This week we will focus on Core training, snacks, and exercising your mind. This first post is only the Fitness Section--the rest will come later.
Most people, at some point in their life, will experience the energy behind the 'after-midnight' infomercials that promise to provide a solution to eliminate excess fat. In fact, they will even tell you that in just 20 minutes a day, three days a week you will achieve a very specific fitness goal, such as a six pack or the tightest buns on the market. That is your first clue to change the channel or better yet, go to sleep and get some well needed rest. There is no such thing as spot training, you cannot do only crunches and expect to get a visible six pack.
There are six major muscles that make up the spine and torso: rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques, transverse abdominis, erector spinae, multifidus, and quadratus lumborum. Confused? Yeah, me too! You just want to know how to work them and why right? OK, well these muscles make up your power house. They assist in spinal flexion and extention, stabilization, rotation, and compression as in exhale/inhale. So basically, your power house will help you stand, get out of bed, bend, jump, breath, run, walk, push, pull, lift, eat, talk....etc...etc....etc.... you get the picture right. Strong core muscles will help you do everything you already do, better.
you need to understand that in order for you to see your nicely trimmed
abdominal muscles you have to get rid of the layer of fat that covers
the muscles and the only way to burn fat is with high intensity cardiovascular
exercises, strength training and proper nutrition. These are familiar words, I'm sure!
Pilates and Yoga will train your core like you wouldn't believe. Most bookstores carry an assortment of videos, books and many come with a mat and other equipment to help you get a better workout. The last one I bought cost $20 for the video, an illustrated book and a Magic Circle. Go to your library and borrow some videos or if you belong to a gym, ask about these classes. Many gyms already offer them and all you have to do is sign up and go. One of the best resources I have found online and its free comes from Marguerite Ogle from About.com. Marguerite has an article titled A guide to Pilates Information and Movement for the Beginner in which she gives detailed information on the language so we understand the terms, the exercises and how to modify them as well as how to progress through the first 10 exercises, all of which are done on a mat or on your living room floor.
Pilates or Yoga not your thing? That's OK because you can do abdominal crunches on a stability ball or with the assistance of weights or a medicine ball for added resistance. Unlike other muscles, you can work your abs everyday as part of your regular exercise routine. Jeff at Instant Feel Good has a few exercises in his series on how to loose the muffin top. He also agrees that keeping a "high intensity cardio" routine is an important part that will only help to speed up and improve your weight loss progress. One fast way to burn fat is to spend 20-30 minutes doing intense cardio, not walking around the block chasing the toddler or the dog. Running and the elliptical trainer are two great ways to get started. Finish your cardio training with either some of the Pilates moves such as the hundred and the plank, or sit on a resistance ball supporting your lower back, then lift and lower your shoulders to engage your abdominal muscles. Here's a cool video with three excellent Ab exercises from ShapeFit.com:
I will post the nutrition and relaxation separately--don't want to overwhelm the masses.