Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday's Gym Sesh & So, You Want Abs?

Yesterday's evening gym session included:

- 1 x 10 (10lbs) bicep curls <-- Right arm especially was ridiculously sore from Tuesday's gym date, so I went easy this round in case a muscle strain or injury was coming on. Don't want to risk it!
- 3 x 10 (10lbs) chest flies
- 3 x 10 (10lbs) chest presses
- 3 x 10 (12lbsx2) one-legged deadlifts (engage your core for balance! No sloppy bellies)
- 25 weighted oblique bends
- 3 x 10 side lunges (holding 12lb weight)
- 3 x 10 hip circles <--- I have no idea what the name of this actually is, but runners take note: Get down on all fours, and similar to donkey kicks, you lift your leg and basically draw circles on the floor with your knee. This helps strengthen the small muscles in your hips, therefor giving you more stabilization for your running. No hip replacements here!

And then 25 minutes of cross training cardio in the form of speed walking (10 minutes) and elliptical on level 6 resistance (15 minutes).

My journey with clean eating is still going well, and it actually brings me to the title of this post.

So, you want abs, huh?

You can crunch and plank and Russian twist all you want, but that won't reveal your abs. Crazy, right? You would think that strengthening the abdominal muscles would make them visible, but that's not entirely true. While you can, in fact, strengthen the muscle by doing core work, it's really what you eat that will take them out of hiding.

You can't out exercise a bad diet, and you can't eat a bunch of junk, go haaaammmm in the gym on your abs and expect a 65 pack in the morning. Sorry, doesn't work that way.

So, what can you do to see your abs? I'm working on this right now, my friends, but this is what I have discovered/heard/read:

1. Eat CLEAN! Abs are definitely made in the kitchen. Avoid processed foods like frozen dinners, marinades/sauces, fast food, cookies, crackers, chips, white bread & pasta, etc. Eat more healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, etc), lean protein (fish, chicken, etc), whole grains, and fruits & veggies.

2. Stay hydrated! Drink lots of water to beat bloat and help your body in the fat-burning process.

3. Along with the above, make sure you get lots of SLEEP! While you sleep is where your body repairs all the hard work you've put in at the gym. Sleeping also reduces cortisol, a hormone that increase the storage of fat (especially belly fat) when you don't get enough Zzz's. This hormone is also increased when you are stressed, so don't worry, be happy!

4. Be sure to strength train! The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you will burn even at rest. Plus, muscle takes up less space than fat, and strength training is what will give you that firm and sleek physique. Mix in some cardio and a clean diet, and you are good to go. Oh, are those abs that I see!?

5. BE POSITIVE! Don't be a Debbie Downer, because a negative attitude will just drag you down. Hey, slow progress is still progress, and nothing happens overnight!

Have a super Saturday!

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