Whether you’re just starting an exercise program, or you’ve been at it for years, there is one thing on everyone’s wish list: a toned stomach. I certainly have learned this first-hand since having my son one year ago! Done are the days of having the expectations of a potential six pack. Nope, now days, I would just like to have less of a muffin top! Knowing that my time is limited and my workouts need to take less time than pre-motherhood, I have learned some great tips that have helped me to train less, yet see better results!
You Need To Burn fat. Okay so I read it somewhere, so I am going with it…but did you know that most people actually DO have strong, defined abs…they just happen to be covered by a layer of fat. I like to think this is my situation 🙂 You can do all the sit-ups you want but it won’t burn the fat on top of your muscles! To accomplish this, you need a combination of regular cardio (aerobic) exercise and a healthy diet!
Don’t crash diet. Some people will swear that a key to their flat abs is what they eat—or don’t eat. Whether they omit dairy, milk, wheat, sugar, or something else, you do not have to drastically change your diet (or limit certain foods or food groups) to lose the belly bulge. Simple, healthy eating habits (not deprivation) will help you drop excess weight from all over the body.
Train the abs like you would any other muscle. You should strength train all of your major muscle groups, which typically involves 1-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions per exercise. There is no need to do 50, 100 or thousands of crunches each day. In fact, if you are doing your exercises correctly, 8-15 repetitions are all that you need to feel the muscles working and get results.
Here are a couple of my “Spooktacular” abdominal exercises:
Modified Plank: This pose is a great core strengthener—especially when you need a break from crunches. Work yourself up to 1-3 sets of 30 seconds each.
Don’t forget the lower back! Include at least one lower back exercise every time you work your abs. These muscles work together all the time. Strong abs help prevent lower back pain, but so does a strong back. Remember that when focusing on that muscle group, you should feel the muscles working—which is not the same as back pain. Do not attempt any exercise that actually hurts your back in any way.
So there you have it! Follow these tips and before you know it, you can say bye-bye to that muffin top and hello to your strong abdominals! I’d love to hear from you, what’s your favorite way to work your abs?