You’re not alone if you’re bothered by tummy trouble — that persistent layer of fat around your midsection that no amount of crunches seems to eliminate. But did you know that there’s a lot more to having strong abs than just looking good in a bathing suit? Your abdominal muscles are vital to almost every activity you do, from running and playing tennis to picking up a bag of groceries and even just standing up tall. Think of your abs as the “core” from where all your power comes! And there are plenty of simple steps you can take to develop a stronger, leaner core. Here are 5 of my tips for blasting away that belly fat — for good.
Crunches are one of the key exercises for working on the entire front of your tummy (the rectus abdominus). Crunches are simple but effective and can be done by most everyone, regardless of their level of fitness — but if you aren’t doing them correctly, you won’t get the rock-hard results you want! Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor, arms behind your head, and lower back pressed firmly into the floor. Tighten and contract your abdominal muscles and slowly lift your shoulders off the floor, exhaling as your crunch. Slowly return your shoulders to the floor and repeat. Begin with one set of 8 to 12 reps and gradually progress to two sets of 8 to 12 reps.
Cardio, cardio, CARDIO! Contrary to popular belief, toned abdominals don’t come from doing a million crunches alone. In fact, you could already have abs of steel and not even know it! They might just be buried under a layer of insulation. Regular cardio workouts are so important for getting rid of that stubborn fat that’s lying on top of your stomach muscles. Incorporate a fat-burning cardio workout, like running, biking, or power-walking or using a treadmill, stair climber, or elliptical machine three to five times a week for at least 20 minutes. Cardio exercise gives your metabolism a boost and helps protect your heart health, too — it’s excellent for your body in so many ways.
Work every muscle group. Traditional crunches alone aren’t going to get you those 6-pack abs. In order to shrink your middle and build a strong core, you’ll need to incorporate exercises that target each of the different abdominal muscle groups as well as your lower back. Try adding reverse sit-ups, Lower Body Rotations, and bicycle crunches, for example. Focus on using good form and really tightening those muscles as you go through the motions.
Do the plank. Another great exercise that helps blast away fat in the lower tummy is the plank. To try it, get into the plank position with straight arms, legs, and torso as though you’re about to do a push-up. Hold your tummy muscles in tight for about 10 seconds. If you want a tougher exercise, you can then lower down onto your elbows. Kiss one knee to the ground, then straighten up, and repeat with the other. This is one of my favorite exercises because it’s so effective.
Drink more water! Not only is hydrating your body with clean, fresh water vitally important for your health, but it can actually help you lose weight and banish bloat. Since we often mistake thirst for hunger, drinking plenty of water can help curb snacking and keep your metabolism humming. Plus, believe it or not, the more water you drink, the less bloated you are. How much water do you really need? Well, a general rule of thumb is about eight ounces of water eight times a day, but there’s no strong scientific evidence to support that recommendation. In fact, some experts actually recommend 13 glasses for men and 9 for women! That may seem like a lot of water, but your body loses about 10 glasses in the course of a day. If you’re having a hard time getting used to the taste of water, try adding a lemon wedge for a hint of sweetness! But we all know, great looking abs begin in the kitchen! Bottom line is you have to eat clean, green and lean! This is why my nutrition plan will get you rock hard abs for the summer!
Love always from Your Personal Trainer,