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Becoming An Ab Expert

Britta Eliot

Ask Markus Kaulius what inspired him to perfect his chiseled midsection and you’ll get an unlikely answer: Instead of a famous bodybuilder – Arnold himself comes to mind – Kaulius names author Malcolm Gladwell, whose writing appears in the high-brow New Yorker.

“The gist of his book, Outliers, is that you need to spend 10,000 hours doing something if you want to master it,” Kaulius says.

“When I read that I knew I wanted to master my abs.”

It’s safe to say he’s achieved his goal: at 37 Kaulius, who is also the president of supplement brand Magnum Nutraceuticals, has the sharply-defined abdomen of a young underwear model or Michelangelo sculpture.

In addition to being featured on numerous magazine covers, including Ironman and Muscle and Fitness, Kaulius now writes a monthly column for Muscle Insider magazine titled Phenomenal Abdominals. Yes, you read that correctly: an entire column devoted to one muscle group.

When he’s not writing about abs or perfecting his own, Kaulius is running Magnum Nutraceuticals, a high-end supplement brand whose rapid growth has seen it expand in recent years to places like Dubai, Russia and Egypt. The company has launched three new products this year alone, including Carne Diem, a highly sophisticated fat-burner whose ingredient list includes Russian Tarragon.

Kaulius said he launched Magnum after he noticed a serious need in the marketplace.

“There are just so many brands out there that don’t deliver because they don’t use quality ingredients. The supplement industry is so unregulated that you don’t know what you’re getting. Someone might have made it in their bathtub.”

By contrast, Magnum products are made in a pharmaceutically-licensed manufacturing facility and every ingredient is pharmaceutical grade. For those looking to mimic his shredded core, Kaulius says a good fat burner is crucial. Without it, you just won’t get those eye-popping cuts.

Diet is another big part of his abdominal success.

“The old saying is true. Abs are made in the kitchen, not just the gym,” Kaulius says.

That means a steady diet of chicken, yams and broccoli when he’s trying to get lean for a photo shoot. Quinoa, oatmeal and egg whites also feature prominently at mealtime. Kaulius admits it’s not for everyone.

“It sounds a little boring, but it works. When I’m getting ready for a shoot, I’ve trained myself to look at food as fuel. I’ve also learned to not care what other people think about it.”

In other words, he’s gotten used to saying ‘no’ to birthday cake and wouldn’t go near a french fry at gunpoint.

Of course, there’s no substitute for serious, no-hold-barred gym time, day after day, even on days he doesn’t feel like it.

“That’s where the 10,000 hours comes in,” he adds.

Kaulius also says important to be realistic about your goals. For him that means acknowledging that he has a long, lean body type that resists bulking up, and also that he’d rather be a bit smaller than risk his health by using steroids.

“I realized I will never be the biggest guy in the gym. Being a natural guy with tall-man genes, it just won’t happen. I decided I could be the most cut guy in the gym by dedicating more time to ab training than anyone else. If you practice anything enough, you can become an expert. If you practice it more than anyone else, you can be the best in the world.”

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