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Want six-pack abs? Eat right!

Last updated on: July 1, 2009 

Image: Biki Bora flaunts his six-pack.

The most important part of sculpting your six-pack is your diet. It has to be a rigorous, fat-loss diet. Also, though you can skip, and must occasionally skip practice (to let your muscles rest and repair), you cannot relax your vigilance over your diet. Any slip-up would immediately ruin all the work you put in.

Biki Bora, Muay Thai kickboxing instructor, shares his diet secrets towards the lean-mean look that will create an enviable six-pack. The foods that store fat must be cut out completely from the diet. This is essential to draw out the muscular lines that your work-out is creating. You must also include foods that help the muscles to repair and rejuvenate. Remember,
intense work-outs need foods that include Vitamin K and other muscle-repairing nutrients. Some food stuffs are allowed, but in limited quantities.

The series on 'How to get six-pack abs' has been co-ordinated and photographed by Shameem Akthar, yoga instructor.

For more on Biki Bora's health and kick-boxing tips visit

Disclaimer: Kindly note that aiming for a six-pack presumes that you in good physical shape. Also, the regimen has to be tailored to individual needs for which you must work in tandem with your own trainer and dietician. This series only provides broad guidelines.

Foods to include

Image: Vegetables must be those that encouraging fat loss.

Include foods that are recognised as helping with fat loss. Wheat products like chapattis, dalia (broken wheat), wheat flakes, wheat bran, wheat germ, wheat bread. Methi (fenugreek leaves) or palak (spichanch) theplas without oil. Processed cereals like oats, all bran cereals, plain muesli, barley. And products made from fresh bajra (pearl millet), jowar (barley), ragi (finger millet) flour.

Soya in all forms (nuggets, chunks ) and sprouts of gentle lentils like moong  (green gram). Vegetables must be muscle-firming and encouraging fat loss like palak, methi, mustard greens), amaranth (sorrel leaves), colocasia, chawli (white kidney beans). Others include bhindi (ladyfinger), capsicum, dudhi (bottle gourd), turai (ridge gourd), padwal (snake gourd), karela (bitter gourd), tinda (apple gourd), tindli (gherkins), baingan (aubergine), fansi (French beans), gavar (cluster beans), papdi (broad beans), olives, onions and bell peppers.

Fruits that are fiber-rich like apple, orange, sweet lime, pear, guava, papaya, jamun, amla and lemon are best. If having dairy products always chose or prepare for yourself skimmed milk stuff -- buttermilk, paneer (cottage cheese), lassi made only from low-fat milk. If you must have non-vegetarian fare chose white meats like chicken, fish and egg whites.

Foods to minimise

Image: Dried fruits are good, but in moderation.

As explained earlier, minimise your intake of too many dairy products (especially buffalo milk), and opt for low-fat, skimmed milk variations. You must include good oils like groundnut, rice bran, canola and minimise thick oils like til (sesame), mustard, soybean or fish oil supplements. Energy bars must be had only occasionally. Coffee and sweeteners must be judiciously had, as also sports drinks.

Other foods that you must control over-consuming are pasta, biscuits, brown breads, rices. Legumes also must be had moderately. Though these fruits are rich in anti-oxidants they have a slightly higher sugar content, so do not over-do sweet fruits like peach, strawberry, cherries, pineapples, muskmelon, figs, watermelon.

Similarly while apricots, walnuts are good, the quantity must be watched.

Foods to avoid completely

Image: Dosa, pongal, medu vada should be avoided.

Some foods must be completely excluded to cut your fat intake. These are corn products, maize, sabudana, stuffed parathas/ theplas, rice products and snacks like dosa, pongal, medu vada, dhokla, white rice, and refined flour products.

Some vegetables that are heavy in starch or natural sugars may also be avoided during this period, such as potato, sweet potato, suran, jackfruit, mango, colocasia root, tapioca. The same thumb rule applies for fructose-rich banana, mango, grapes, chikoo, jackfruit, ramphal, all fruit juices, dried fruits like raisins, cashew and pistachios. Avoid also high-cal protein bars. Avoid mayonnaise, butter, coconut oil, sunflower and corn oil. Margarine and dalda (ghee) are strick no-nos.

What else?

Image: Casual snacking must be cut out completely.

You may have vinegar dressing for your salads. Use chutneys made of pudina (mint) and dhania (coriander) generously. Clear soups help control hunger pangs. So does green tea.

Coconut water is great way to power yourself without having a fat overload. Have a maximum of three teaspoons of oil during the period you work out on your six-pack. Use oils with good fats, like olive, groundnut, rice bran, flaxseed.

You must completely cut out alcohol, carbonated drinks, milkshakes, fruit juices, all biscuits, casual snacks, fried items, chips and wafers, packed soups and foods. Avoid ready-to-eat packs since these contain sodium that will bloat you up. Avoid also creamy salad dressings, pickles, papads, sweetened chutneys.