Food for Thought
Summer tight abs tips
Published Thursday, 12-Aug-2010 in issue 1181
Summer is typified by fashions that can be more form fitting, more revealing or in the swim suit case, unveil our bare skin. If your abdominals are in need of a quick pick me up to tighten up for your individual “reveal”, lend an ear and then some strategic effort at these tips.
Perform strength training abdominal exercises at least three times each week. Your abs are like any other muscle in your body, they need to be consistently challenged in order to become stronger and tighter. The abdominals, due to their size and design, can take daily conditioning due to shortened recovery times needed. Want real results? Do it daily.
End poor food choices. Processed foods, refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup do NOT belong in your diet, especially if you want tight abs. The fat stores created by excess sugar, and fat intake most often, accumulate around your waist, covering up your abdominal muscles. Cut these items from your diet and replace them with real whole foods such as lean meats, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fruits.
Change your lengthy slow cardio workouts. Your body has figured out how to do this and is not “adapting”. Instead, use HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). HIIT training uses intense bursts of cardio peppered throughout your workout. This is a sure-fire way to rev up your metabolism, burn calories and get your fat stores to shrink.
Use resistance with your abdominal exercises and have a “change mentality”. Crunches are good, but your body quickly becomes accustomed to the motion, rendering it less effective. Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell at your chest as you perform your crunches, this will force your abs to work harder and you will achieve better results. Change motions frequently and keep your body guessing. Once it learns how to do it, throw it a curve ball and change it up.
Target your lower abs. It’s easy to neglect the lower abs, but they are an important part of the equation. Gravity and the weight of the volumes in our abdominal cavity pull at the muscle system which tends to distend our lower abdomen. In order to work the lower abs you’ll need to engage your legs in order to get at them more effectively. As an example incorporate the V-Up into your abs routine: Sit on the edge of an exercise bench and lean back to a 45 degree angle. Extend your legs out until they are level with the floor. Exhale and bring your knees and upper body close together, while contracting your abdominals. Inhale as you slowly release your legs, returning them to the starting position.
‘Weight Loss, Lose Weight’ products and products that claim to flatten your stomach typically, don’t deliver the goods. Never waste your time or money on so-called packaged food products that come with weight loss claims. If it’s processed in a package with a host of chemical additives then it will not help you achieve sustainable flat abs. If its abdominal exercise gimmicks, as sold on infomercials, all you really need is your own body weight, an exercise ball, dumbbells and/or a medicine ball. If it’s the so called “magic pill”, the magic pill for flat abs doesn’t exist. Sorry about that. Good nutrition, resistance training and cardiovascular workouts are the solution. For more surefire ways to get a summer tone up call Fitness Together Mission Hills 619 794 0014. l