The holidays are over, the parties have wrapped, the food has been eaten, and the spirits have been consumed. Now you’re looking at that mid-section of yours or maybe you’re standing on the scale beating yourself up because the gluttony has added a few centimeters onto your waist or numbers onto the floor bound weight measurement tool. So, in response you’ve decided to add yourself to that ever growing list of names of that ever so popular resolution – lose weight and get in shape.
Well, first of all, stop beating yourself up, because it was the holidays, and you’re supposed to enjoy them. Now that they’re over, how do you get rid of that spare tire you gave yourself as a holiday gift to find the nirvana that’s known as 6 pack abs? I will tell you this – you already have those 6 pack abs. They’re just hidden right now, and the best way to find them is NOT with an ab workout!
Oh sure, you need to incorporate ab work into your workouts regularly, but doing so will really not burn any fat. You see, the point of an ab workout is to build your core = your midsection. And by building your core, you are strengthening your body’s ability to balance and hold itself upright which in turn will allow you to have better flexibility and agility to partake in other exercises which do cause the calorie burning machine to start churning quickly. Doing 100 crunches or sit-ups regularly will accomplish the core strengthening, but in order to lose fat, you need to incorporate other elements, specifically:
Regular Resistance and Cardio Respiratory Exercise with Diet
So you’ve made the commitment and you’re motivated, but now you’re at the gym, looking at all of these machines and free weights and wondering where do I start? And like most people, you don’t quite know the correct way to go about everything so while you start off motivated, you find that the motivation quickly turns to frustration, and you wind up quitting promising that you’ll start again after that special event or vacation and before you know it, it’s the holidays again, and round and around we go. Hey, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there at one time or another. But fortunately for you, you have me to give you a little help.
I see losing weight in percentages. Meaning your overall goal means 100%, but here is how it breaks down: 75% is diet and 25% is exercise. So, what do you need to do about the diet?
1. First is get rid of as much processed sugars as possible. My saying is “If it’s white, it ain’t right.” This means white bread, white rice, anything where either sugar or corn syrup is listed within the first 5-6 ingredients.
2. Secondly, replace bad fats with good ones…margarine for peanut or almond butter, pork bacon or sausage with turkey bacon or sausage, cheese crackers with almonds or pistachios, etc. Incorporate lots of lean meats, fruits and veggies.
3. More important than all of this is PORTION SIZE. While you read this, put your hand into a fist – that’s the size of your stomach. If your meal(s) or snack(s) fall beyond the size of your fist, put that portion away and eat it later. Yes, you can eat 6 – 8 times per day – in fact, I encourage it. Keep the machine fueled, but don’t weigh the machine down with a bunch of extra fuel you just don’t need at that moment.
Now for the other 25% – the exercise portion. If you’re not sure where to begin, I say begin with a class or if you can afford it, a personal trainer. I had no idea what to do in a gym as little as 10 years ago. So, upon a friend’s recommendation, I signed up for a boot camp class. Since then, I have not only learned what to do by trained professionals, I have run a marathon, competed in a body building competition and became a trained professional group and personal trainer. I’m not bragging. No, I’m simply saying that everybody has to start somewhere. So, my advice to the beginners out there is find some classes that look interesting at your gym or ask a friend what they might recommend.
Good places to start are body works and boot camp style classes, which should offer an ab workout during some portion of the class. Most gyms offer these types or similar classes. If you’re not sure of the difficulty level of the class, ask the staff at the gym or read about it on your gym’s website. Most gym classes are designed for all levels from beginners to advanced, and their website(s) should give you a quick description and difficulty level. If you’re a beginner now, stick with it, and you will become advanced.
I understand that this is a very basic overview of how to find those elusive ab muscles we all desire, and I would recommend additional research and discussions of your own, but at least now you have an idea of where to start and the murky abyss of weight loss will become a clear path. Happy 2013 – get to work!
About the Author: My name is Lando. I’m an e-commerce entrepreneur who recently became a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. In addition to my clients, I currently teach a boot camp style class and kickboxing for a major fitness company based here in California read more →
Adding an ab workout to your cardio routine doesn’t nave to take a lot of time. Spending 10 minutes on strengthening your core each time you exercise will add up to make a big difference. Our guest bloggers have provided us with two, short ab workouts that if performed regularly will give you great results.
Quick and Efficient Abs Workout
This is a challenging sit-up that can significantly add tone to the region while helping to shape the core muscles.
First suck your stomach in, flattening your back to the table or floor. Continue contracting these muscles this way until the legs begin to lift slightly off the table. The goal is to lift the legs using the abdominal muscles only.
Begin with 5 reps and increase daily to one set of 15. Then every other day, add a second and then a third set.
Ground cycling for your abs is where you do bicycle movements while laying down on the ground. This is among the most popular of the flat abdominal exercises for women. Ground cycling, also known as bicycle crunches, combined with controlled breathing will help tone both the lower and upper abs.
Try using this super shredding exercise for a set of incredible abs you love to show off!
The Ab Shredder
Even thinking about this exercise makes me feel sore. I had it dubbed the ab-shredder because it literally feels like someone is flailing my stomach with a cheese grater.
I start by lying down flat on my back (with my arms stretched out straight behind my head), I take a Swedish exercise and hold it between my feet. Keep it still, you don’t want it to fall out.
Then, I raise it straight up in the air so my legs are perpendicular to my body and the ball is directly above my midsection. I lift my hands flat up in the same direction and grab the ball. Then, I slowly lower my hands and legs at the same time so the ball has effectively been transferred.
Then, you do the same thing in reverse-raise your arms until they are perpendicular to your body, bring your legs up, and transfer the ball. These are killers and I can only do 15 before I want to cry, but they are the most effective ab workout I’ve ever done. I’ve gained a ton of strength this way, and the results look amazing!
This sequence is a tonic for great toned “Bikini” buttocks as well as building general strength and flexibility, calmness and a sense of wellbeing. It comes to us from Jane Ribinskas who is giving away a training package in our Swimsuit Ready Challenge.
Follow along with Jane who tells and shows us how to do this sequence:
“Virabhadrasana A” (Warrior) Sequence for “bikini Body” Buttocks
1. Start at the front of your mat with the soles of the palms together at the chest,the feet with the knuckles of the big toes together and the heels slightly apart then gently lift up through your heart.
2. Next breathe in through your nose with a slow even breath as you take the arms over head until the palms meet. Next as you exhale step back with the right leg to creating a lunge and you’ll be on the ball of the right foot. Gently work the heel into the mat so it’s a good stretch for you. Whilst you’re there draw up the right glute and gaze up to you’re palms (if your neck is sensitive gaze straight ahead. Make sure your shoulders are gently drawing down to the earth whilst you draw the navel to the spine and connect your pelvic floor for a subtle ab workout too. Keep the breath steady and even in and out through the nose whilst in holding in the posture for around 5 x breaths.
3. On the next exhalation press through the palms(good for toned arms)and take arms sideways as you fold forward down to the mat.
Once both palms are on the mat…
…take the left leg back so you’ll meet the right foot with the feet hips width apart into downward dog or in Sanskrit “Adho Mukha svanasana”.
4, Then breath in and take the right leg up in the air with the toe pointed engaging the glute.
Hold for 3-5 in-out breaths on the last out breath bring the leg through to the front in a lunge. As you breathe in take the arms up over head until the palms meet. You could repeat this sequence either side of the body from 5-20 times. Remember to also keep your pelvic floor muscles engaged throughout the sequence. This will work abs and buttocks in sync.
Swimsuit Ready Challenge
This exercise is part of our Swimsuit Ready Challenge (April 2-30, 2012). Do this exercise and comment below “I did this!” to be entered to win our $100 and $50 giveaways. You may enter up to one time per day through April 30th.
Also – be sure to share this on Facebook, Pinterest and other sites to let your friends cheer you on or – better yet – join in on the challenge so they can hang out on the beach with you this summer! read more →
Before you head out for the weekend… time for one more ab-blasting exercise. And this one is going to earn you a break for the weekend!
In the interest of full disclosure – we got pics of Rach doing the two advanced versions, and though we thought she did well – we’ll agree that the pictures were less than “pretty” – so we let her off the hook and didn’t put the photos up.
This exercise from Kerry Ann King seems easy at first – but try to hold it for a while, and you’ll feel the burn kick in! This move proves that you don’t have to get to the gym every day to have great looking abs – you just have to get into those abs!
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