Nutrition Tips for a Lean, Healthy Core

Matt Wilhelm 1By Joe Buda

Las Vegas Informer

A lean, healthy core is a sign of fitness in both men and women. You can turn on the television at any time and see infomercials for abdominal exercise machines promising to give you six-pack abs.

Why is the core such an important part of the body?

According to personal trainer Matt Wilhelm, it is because the core is the holy grail of fitness.

It is important to understand that the core is more than the abdominal muscles. It goes 360 degrees around your body. The rectus abdominis muscles represent the front-side core. Around the sides of the body are the obliques. These sit underneath your love handles, if you have them. And finally, around back, are the rectus spinae muscle groups.

“It (a strong core) will make you better at whatever you do,” Wilhelm explained. “f you’re an athlete you’ll be a better football player or a better baseball player.”

“In everyday life, the core is is what keeps you centered, what keeps you balanced and strong as well,” Wilhelm added.

“It’s what everybody wants. It is so important (to people) because it is so hard to attain. Maybe five percent of people actually have a flat, tones stomach.”

One popular question Wilhelm gets asked is what is more important for a lean, healthy core: nutrition or exercise.

“This is a question that everybody asks, they want to know but they don’t really want to know,” Wilhelm stated. “Because 100% the answer is going to be your nutrition.”

According to Wilhelm, people are looking for a simple answer, a miracle exercise, but there is no miracle exercise.

“You can do two hours of core exercises a day and still not bring your stomach down,” Wilhelm explained. “Nutrition. It is what separates the men from the boys in terms of having a good, tight stomach or six-pack.”

In order to fix your nutritional intake, Wilhelm offered the following tips.

Protein-based diet

First, have a protein-based diet. A minimum of one gram of protein for every pound of body weight per day should suffice. If you are doing a lot of weight training every week, you might want to bump that up to one-and-a-half grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.

“Protein is very important because the body has to work a lot harder to digest protein, so I get this thermogenic effect where I’ll be burning more calories digesting protein,” Wilhelm explained.

“Protein leaves you feeling more full, more satisfied throughout the day. You’ll be less apt to go for cheats, like a doughnut or a cookie.”

Also, concentrating on protein intake versus the total number of calories being eaten per day is a lot easier, and this, more likely to be followed.

Meal frequency

Second, Wilhelm suggests increasing meal frequency to six times per day.

That does not necessarily mean eating more, just break it down into six smaller meals, such as four meals and two shakes.

“It (six small meals) really amps up your metabolic rate,” Wilhelm stated. “It creates an internal furnace that is like a blazing fire burning through calories and stored fat. It is almost too easy that it can be effective.”

Wilhelm suggests trying this for two weeks straight.

“You’ll see some really significant things happen to your body,” Wilhelm remarked.

Eat the right foods

Third, eat the right foods.

Wilhelm suggested, “Stick with foods found in nature. You’ll be on your way to a better core, firmer tighter stomach.”

“Utilize foods that are found in nature, in their natural state,” Wilhelm added. “Make sure the carbs you eat are healthier carbs. With carbs, there is good, better, best. The good, the bad and the ugly.”

“Carbs that are found in nature include  brown rice, quinoa and oatmeal. I would even go further and say steel cut oats over rolled oats because they are less processed.” These natural carbs are slower digesting.

Another slower digesting carbohydrate Wilhelm recommends is sweet potatoes.

For proteins, go with the lean meats, such as fish, lean turkey and chicken breast. Lean ground beef and steak are also good choices.

“Lean meats will put you on the right track to having the right source of foods.”

For fats, utilize healthy fats, such as avocados.

One tip Wlhelm made for cooking, use coconut oil. And don’t worry about your food tasting like coconut, because it won’t.


Fourth, use good supplementation to go along with eating right.

According to Wilhelm, the first supplement you’ll want to invest in is a good whey protein supplement, but not just any one, get one that is based on a whey isolate.

“The only think I would look at in the ingredients is make sure it is a whey isolate. A lot of cheaper proteins will be in a whey concentrate form,” Wilhelm remarked. “The difference between an isolate and a concentrate is fixability and digestibility. Whey concentrate is a type of protein that doesn’t digest as quickly or as efficiently as a whey isolate. You might make a shake and have a stomach ache after.”

Another good supplement is an Omega-3 fatty acid.

“These are going to help burn fat. If you aren’t eating a fatty fish three times a week, I’d supplement Omega-3’s,” Wilhelm explained. “You can get it in the form of fish oil. There’s also a vegetarian brands of Omega 3’s. How is that possible? How do the fish get the Omega-3’s? Plant eating. So you go right to the source and get plant-based Omega-3’s.”

Use calcium as calcium intake reduces body fat over time. Wilhelm suggests 1000 mg per day with a D3 component.

Finally, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is a supplement that has shown positive results for weight loss in tests. According to Wilhelm, “a control group took CLAs for six months and lost six pounds of body fat versus the control group that did not take the CLAs.”

“It is something that slowly over time will help you lose body fat. It is not a get rich quick supplement.”

Wilhelm suggested the CLAs as “Everything adds up. You might as well be using as many good principles as possible to reap the biggest results.”

Following the above tips to clean up your nutrition will go a long way helping you to achieve your goal for a lean, healthy core.

For more information on Matt Wilhelm, follow him on Instagram @wilhelmfit. He can also be reached via e-mail at or via telephone at (320) 339-0033.

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