September: All About Abs!
It is no surprise that the abdominal area takes the brunt of the punishment during pregnancy. It also seems to be the area that we, as women, pack on pounds the easiest. However, there seems to be this misconception that a kick butt ab workout every day is a sure way to bring out our inner six pack.
No Spot Reducing!
Now, I know many of you are wondering how you can get rid of that poochy lower belly that seems to be left behind after pregnancy. You may not realize that the abdominal muscles are not divided into upper and lower muscles. The Rectus Abdominis is one long continuous muscle that runs down the middle of you torso. Unfortunately, you can’t spot reduce. Relying on ab exercises to shrink that tummy is exactly what you would be trying to do. That’s just not how our bodies work…you must reduce your overall body fat to get rid of that oh so dreaded lower pooch! Yes, ab exercises will increase their strength and size but you will never see them as long as they are hidden under a layer of fat!
Although the best way to bring out those beautiful abs is to reduce your body fat through a combination of a healthy diet, strength training and cardio; this doesn’t mean an ab workout doesn’t deserve a special place in your workout regimen.
The muscles of your core are a critical power source. It’s where your body transfers force between your upper and lower body. A strong midsection is essential for everyday function… from walking, bending, and sitting to carrying around the baby, hulling all the baby equipment and preventing back injury.
Give 'em a Break!
Your abdominal muscles are like any other muscle. Just like your biceps, your abs need time to recover, build and grow. As a general rule, give them 2-3 days of rest…they should never be trained on consecutive days. I like to hit my abs 2-3 times a week. Twice a week I work them into my circuit strength training and, once a week, I dedicate a workout just to them (my fav kick butt ab workouts coming soon!).
How Many Reps…Quality over Quantity!
I can’t stress this enough…your abs are like any other muscles. They should fatigue anywhere between 10-15 reps for long lean muscles and 5-8 reps when focusing on size. Contrary to popular belief, 300 consecutive crunches is just a waste of your precious time. Slow it down, add some weight, watch your form and avoid using momentum…no bouncing!
Don't Play Favorites
The same ab workout routine week-in and week-out will inevitably lead to a plateau…so mix it up! Also, make sure you hit all sections of your core. While all your abdominal muscles will be recruited for each exercise, there are exercises that require more effort from certain sections of your abs. So switch back and forth between different exercises so that your hit all sections.
- Rectus Abdominis… long muscle that runs down the front of your torso from your lower chest to your torso. AKA your “six pack”.
Suggested Exercise: Slow-Mo Scissors, Ball Crunches, Heals-2-Heaven, In-n-outs
- External Obliques…run along your rib cage next to your rectus abdominus. They are responsible for any twisting motion of your torso
Suggested Exercise: side plank with oblique twist, crossover crunch
- Internal Obliques… pair of deep muscles that lie under your external obliques traveling in the opposite direction of your external obliques. The opposing muscles work in unison to perform twisting motions
Suggested Exercise: side plank with oblique twist, Crossover Crunch
- Transverse Abdominis (TVA)…your deepest abdominal muscle. They lie underneath the obliques to protect and stabilize your spine
Suggested Exercise: Planks
- Erector Spinae…a combo of three muscles that run along your neck to your lower back.
Suggested Exercise: superman
Kick Butt Cardio
Many of us tend to over look the idea of walking for weight loss. The type of walking I am talking about isn’t the nice, relaxing stroll you take with a friend to catch up on gossip. I’m talking about getting your heart rate up, breaking a sweat, getting results and taking advantage of the fact that walking is naturally simple and low impact.
Recipe of the Month
*A great way to sneak cauliflower into my sons meal...my husband can't tell it's there either!
Welcome to the Team!
I recently teamed up with a great friend of my in an effort to provide you with even more information when it comes to getting back into those "skinny jeans". Lindsey and I go way back to the soccer fields and basketball courts of high school, and she has served on the Real Moms Real Fit’s board of advisors for over a year now. However, it wasn't until recently that we decided to become partners.
Being that nutrition is at least 80% of the battle when trying to lose weight, I thought it was essential to add Lindsey to the team. Not only is she a certified personal trainer, but she is a registered and licensed dietitian in Cincinnati, Ohio. She will be providing you with meal planning tips, grocery shopping lists, weight loss tips, SWAP It ideas, kick butt workouts and much more!
Virtual Grocery Shopping and a Kick Butt Ebook are just two of the things we have in the works...keep a look out!
Cut calories by swapping high calorie foods for healthier options. Not all sauces are created equal...you can save 50 calories per ½ cup by paying attention to labels!
Danger...as with any sauce, Watch your portions!! It’s easy to dump an extra 200-300 calories just with your topping.
Don't believe me...Check This Out!
Classic...½ cup = 60 calories, 1 gram fat, 6 grams sugar, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein
Chuncky Ragu...½ cup = 110 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 13 grams sugar, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein
Talk to Me!
I recently added a page in which you can
. So, if you have a healthy recipe, a new awesome strength training move, a suggestion for a future newsletter or even an inspiring success story, I would love to hear from you. Don't hesitate to ask a question or share an idea. Also, feel free to forward this onto a friend!
"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."
John Bingham, running speaker and writer