alcohol consumption.  Instead of stopping there, he explains why, what types are better than others, and how much is too much and how much should be ok and not de-rail your progress.

He wraps up with a very good Q&A section which should clear up any remaining questions or misconceptions you might still have after being bombarded with all this info.  It is a good wrap up and summary of all the effective weight loss info in the book.

The Extras

There are a few bonuses you get.  One of them is a handy metabolic calculator which is essential to know how many calories you burn daily and a starting point to know how much you need to eat to lose weight.  Admittedly, these are available for free online, so not really an added value so much as a convenience of being included.

The “Turbulence Training” dumb bell, body weight workout bonus is very good.  I was impressed with the exercise selection, layout and level of detail in his descriptions and fitness information.  This would be a great fat burning program you can do in your own home either instead of the routines in The Truth About Abs, or work them in later for variety after you’ve done the workouts in the Abs book for a few months.

He also includes an excel spreadsheet with card deck workouts and exercise descriptions.  I have done workouts like this before and they can be very intense and really break up the monotony of a routine.  They are also an awesome workout to do while travelling, just need some space (in a hotel room or outside) and the body weight exercise variations.

There is another bonus from one of the” Biggest Loser” trainers, but I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet…a bit of information overload!

The Good and the Not So Good

What’s good?  Number one is the quality of information.  This is the most important thing when considering any weight loss program.  The fanciest looking, best infomercial marketed program in the world won’t matter if the information is incomplete or you can’t follow it because it is just too intense and you quickly get injured or burned out.

There is a ton of info here and the book is over 140 pages long.  If anything, he almost explains too much especially in the nutrition section, but I like that.  I really like being educated on “why” not just told what to do and “trust them, it works.”

It is a complete nutrition and highly effective workout program so you get the complete picture.  Also, the workouts can both be more complex and make use of a commercial gym (or well-appointed home gym), or simpler and use minimal equipment.  I love working out simply and at home myself, so this is a big plus for me. 

The not-so-good:  There isn’t a lot to criticize really.  It’s kind of ironic, but I think he included too many abs exercises!  I think he did that just because it is what people expect, and he did take time to explain the poor ones vs. better ones.  Though like the myth he dispels points out; ab work isn’t that important to see your abs, but good core strength and stability is important for overall fitness.  I’ve gotten killer abs just by dead lifting heavy before with no direct ab work at all.

Lots of the exercises are more gym centric; I would have liked to see even more variations for at home or with typical home equipment.  On a personal note: I love kettlebells and though he mentions them, I would have liked to see some examples using them.  My wife used her kettlebells to follow the program and it works great.  They are better (ideally) suited for some exercises like the snatches and swings and usable for anything you would use a dumbbell for.

Not a huge problem though since he did include body weight and home dumbbell type exercises and there is the  workout bonus also.

The Results

I’ve incorporated a lot of his outstanding nutritional recommendations into my diet and have lost about 5lbs in doing so without any calorie restrictions.  I’m not following the entire program since I’m already into a different workout routine.

I got this program for my wife who wanted to lose some extra weight after having our twins and get back down to her ideal weight.  She hasn’t worked out with anything approaching consistency in over a year and her diet was pretty bad (hey, I can’t blame her; she had to take care of 3 kids while I was in Iraq for a year!)

To date: she has lost 6.5 lbs in three weeks!  This is a proven and effective weight loss program that definitely works.  Even better, it is sustainable and the healthy eating and fitness habits you build will be with you forever. 

Purchase the "Truth About Six Pack Abs" here! 


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