My #1 Question Answered: How To Get Abs
With so many new fitness goals out there for folks to tackle, abs may seem a bit over rated and frankly might not be something you even care about. But it is one of my top questions so here is my soapbox on the topic.
The way to get them seems logical. Workout and eat right. But for many the recommendations are so hard to hear…and more difficult to implement.
While muscles are abs-olutely built during your workout sessions, the flat physique of your tummy depends more on what’s happening at the grocery store and in your kitchen.
I often gauge my own personal health, fitness, and wellness level by what’s happening with my tummy. Notice I didn’t say my self worth, simply just my fitness/wellness. When it’s flatter, I know I’m eating cleaner, leaner, greener, and have lowered my overall inflammation. A flatter tummy also means I’m keeping a solid cardio and weight training program, complimented by healthy nutrition habits. Your skin and energy levels are also great barometers of your current wellness level as well.
I have a curvy, but small build. With that body type, weight tends to be carried in places like my bust, booty, and belly. Keeping up with a clean nutrition plan keeps those curves where they should be without any added bulking, puffiness, or bloating.
During my half marathons I usually carry a little bit of a belly. I also have to be mindful of what I eat as too many raw fruits and veggies don’t mix well for long distance running. During those seasons, my weight shifts and the scale fluctuates (2-4 +/- lbs). At times I actually feel heavier and softer in my tummy. I personally find it necessary for my training. It’s where the carbs live. As you know with endurance sports, your body requires more fuel to perform. Not to mention, the mad sugar cravings I have while running longer distances. The perceived change in weight is in part a product of lowered weight training. With a few old injuries, I have to lay off of some of my favorite exercises in order to preserve the body for running. With that, we know muscle weighs more that fat. But fat takes up more space, hence feeling larger and less tight.
While I may take in more daily calories with half marathon training, I find it doable to keep those meals mostly clean. Lean proteins, plenty of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and rice. Pizza and fries are part of the program, but not a nightly occurrence. Those options fit better as a post long run meal.
The last two weeks my fitness routine and nutrition program have changed. And as a result, pretty instantly, so has my gut.
As this post continues, here are a few things to consider:
- How are you filling your body?
- How are you fueling your body? Is your current nutrition program full of added sugars and/or processed foods? You better believe your body will rebel against that. Usually in the form of inflammation, more weight around the gut, and maybe even problematic skin.
- What’s your happy hour look like? If nightly wine is on the menu, it’s something to consider swapping or skimming back.
- I drink black coffee. No need to add unwanted calories or chemicals to my morning beverage. If you feel you need a little something try coconut oil, coconut milk, or ghee. We also love the line of Laird Superfood Creamers. The small amount of fat will be great fuel for the brain. If you choose to add any of my suggestions, I recommend blending for a frothy bev.
- I drink a fair amount of water daily. Jazz it up with dehydrated citrus powder, flavored oils, or fruit/veggie peels.
- I have dessert! My current go to is either a Yasso Bar or a bowl of vanilla Greek yogurt with berries and a bit of dairy free whipped cream. It isn’t a nightly occurrence, but those times I need a little sweet treat this hits the spot.
- I hit the weights. Lifting heavier and more often burns fat. My workouts are short in length but pack a big punch. Most of my circuits include total body moves or what I refer to as “toes to nose”. For example, instead of a simple squat, try a weighted squat to overhead press. The total body move torches everything and engages the core. My theory is, if you’re gonna spend time working out, why not hit it all in one shot. My clients hear this often. A workout with me has many of these signature moves in it.
- I alternate my cardio. Get out of the same old routine. Sprints are moved to compliment a circuit. Long slow cardio may come on the form of a two hour hike in the trails. Spin or swimming is sprinkled in as a change up, again working the entire body!
- I don’t drink cocktails every night. That is hard to hear for those nightly wine drinkers. But trust me, it can be done. Being in the midst of wedding planning makes this one a bit more challenging. It seems there are cocktails everywhere. I do partake in them on the weekends. These days, I tend to stick with clear liquors like vodka or tequila and flavored water or fresh citrus juices. If I am ordering a drink out, I ask for it in a “skinny” option. That’s about as clean of a cocktail as one can get.
- I don’t keep a stock pile of chips, cookies, or frozen meals in the house . My shopping is 90% perimeter. Meaning I don’t venture into the middle of the supermarket much.
- I don’t feel guilty about a splurge. When an opportunity for fellowship with family or friends presents itself, I take it. Then I celebrate accordingly. Life is too short to feel bad about something like that.
- I don’t count calories, but I do read labels. Luckily for me, most of the food we consume is label free. I prepare the majority of our weeknight dinners with fresh ingredients. When using frozen veggies or packaged foods, I am conscious to read the ingredients being mindful of any added preservatives, sugars, chemicals. Those extras are big time culprits for inflammation, bloating, and unnecessary fat.
- I don’t believe in exclusivity statements. “I’m never eating x again” “I don’t consume x” I find that by saying that you’ll find yourself in a situation where you may just have too. If you are invited to a friend’s home for dinner and they serve something you don’t normally eat, you have the option to decide: to possibly offend or hurt them or make the best of it. If you’re at a restaurant that only serves x, you’re faced with a choice. Do the best you can with what you have. Don’t miss out on opportunity to bond with someone or enjoy yourself. When you’re following a good nutrition program and fitness routine on the reg, these one off moments won’t be as traumatic or damaging to your plan.
Need more guidance? Contact me for consulting or training details.