As a society we are obsessed with what goes on in the midsections of others—from beer bellies to washboards, kegs to six-packs, Jell-O guts to whether Ronnie Coleman really had Olympia-quality abs (he did). We love our heroes to have stomachs so flat and etched, you could grate cheese on them.
Our fixation on the abdominals is so great that there’s a cottage industry promising quality results via limited-resistance workouts for only six minutes per day. Other companies promise abs with no exercise, thanks to the joys of microelectric shocks. Most of it comes with no change in diet or exercise patterns recommended. In short, in our quest to cut a mean profile on the beach, we’ve substituted get-rich-quick-type schemes for common sense.
“In today’s fitness environment you can bear down for five years and find yourself in a magazine. It’s done a lot to inspire others to get out there and do things.”
Sonny Brown, a fitness model and physique competitor I first wrote about in the June ’14 IRON MAN, is disturbed by this trend. In fact, he’s so concerned that he has decided to do something about it. Not only is he relocating to Los Angeles to expand his reach in the fitness industry and live out his dream, but he’s also bringing his fitness company, Greater Health, which he founded in Australia (www.facebook.com/greaterhealth), with the express intent of helping others achieve their ab-centric goals through good nutrition and fitness.
Sonny’s views on building your best physique are neither completely conventional nor too far out there in a world where electrodes are considered a possibility. Instead, he focuses on finding balance and consistency in your overall fitness life and executing a plan based on some simple principles that have stood the test of time.
Principle 1. Physical fitness begins with good nutrition.
It sounds simple, but it’s not. In many ways the typical Western diet is not conducive to a quality physique. Instead of fast and processed foods Sonny emphasizes a diet based on quality whole foods.
Just because Sonny focuses on fitness modeling doesn’t mean that he takes it easy in the weight room. Quite the contrary. Sonny’s workout schedule appears on page 106. As you can see, it includes nine workouts spread over six days, with Sunday earmarked for “active recovery.” That’s shorthand for getting up and living life outside the gym.
“Sundays are reserved for hiking, biking, spending time outdoors,” he said. “You can’t live your whole life inside a gym and be truly happy.”
Neither does he believe in a hard-and-fast workout schedule that never changes. In fact, as we talked about in the June issue with regards to his delt work, Sonny is a proponent of instinctive training, an approach in which you listen to the signals your body is giving and adjust accordingly.
Not that he lacks a plan when he goes into the gym, but he’s willing to make changes (go heavier, go lighter, more reps) when needed. Many times the changes will add intensity to the workout in the form of drop-sets, forced reps and other postexhaustion moves until he feels he’s gotten the workout he needs. As an example, check out his base abdominal workout, which appears on page 106. He calls it, “Six-Pack Destruction.”
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