Stefan Pinto's abs

Stefan Pinto altered his appearance and his life by exercising in the gym, adopting a new diet, and losing 60 pounds. In a Whole Foods supermarket, a model scout saw him and offered him a new career. Within 2 1/2 years of beginning this changeover, he was a Playgirl centerfold. You can read his story in an earlier post. And he was mentioned recently in The New York Times . Below is the diet he recommends to shed those unwanted pounds.

Playgirl asked me to pose nude in their magazine on Christmas Day, 2006. 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.

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 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 have 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…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 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 green tea.

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. Combine with rice and chick peas (additional protein) for a delicious meal. Simply saute in a sauce pan with 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 chick peas, black beans, red beans or lentils.

Substitute your dairy with either hemp milk or almond milk. 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.

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.

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.

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