1. Train your midsection in no more than three to five sets of three to five reps of your preferred abdominal exercise.
To strengthen your midsection, follow just two rules: the rule stated above and 2) focus on contraction, not on reps and fatigue.
Pavel Tsatsouline, on episode 55 (at 27:35) of The Tim Ferriss Show (i.e., a podcast), describes applying this method using the plank:
Rather than struggle to hold a plank for 60-90 seconds, perform a basic plank for 10 seconds. Contract absolutely every muscle below your neck—as if someone plans to “walk by and kick you in your ribs.” Rest. Perform a plank for 10 seconds. Rest. Perform a plank for 10 seconds. Done.
Repeat this sequence three times a week for several months. Three to five sets of holding a plank for 10 seconds, three to five times. Simple and doable.
2. Your personal narrative may be deterring you from pursuing your health goals. Write and edit your own story to challenge how you perceive yourself.
“Some researchers believe that by writing and then editing our own stories, we can change our perceptions of ourselves and identify obstacles that stand in the way of better health. It may sound like self-help nonsense, but research suggests the effects are real.”
3. Identify where you stand on the continuum between whole, real foods and fads.
The closer on the continuum you are to eating whole, real foods, the better off you are. Remember, though, that it’s a continuum, so don’t agonize over staying on the very far end. Simply inch away from the fads. Find a spot on the continuum that’s sustainable for you.
In case you’re wondering, here’s what a match-up of real, whole foods vs. fads looks like.