So I should probably frame this picture of my abs. With the perfect combination of sucking in like a maniac, crunches in between takes, a great mirror and flash this is what I came up with:
Fortunately I have always been able to maintain a flat stomach. It is just not the area I tend to gain weight in ( I’m looking at you thighs). But I do workout 5-6 times a week to stay toned and I have some quick tips on firming up the midsection:
1. Posture-Being 5’10” there is really no point in me slouching-those few inches I would save trying to be my shorter friends height ain’t going to make much of a difference. But I can tell you that no matter your height that you can workout till the cows come home and, if you are slouching when you sit you, will end up with a pooch. Being mindful of holding in your stomach and sitting and walking with your shoulders back is imperative.
2. Pilates, Yoga and Barre classes or DVDs. I am a firm (literally) believer in the power of these types of classes to not only tone you all over but to help improve posture and core stability. You will hear navel to spine and zip up your core thousands of times but eventually it becomes part of everyday life and holding your stomach in will become natural along with stronger abdominals. It is so important as we age to maintain good posture and stand tall and proud.
3. Throw in some ab workouts. There are fabulous free, quick ones on YouTube (8 and 10 minutes long). One of my faves is by psychetruth and it is a 8 minute ab workout at home. Even some crunches daily will help.
4. Increase cardio. You can do a million crunches but you can not spot reduce fat. Decreasing overall body fat will help your abs appear. Simply move more-walking is a great start and Leslie Sansone has some fabulous walk at home DVDs. Find some fun ones that work for you if you can’t make it or afford a gym membership. Or sign up for fitness classes that are entertaining so you stick with it-pole dancing, swimming, ballet, kickboxing whatever calls to you add in some more.
5. Eat clean and healthy foods at least 80% of the time. I need to indulge every so often and don’t feel bad about eating pizza or cookies because I know I give my body healthy foods the other times. Also avoiding foods that bloat you is key-high salt, high fat, sodas will help keep the belly flat and not grumbly.
6. Most important love (or at least tolerate) your own belly and body. I don’t care if you look like Gisele or if you are a mom of twins with stretch marks and twin skin. Having a body to look at means we are alive and can enjoy this earth despite what our vessel looks like.
Finally just make sure your fitness inspirations are really inspiring you and not making you feel fat, gross and depressed. So much of the fitspo out there is unrealistic and unhealthy for the majority of us. Focus on eating healthy and exercising while enjoying life and the physical improvements will come I promise.
What are your fitness goals? Any other tips for amazing abdominals?