Playgirl asked me to pose nude in their magazine on Christmas Day. It was via a text message and it simply said hey merry xmas pics r gr8 when can you come to LA?
When I moved to Miami, the last thought in my mind would be becoming a model, let alone a centerfold in Playgirl magazine. Two years earlier, I first stepped into a gym, admittedly out of boredom. That seemingly simple act would serve to change not only my appearance, but my life.
So when Playgirl confirmed that they wanted to photograph me for their magazine, you could just imagine how validated I felt. After all, not only was I once overweight, but I spent most of my time behind a desk, working in a bank and living in New Jersey.
The Playgirl photo shoot was scheduled for February 14th, Valentine's Day. I had a little less than two months to make a perfect impression. I wasn't concerned about appearing nude. I wanted to make sure, I had abs. A six-pack that I would be proud of and would live forever in the printed and -- as I would later realize -- online archives of Playgirl magazine.
There is no "secret" to getting six pack abs. Six pack abs do not require costly operations nor are they reserved for male models and celebrities. Everyone already has six pack abs (some ten). Making them visible comes primarily from eating a proper diet.
The saying, "you have to spend money to make money" can be applied to losing weight, "you need to eat to lose weight." The human body is designed to protect us. Our mind guides us with thoughts that serve to advise when making decisions. Just the same, when we are sick, our body produces antibodies to attack the infection and when we don't eat, our body goes into starvation mode, hoarding calories so when we do eat, we gain weight instead of losing. Adopt the familiar formula of burning more calories than you consume but make sure that the calories you do consume are a combination of high protein and good carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables). These foods will serve as the caloric fuel for your abs muscle-building exercises.
Six pack abs do not happen overnight. Patience, perseverance and a great deal of effort is required. Abs are 90% diet and 10% exercise (mostly cardio). And to prepare for my Playgirl photo shoot, I diligently followed a strict eating plan; a diet high in fiber, low in sodium and absolutely no dairy (except yogurt).
The Men's Health Abs Diet was my foundation. It served as my guide, helping me to lose abdominal weight and the stubborn body fat around my mid-section. To this day, I still follow the meal plans outlined in that orange book however, I have discovered that there are several other foods and exercises that are not only as effective as the Men's Health Abs Diet, but also serve to accommodate the lives of busy people, unused to preparing a home-cooked meal.
The following foods are superb for defining your six pack abs. All of these are personal recommendations. In addition, you should consume the required eight glasses of water a day. If water is not that appealing, try tea. My personal favorite is ITO EN's varieties of pure green teas.
Perfect Playgirl Six Pack Abs Foods
At least four servings a day of these fiber rich and good carb foods: broccoli, carrots, spinach and/or Brussels sprouts. I recommend Birds Eye® or Whole Foods' 365 brands. Each bag contains approximately four and a half servings. Steam the entire bag for no more than eight minutes (vegetables should be crunchy). Eat either for lunch or dinner.
Four to six servings of food protein. This can include chicken, tuna, eggs or any other protein rich real-food. StarKist® Chunk Light Tuna comes in a handy package that provides three protein servings (13g). Combine with rice and chick peas (additional protein) for a delicious meal. Major grocers sell their own brand of frozen chicken tenderloins. No need to thaw. Simply wash and sauté in a sauce pan with light, cold-pressed olive oil, onions and seasoning (I use cilantro and smoked paprika) to taste. Chicken is cooked once the meat is no longer pink. Immediately remove from the heat to avoid over cooking (and destroying the protein -- which most mediocre restaurants do, fyi).
Three servings of beans and legumes. Mix it up a bit with canned varieties. Try Goya's chick peas, black beans, read beans or lentils.
Substitute your dairy with either hemp milk or almond milk. I enjoy Living Harvest's Vanilla Hemp. Avoid conventional brands of yogurt. They contain high amounts of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. I like Fage's Total yogurt and Chobani's Greek yogurt. Both low fat varieties.
Drink a whey protein shake twice a day. Not all protein powders are equal. For zero bloating and discomfort, I recommend Vital Whey or Rainbow Light whey protein. I also mix one scoop of hemp protein powder into my protein shakes. Try Manitoba Harvest's Certified Organic Hemp Protein. Although it only contains 10g per serving, Manitoba Harvest hemp protein is high in fiber and Omegas.
If you are pressed for time, traveling frequently or simply hate to cook, you can still get your daily servings of vegetables and nutrients. There are many good vegetable "food" powders available. My absolute favorites are Vega Whole Food Health Optimizer and Garden of Life's Perfect Food (also available in caplet form). Incidentally, Vega was my food of choice during the Romantic Times Romance Novel Book Cover Model competition in Orlando.
Feel free to contact me for original recipes using these high-protein foods that will help you to get ready for your Playgirl photo shoot. Remember, avoid being over ambitious. Everything takes time. You can read more about my Playgirl photo shoot here.
About Stefan Pinto
Fitness model, Stefan Pinto was was once over 50lbs overweight. His motivation to lose weight manifested by doing something different and persevering through informed dieting and exercise. Stefan Pinto advocates weight loss with a combination of proper nutrition and effective, daily exercise. Stefan Pinto was the August 2007 Playgirl Centerfold. He can be reached on Twitter @stefanpinto or at http://www.pintofactory.com.