And here it is, the first blog post (of many I'm sure) about abs. So, let's get right to it!
The "Abs" or abdomen, unlike the arms and legs, depend largely on muscles rather than bones for support. Unfortunately, many people store fat around their midsection which makes it difficult to show the muscles hiding underneath. Here are the words no one wants to hear: You cannot develop a six-pack if abdominal muscles are covered in fat—no matter how fit and “cut” the abs become. Doing thousands of ab exercises each day followed by unhealthy, unbalanced nutrition habits will only be a hopeless battle with yourself.
Aside from the aesthetic value of your abs, WHY are they IMPORTANT? Stronger abdominal muscles act as a "girdle" supporting the midsection or "core" of your body. They function as a stabilizer for your spine, which can also aid in reducing the incidence of back pain and injury primarily in the lower back region. I know this is getting a little too scientific (Hahaha!) but guess what? These muscles are activated during MOST of your movements. A physique without a well-toned and developed abdominal system is like driving without a good set of tires. I get lots of questions about how I train my abs and what magic foods I eat to get them toned and shaped. A lot of this depends on your body type and how our bodies respond uniquely to training and diet.
Before I proceed to discussing how I train my abs, here's a little of the boring stuff that you should know about first. Abs are made up of four main muscle groups: rectus abdominis, internal obliques (two muscles, one on each side), external obliques (two muscles), and transversus abdominis (also called transversalis). These muscles permit bending forward at the waist, rotating the trunk, and bending to the side. You've got to work them all to build a strong core and to have a balanced appearance that looks good from all angles.
I don't follow a structured abs program for myself but I've designed several for my clients that work perfectly. What works for me or "My secret" if you will, is how I engage them during workout. Think about how many times you've heard your coach or trainer screaming "engage your abs or tighten your core!". It’s a fundamental truth, abs have a job to do. My abs are always at work, period.
There are so many exercises that work my abs but these are the ones I find engage my core the most:
Let’s have a look at a simple program. Keep in mind, there are countless variations to these workouts. The program is intense and designed to produce measurable results within 2 to 3 months when combined with proper nutrition. For individuals not involved in a regular exercise program, scale workouts down by performing only one set of each exercise with less cardio and interval training. The goal should be to work towards completing the entire program.
Again, just as working out is necessary, it's equally important to pay attention to what we eat. Individuals should follow a sensible eating plan that includes fruits, vegetable, whole grains, lean meats (beef, chicken, fish), olive oil and nuts. I recommend that you limit consumption of sugary drinks, salt, desserts, saturated and trans fats. Moderation is the key--keep portions small and avoid junk foods. Intense exercise reduces the need for a low carb diet; the body metabolizes mainly carbohydrates whenever exercises intensity exceeds about 65% of maximum effort.
If you've enjoyed this post, please share with your friends. Thanks for reading.
Live strong- Calyx