The Core: Trim and Tighten
In preparation for this year’s bathing suit season, now is the perfect time to take action to bring your midsection back from holiday land and ready for your suit. Exercises for the core have always been a popular choice (Who doesn’t want “6-pack” abs?!). If you’re yearning to see your love handles and muffin tops disappear, here are my tips for effective chiseling:
1- Know your muscles. In the midsection, three muscle groups are present: the rectis abdominis (this is the 6-pack muscle!) the internal and external obliques (diagonal muscles that help you bend and twist) and the lesser known, but really important muscle, the transverse abdominis.
Training the transverse abdominis is one reason why Pilates became so popular. While the first two muscles are what people typically see, it is the transverse abdominis that holds in your organs. A smooth muscle underneath the other two, it acts like a belt around your midsection. If you train it to tighten, it will reduce inches around your waist.
One of the best ways is to pull your belly button to your spine while you’re performing ab exercises. That way the muscles learn to pull IN instead press OUT. This in turn will tighten your midsection.
2- Weight loss happens everywhere. We all wish we could have weight come off in our problem area. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. The body sheds weight everywhere and whatever your best feature was growing up, that’s where you will see the change first. That problem spot? Yes, it will probably be the last place you’ll see it. I know that is a bummer, but once you’ve accepted that reality it will help with your expectations. If your “trouble spot” is your midsection, just be patient about seeing results.
3- Accelerate results with your diet. Hit your core on two fronts: strengthen with exercises AND reduce your added sugars and refined carbs . Studies show when storing extra calories, the body places those unused sugars and carb calories around the waist. Because of hormonal changes, post-menopausal women will see the midsection become a favorite spot for extra calories. Choosing whole grains and foods with fiber will help reduce your refined intake and help your waistline! Replace any snacks or refined foods with foods that keep your blood sugar steady (i.e. not refined). Take a look here to see how your foods rank: glycemic index.
4- Just be consistent. Start where are you are and work from there. In the video below, our demo athlete makes each move look easy. I give you permission to not look like her! Just do what you can, consistently, and you’ll see your strength and form improve over time.
Some of our athletes have tagged Fridays as “Ab day Friday”. They spend 10-15 min after class choosing one of the workouts below and go through it. Pick a day that works for you and designate it as your ‘ab day”. The 10 min you invest in tightening your core will be well worth it when the new bathing suits hit the stores.
Note: As a fitness coach, it is my highest priority to keep my clients motivated and on track despite obstacles, distractions and just human nature. I work hard to determine what motivates each client and how much grace and truth they need to move forward. We all need a supportive environment to maintain healthy lifestyle and habits. If you are searching for that kind of environment, check out what we do here at CrossFit 1088: Hosted by Blue Wave Fit, where our mission is to bring CrossFit to All Ages. http://www.bluewavefitocala.com or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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