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The Abdominal Exercise Myths-Part 4A “You can’t make chicken salad from chicken s#it!” – The role of nutrition in abdominal function September 28, 2009

Posted by fitmontclair in Abdominal Training, Fat Loss, Injury Prevention, Nutrition, Organic Food & Farming, Women's Health.
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I hope you all enjoyed Part 3B and that it was worth the wait (so far the great  feedback I have received indicates it was!)

We have pretty much covered the effects of posture and exercise selection on the appearance of the abdominal wall, the next and final area will be the most difficult, so I have divided it into 2 parts (maybe 3) to allow for easier understanding & assimilation of the information.

He has CORRECT nutrition and learned what his body needs!

To start, you must understand and BELIEVE that nutrition has the MOST POWERFUL effect on your body composition, mental function, and appearance – MUCH MORE THAN EXERCISE EVER HAS OR WILL.  It comes down to some simple concepts: 1) “You are what you eat” & “you are what YOUR FOOD EATS!” 2) “you can’t build something from nothing”, and 3) the simple fact that the more times you perform an activity the greater impact it has on you.  Hence the title “You can’t make chicken salad from chicken s#it !”(Thanks to my friend Paul Chek for another great quote!)

She has NO CLUE what her body needs…..

When it comes to building lean muscle (which raises metabolism and decreases body fat), you can’t build muscle on poor nutrition; nutrition also affects mental function & concentration – ever try to study / solve problems when hungry or after too large a meal, and lastly, you only workout 2 -5x week on average, but you eat (or should eat) 4 -7x per day, making nutrition the most powerful tool you posses for changing your appearance because the more you perform an activity, the greater the number of chances to change your appearance positively or NEGATIVELY! (notice I am not  talking about sports performance, professional weight lifting etc all of which have technical & training aspects that are beyond the scope of this post, I am focusing solely on appearance).

Now, I am not going to go into calories in / out etc – there are numerous books & programs with that information (and most of it is useless anyway – calorie counting fails miserably and is only useful with the extreme morbidly obese) and we also don’t have several years to go into the effects of nutrition in preventing and recovering from illness & disease but that is a MAJOR role of nutrition – remember the first medicine was food! 

We are going to explore and reveal the effect of nutrition on: the muscles of the abdominal wall, abdominal distention & bloating, a little bit on low back pain, and the seldom discussed but EXTREMELY important concept of food allergies & intolerances.

I will also not dispute the concept of reducing calories, moving more and losing weight as a result. However most people DO NOT want to lose weight, they want to lose FAT!!! – THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE!

Low calories for too long decreases your metabolism, hormone output and eventually muscle tissue while increasing fat stores resulting  in the “Skinny fat” body typeyou weigh less, are a smaller size BUT HAVE HIGHER LEVELS OF BODY FAT and are usually weak & lethargic – think skinny women with flabby “grandma arms” and lots of loose skin i.e “Skinny FAT!”  High amounts of stress and processed, packaged foods greatly accelerate this process.

avid aerobic exerciser

Weight is a number on the scale. It is a composite of: bone, muscle, fat, water, blood, organs, nerves, and connective tissues. Of those listed you only want to lose FAT!  The right nutrition combined with proper exercise (NOT aerobics – they decrease muscle, water and in some cases bone) will favor a body composition of more lean muscle and lower body fat – provided you are not ill or suffering hormonal imbalances (another topic beyond this post).

I want to focus on those that have: soft, bloated abdomens i.e. “pooch bellies” & ” Beer guts”,overall swelling & fluid retention and those that can’t seem to lose abdominal fat even though they have a normal hormonal profile and are considered generally healthy. In many of these cases you are suffering from either food allergies or intolerances.  By constantly consuming foods you are allergic to you produce swelling in the body, abdominal distention due to inhibition of the deep abdominal muscles, and an inability to decrease body fat in the abdominal region.

Many foods can cause mild to severe reactions and I do not mean skin reactions (although they are possible) some signs that you are consuming foods that you can not digest and are allergic to or intolerant of : abdominal swelling / distention, joint pain, headaches, elevated heart rate, lethargy or falling asleep, mental confusion or “brain fog”, nausea, gas, indigestion, diarrhea – any reaction that is not considered normal or healthy. The faster and more severe the symptoms, the greater the allergy or intolerance to a food.

Now many of you are saying this is B.S. and you eat everything and never get any symptoms but are still fat & swollen – it is because your allergy / intolerance started when you were an infant (most infants are born with the nutritional intolerance of the parents, especially the mother) and you have become desensitized to the foods effects over time i.e you no longer sense the reactions to the allergy  / intolerance or regard them as abnormal.  Over time you come to believe that being lethargic, achy, bloated , mentally sluggish is your NORMAL STATE! A great way to prove this is the “challenge test” – you take a suspected food out of your diet for 2 weeks (NO CHEATING!!!) and then you add it back in, and if you have any of the symptoms listed, you are allergic / intolerant of the food. The difference being the severity of the reaction, intolerances are mild, allergies are severe reactions, in between the two are delayed or “hidden” food allergies that are always inflammatory conditions involving the immune system – these tend to cause the most abdominal bloating & swelling.

As always I don’t expect you to take my word for any of this, so here are 2 links to some excellent books written by medical doctors:

The complete guide to food  allergies & intolerance – Jonathan Brostoff, M.D.

“Your hidden food allergies are making you FAT!! – Rudy Rivera, M.D.

I also highly recommend the work of Eric Serrano M.D. and Jonny Bowden, Phd.

So besides the a fore mentioned negative physical effects of food allergies,  I want to finish this post with a explanation of how these food allergies directly affect the appearance of the abdominal wall. The greatest inhibition to muscle contraction is “pain”!! When you have pain in your body, you alter the way you move your muscles to avoid pain ex. limping – this is pain inhibition.

The next important concept to understand is that it is a documented medical fact that the body DOES NOT distinguish between pain & inflammation. What this means is that the brain experiences pain & inflammation as the same sensation and RESPONDS IN THE EXACT SAME WAY TO EACH STIMULUS.

We have known for almost 100 years that the organs in your body share the same nerves as the muscles to communicate problems,. Here’s an example: when you have a heart attack, you experience pain in the muscles on the left side of the body, not in the heart itself, this is because the organs don’t have a well developed neurological pathway for communication. This is known as a viscerosomatic reflex and is key to understanding how nutrition effects the appearance of the abdomen.

Image above: Viscerosomatic and Somatovisceral Reflexes. Due to the organization of the spinal cord, pain sensations from skin, muscles and other tissues external to the viscera are delivered to the grey matter of the spinal cord via spinal nerve roots. Visceral sensation is delivered to the gray matter via sympathetic nerves. Upon entering the spinal cord at Lamina I and V, pain impulses from spinal nerves (skin, muscles, ligaments, etc.) converge with pain impulses from viscera and are sent to the brain via a common interneuron. It is because of the convergence upon a common ascending interneuron that pain perception at the cortical level is often not localized to the specific tissue responsible for generating the pain impulses. It is this mechanism that is responsible for the commonly experienced musculoskeletal pains secondary to visceral pains such as left arm pain during heart attack (Ref. Correlative Neuroanatomy 20th Ed. J. deGroot & J.G. Chusid. Pub. Lange 1988)

For a more detailed explanation of this please refer to:

Symptoms of Visceral Disease – A Study of The Vegetative Nervous System and It’s Relationship to Clinical Medicine – Francis M. Pottenger, Sr. M.D.

So by now you are probably asking “What the hell does this have to do with my bloated abdomen?” – answer, “EVERYTHING!!”

When you eat an offending food, you can’t properly digest the food and the small intestine becomes inflamed i.e. it reacts as if its in PAIN!!!. This pain sensation is treated as a viscerosomatic reflex and we get pain inhibition of the muscles shared by the small intestine, which just happen to be the muscles of the deep abdominal wall!!

So, we eat foods that we are allergic to, we get a viscerosomatic reflex followed by pain inhibition of the abdominal wall i.e we “shut off” the deep abdominal muscles. the result? a soft, weak, inhibited abdominal wall that protrudes forward!!! The more pain we have, the worse the inhibition. Many of these foods along with stress & alcohol  also cause  “leaky gut” syndrome which promotes capillary leakage of fluid into the spaces between our cells, this is a PRIME cause of the rippled, dimply appearance of cellulite!!  Here’s a picture to help explain this:

Pay attention to where the nerves cross in the spinal cord. The deep abdominal muscle (transverse abdominus), the pelvic floor and the multifidus (low back stabilization muscles)  all SHARE the same nerves!

Food allergies / intolerances NOT ONLY shut down the abdomen but the low back stabilizers as well – RESULTING IN LOW BACK PAIN IN MANY PEOPLE THAT IS NOT CURABLE BY DRUGS, SURGERY OR EXERCISE!!! In these people, the only way to turn on and strengthen the low back & abdominal muscles is TO CLEAN ALL THE OFFENDING FOODS OUT OF THEIR DIET!!!

I know many of you may be in disbelief, especially if you think you have incurable back pain but remember what Sir Francis Bacon said

If we are to achieve results never before attained, we must attempt methods never before tried.”

Many of you must be wondering by now “what are the foods we allergic to?” –  Well it is very individual and requires blood and or “challenge” tests – I will go in to more detail next post with links to qualified labs etc. But for now here are the 3 most common food allergies in the USA:  Gluten (found in most breads, pasta, cereal, and NON-grass fed beef ), Pasteurized Dairy, and SOY !!! (Soy is NOT A HEALTH FOOD!!)

The final things that are a MAJOR cause of abdominal bloating, swelling, and weight gain are prescription & OTC medical drugs – Read the fine print of the instructions and inserts that come with most drugs – abdominal upset, nausea, and weight gain are commonly listed as side effects!!


We must address the problem from the inside / out!!  If we desire  PERMANENT change!!

You cannot flatten the abdomen on the “Standard American Diet” – S.A.D.  because it is full of C.R.A.P.

C arbohydrates

R efined sugar

A dditives

P reservatives








Next –  The Abdominal Exercise Myths- Part 4B:

” So what the hell can I eat?? – Tips for fast, effective label reading  & shopping!”

Until next time, Stay Healthy, Stay Fit – STAY AWAY FROM FAST FOOD!


For those that want fat loss programs that work FAST and are based on healthy foods, here are some products that I have used with my clients and endorse:


REMEMBER:  MY 4 week “Skiing from the Inside / Out !” pre-season conditioning & injury prevention class begins on Tuesday Oct. 20th at The Adult School of Montclair – click here for info & to register:

Skiing from the Inside / Out ! – with Gordon Waddell, PES,CSCS,CES

P.S. If you would be interested in attending a “hands-on” Abdominal training workshop with me, e-mail me or post a comment and if we get enough people I will do it “live” for all of you – just let me know!

** Special Thanks to Paul Chek & The C.H.E.K. institute for the viscerosomatic reflex & abdominal wall diagrams and info!

Follow all of the “Abdominal Myths Series”- Just click the links below:

The Abdominal Exercise Myths or “I do 200 crunches a day and I’m still fat, and now my neck hurts?” – Part 1

The Abdominal Exercise Myths – Part 2 or “What do you mean I stand funny and have a big @$S !”

The “Abdominal Myths – Part 3A ” What do you mean ‘The crunch machine’ at the gym is useless and causing my back pain?”

The Abdominal Exercise Myths – 3B “Crunch-FREE Exercises for Rock Hard Abs & a Solid Steel Spine!”

The Abdominal Exercise Myths-Part 4A “You can’t make chicken salad from chicken s#it!” – The role of nutrition in abdominal function

The Abdominal Exercise Myths 4B- ” So what the hell can I eat?? – Tips for fast, effective label reading & shopping!”

The Abdominal Myths 4C- Why Soy is NOT a health food! or “The DANGERS OF SOY and why my SON has BREASTS!!!!”

The Abdominal Myths 4D – The Problem with Pasteurized dairy, food allergies & addictions OR Why we need RAW Dairy in N.J.



1. Joseph Campisi - September 28, 2009

An article in the March 2009 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition substantiates that junk food causes abdominal inflammation, and that the inflammation persists for many weeks even when you stop eating the junk food:
…chronic consumption of fried foods, such as potato chips, sharply increases inflammation. Foods exposed to high heat during cooking contain acrylamides: toxic chemicals linked to the proinflammatory state. Investigators recruited 14 healthy subjects who consumed approximately six ounces of potato chips daily for one month. Potato chips have a relatively high acrylamide content. At the end of the study period, various markers of oxidative stress and inflammation, including oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-sensitivity interleukin-6, and plasma high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP), were significantly increased in all subjects. Four weeks after the end of the study, inflammation markers “decreased to some extent,” researchers noted.

fitmontclair - September 28, 2009

Hi Joe,

Thanks for the reply, REALLY glad that there is some peer reviewed research supporting the role of food in abdominal inflammation. I hope to include some info in the next post on food allergens, inflammation, and the activation of the “complement system” in the body and how this leads to chronic pain & inflammation of not only the abdomen, but the joints and often mimics autoimmune diseases.

The lay researchers and some practitioners get great results with elimination and rotation diets, but it often takes 6 or more months of no offending foods to heal the lining of the stomach & small intestine and during this time they also need high grade pro-biotics.

In many cases it requires a detox, similar to coming off drugs and an addiction specialist to help the person because they have been eating these foods for years (sometimes their entire life) and there are MASSIVE chemical, emotional, physiological, and psychological addictions to the foods that are causing the problems – that will be a very interesting post if I ever get to it

Thanks again!


2. mold allergy symptoms - June 24, 2011

Hello, I stumbled on this site from stumbleupon. It is not blog post I would normally read, but I liked your spin on it. Thanks for creating something worth reading!

fitmontclair - July 2, 2011

Thanks for taking the time to read the blog & comment! I apologize for the delay in my reply but this comment was in the spam filter. I am a glad you consider it worth reading, please feel free to forward it to anyone you think it can help. I hope to have new posts and LOTS of NEW info coming soon! If you have any questions just post them here or e-mail me and I will be happy to answer them.

Have a great day!


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