I first came across Brad Gouthro about a year ago while I was surfing around on the net looking for pictures to use in my then new blog. While looking around I stumbled on a few pictures of a guy I felt had one of the most impressive lean bodies around.
Brad and I have kept in touch a bit here and there, in fact he granted me permission to use his image on our official Twitter page. His knowledge of all things fitness have made him one of the most sought after fitness models and trainers not only in Canada but beyond as well.
Brad Gouthro took some time from his busy schedule to share with us his knowledge on fitness, exercise and diet in this interview. He also talked a bit about his new book which I have been waiting for some time titled, “Awaken The Abs Within.”
Hi Brad, thanks for taking some time to do this interview. I have been looking forward to seeing you release a book for quite some time. What inspired you and made you want to write your book, “Awaken the Abs Within.”
Hi Sam, it’s great talking with you again. I was inspired to write Awaken The Abs Within based on the feedback from people struggling to live a healthier lifestyle. There were two common denominators in talking with all of these people. Number one: they were confused with all the conflicting information about how to get in shape. Number two: they were frustrated by the lack of results and the sustainability of these mass marketed crash diets and fitness programs. No one wants to go on a starvation diet and do countless hours of cardio (especially since they don’t provide long-term results). The thing that hit home for me was I experienced this same confusion and frustration first hand during my own journey to a healthier lifestyle. To help clear up all this confusion, I’ve literally downloaded everything that has worked for me and my clients in this book. It’s my hope that other people can take what I’ve learned and apply it to their current situation to create a sustainable, long-term healthy lifestyle.
You weren’t always ripped and with hard abs. In fact, when I saw your before and after (now) pictures it is safe to say that you have come a long way. What was the biggest struggle for you in your early years? What were you doing wrong?
The biggest struggle I faced earlier on was eating the wrong foods and focusing on the wrong types of exercises. Like most people, I thought the best way to lose belly fat was to cut the amount of food I ate and eat “low fat” food. I would also spend hours on the cardio machines and spend most of my time on the gym floor doing crunches. I obviously was doing it all wrong. I started seeing results once I realized I needed to eat the right types of foods, in the right quantities, at the right time. I call this the TQT nutrition principle and cover it in detail in Awaken The Abs Within. I also realized I needed to focus on exercises that created the best fat burning metabolic and hormonal response in the body. These exercise are also included in Awaken The Abs Within.
When it comes to getting 6 pack abs a lot of people focus on crunches or sit ups. What is the primary factor that will help anyone achieve awesome looking abs?
We all have abs. The problem is the thick layer of belly fat the accumulates after years of poor nutrition and lack of moving your body. So the first step to get six pack abs and a flat stomach is to lose the belly fat. This is accomplished via proper nutrition, performing the right metabolic and hormonal fat burning exercises, and HIIT cardio. Crunches and sit ups do not create enough of a caloric burn to help burn belly fat, therefore, they are essentially a waste of time if you currently have too much belly fat. Once you drop enough belly fat, it is then time to focus on direct ab training exercises to sculpt the abdominal section.
When someone uses the word “diet” they think of starving or eating bland food but in your free report you mention eating several times a day and eating often. How is it possible to eat several meals per day and yet burn fat at the same time?
I’ll try not to get to technical with this answer. Although you’re eating more frequently, your calorie count does not increase. The amount of calories in every meal just gets smaller. Eating more frequently helps create a fat burning metabolic and hormonal response in the body. In order for your metabolism to operate at peak efficiency, it requires a constant supply of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, water, and amino acids. When your body doesn’t receive these nutrients in a timely manner, your metabolic rate can slow down and your blood sugar levels can drop, which usually causes people to go on a junk food binge. Eating more frequently also activates the leptin hormone. The higher the quantity of active leptin in the body, the more potential the body has to burn fat.
You also talk about foods that many would consider healthy but in reality is totally the opposite. Is it safe to say that often it is just a matter of making some tweaks in our diets in order to see progress?
That’s right. A large portion of Awaken The Abs Within covers nutrition. Even if you never pick up a dumbbell, the nutrition strategies alone will get you results. I mentioned my TQT formula earlier. The real problem with people’s diets is they are eating the wrong types of foods, in the wrong quantities, at the wrong times. The book takes you step by step through the TQT formula and allows you to create your very own customized nutrition plan based on your current health condition and lifestyle requirements. The book outlines all the proper fat loss foods to focus on, the right quantities of these foods you should be eating, and the right times you should be eating them. It’s simple to do and guaranteed to bring results.
What is the biggest mistake you see often when someone is trying to lose weight?
The biggest mistake is when people make too many drastic changes to their lifestyle that are not sustainable and maintainable over the long-term. This can include starving themselves and doing countless hours of boring cardio every day. All the secrets I reveal in Awaken The Abs Within are meant to create a healthy long-term lifestyle that anyone, regardless of sex, age, or fitness level, can implement. This is not a short-term fad program.
(Brad Gouthro showing his ripped body-this photograph has gone on to appear here in this blog and in popular fitness products)
Someone looks at you and probably thinks that you spend several hours per day in the gym. How long is it necessary to exercise per day to get a great body and great abs?
I only spend about 45-60 minutes in the gym. Rest and recovery is often the missing link in getting results. This is why the cardio programs I designed in Awaken The Abs Within take no more than 20 minutes and the workouts last between 45-60 minutes.
It is common seeing women and men avoid strength training and focusing more on cardio when trying to burn fat. Is this a mistake?
As mentioned earlier, this is a big mistake. Too much cardio can actually have the opposite effect to lose fat. This is because excessive cardio can burn muscle and spike the production of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is the stress hormone that can literally eat away at muscle. Muscle is the key metabolic driver of the body meaning the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn every day. The last thing you want to do, if your goal is to lose fat, is to burn muscle for energy. Building and maintaining lean muscle is key to burning fat for life.
Finally, a lot of people may be reading this and have lost faith that they can get lean, get sexy abs and burn fat. Any words of advice and motivation for the readers?
Just remember there are so many real world examples of people that were in much worse condition than you currently are in, and they have turned there life around by following a plan and taking action. Awaken The Abs Within can work for anyone regardless of sex, age, or fitness level. Implementing the nutrition strategies alone can create incredible results. It all starts with first believing that you can do it. Once you believe, everything else will fall into place if you take action.
Yours in Health & Fitness,
Author, Awaken The Abs Within
Certified Fitness Trainer
Certified Nutrition & Wellness Specialist