|The beautiful Miss Australia Belinda Potter|
Everybody wants a flat stomach? Right?
Apart from it's aesthetic appeal of a flat stomach is also the first indicator of heart and cardio health. Big tummies = heart attack.
So you want some ab exercises to flat it all out? And I am the person to tell you?
Here's what health and fitness magazine DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW...
Doing your 500 sit ups before bed won't help your bulge. It could be making it worse.
ABDOMINALS ARE A MUSCLE
The simplest explanation is that the abdominals are like any other muscle in your body. When you exercise you should be aiming to rip them apart so they build bigger and stronger and burn more fat off your body.
The key word here is BUILD THEM BIGGER AND STRONGER....
If the abdominal exercises you are doing are worth a pinch of poo then your abdominals SHOULD BE GETTING BIGGER. And sometimes bigger doesn't equal flatter.
The most obvious example of this is a power lifter that develops a "barrel" for a stomach. This is pure muscle... and good luck if you are training that hard to get that muscle (and good luck to your pharmacist) .
I'll save the article on posture for another blog, but if you concentrate on only doing ab exercises then you are wrongly assuming that they are the only core stabilizes in your body requiring attention. Core stabilizers ARE NOT just the abs. They are any muscle that protects and sustains your skeletal system (i.e.: your back, shoulders, knees, glutes etc).
Have you ever seen a guy in the gym that only trains upper body? They are huge on top with little stick legs on the bottom. And I dare say they are frequent visitors to physios and orthopedic surgeons complaining about back and shoulder pain, knee pain... blah blah blah. They look ridiculous and are top heavy - like they are about to topple over. And that is the basic premise for their pain and muscular imbalance. They don't have a strong base to work from.
The same argument of muscle imbalance lies with doing only isolated abs exercises. If you concentrate heavily on abs you will begin to literally curl over... get shorter... YOU WILL ACTUALLY DEVELOP A PAUNCH ON YOUR STOMACH! This is because you have created an imbalance that will not allow you to stand straight and tall.
Your ab workouts could also be totally stuffing your back and neck, due to neglect and imbalance at the detriment of your back and glutes. Try doing 200 sit ups in a row... What starts to hurt first? I dare say it will be your neck. When you neck and back are out what is the first thing the doctor says to do? REST. No more exercise for you. Do not pass go and collect 200 hundred more grams of fat for your tummy. (The doc may also prescribe anti-inflammatorys, which are FANTASTIC in increasing stomach bloat and creating digestion problems. Hoorah!)
The people I have known with the most magnificent asthetic abs I can honestly say had little or no abdominal strength. They would be struggling to pump out 20 GOOD crunches when everybody else was hitting 50.
The reason? I believe it is due to four things:
2. Hormonal health
3. Digestion health and diet
4. Effective fitness training
I can't help you there. I have a Polish background so my stomach has always been my problem area. All I can say is that great abs and calves almost always come from good genetics. But it doesn't necessarily mean that they have strong abs and legs. And it doesn't protect people from being overweight. That is were I come in...
2. Hormonal Health
Ladies, you don't need to be convinced that hormones will affect your stomach. You can increase a pant size overnight depending on a menstrual cycle. Men! Don't let me lose you here just because I am talking about periods. A lack of testosterone and an increase in estrogen (caused by drinking too much beer? Bad diet? NOT ENOUGH EXERCISE...) could be giving you girly boobs and a fanny pack.
3. Digestion Health and Diet
This is a NO BRAINER. If you don't eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables to fill a dinner plate DAILY then you won't poo regularly, and you will have NO good gut bacteria. Quick reference: good bacteria help break down your food. No breaking down of food equals a fat, bloated stomach that is prone to letting lose horrendous gas war fare. And you will have FAT all over you. Not just across your gut. Beware the fat skinny people, they eat crap all day and night and look skinny, but they aren't strong enough to lift a pack of tofu from the fridge and walk knock kneed because their posture and strength is so poor. They also look a bit yellow. That is literally poo and urine coming out their liver and permeating their skin. Gross.
4. Last but not least, THE EFFECTIVENESS OF YOUR TRAINING is key to a flat pack!
SO... LET ME HELP YOU GET A FLATTER STOMACH, LEANER MUSCLES and get you POOING MORE!
1. Do regular, sweaty outbursts of intensive exercise that involve FUNCTIONAL FITNESS.
2. This ultimate interval training session can be done at home, and is of more benefit than a 3 hour triathlon.
Pick an activity: running, treadmill, row machine, swimming, boxing, skipping.
Warm up for 5 minutes with a slower version of your chosen sprint activity.
Interval sprints: 20 second sprint flat out; STRICT 10 second break.
Repeat x 8 for beginners. 12 intervals for advanced. If you don't feel spewy at the end you didn't sprint hard enough. This is a good self assesment for your capacity to increase output.
3. Get your gut in order...
How to have a good poo...
4.Finally, MOST importantly.
DO MORE FUNCTIONAL BACK, GLUTE and LEG STRENGTH!!!!
Why? Legs and glutes form the largest muscle in your body, burning up to 80% of the calories you consume in one day. If they are muscled to boot, this percentage increases and you lose fat EVERYWHERE. And where may that where be? Your tummy of course.
Plus, legs and glutes are the trunk of your tree... the roo tail on your big red. Get them strong and you will perform better, fitter, faster at everything you do. Don't believe me? Think back at the last time you twisted your ankle or had knee pain. Felt much like a machine then? No, I didn't think so.
If you HOLD YOURSELF correctly, (that means with good, strong posture) you not only digest food better, but you automatically lengthen and strengthen muscle, automatically burn more fat, and the cycle of being more gorgeous begins.
So what do I recommend to flatten your stomach?
CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE...
Stop focusing on the part and think of the whole... think about yourself as a strong, organic machine that needs to be challenged and pushed! That demands to get a rush and thrill of achievement... and believe me, before all that achievement preludes a few hidden tears of failure in the toilet, but godammit, that's what life is all about!!!!!
Pissy little crunches and planks only do so much...
What you need is to up the bar (literally) with FUNCTIONAL BACK, BUM AND LEG EXERCISES -
The functional strength stuff we do at Sweat Depot...
- squat thrusts
- jump lunges
- kettle swings
- dump and shuffles
- Olympic long jumps
- bench jumps
- kickboxing and knees
- chin ups
NOTE FOR THE "I don't want to get too muscley" LADIES:
You are dreaming.
To get the sort of muscle that you see on our beautiful and hard working Belinda...
just do heavy weights: 2-3 hours a day, sprints, drink 4-5 supplement shakes in 24 hours, eat only chicken and rice and wake yourself during the night to ingest more protein.
Muscle is a sign of hard work. Only women with no inclination or knowledge of being muscled utter this sentence. And they usually have traces of chocolate around their mouth and a diet coke in their hand when they utter it. Shame on you!!!
So, what do you think? If you don't agree, don't just sit on your bum and grumble.... COMMENT!!!! This is what this bloody blog is for! Use it!
Otherwise I'll see you at a session xxxxx