In high school I had a flat stomach and a visible 6 pack, I would do 100 sit-ups a day. So when I decided this year that I’d like to get more definition in my abs, I started doing 100 sit ups a day again. And it made a little bit of difference but not a whole lot.
There is more to great abs then ab specific exercises. Your core consists of the 6 pack you can see and deeper muscles on the front and the back. Our bodies like to be balanced, so if you’re working on the front of your body, you’ll only get so far unless you work on the back to.
That being said, our bodies also work differently at all stages of our lives. In high school, I had a fast metabolism, high collagen levels and high estrogen levels. As we get older 20’s – 30’s our cortisol levels may rise, affecting our hormones, moods and metabolism and then in our late 30’s -40’s (and after childbirth) our estrogen levels drop and this also effects where fat sits in our bodies.
100 sit ups a day led to great abs in high school, but now that I’m in my 40’s I need some other things in place to have the flat stomach and definition I’d like. We can’t spot reduce fat, we need to reduce fat as a whole body effort, through exercise, nutrition, hormone balance and stress reduction (or proper rest).
I also want to say that quick fixes like pills, body wraps and the like, can affect your hormones and gut health in other ways, that mean any short term results you see may lead to long term problems. When it comes to health being sustainable and consistent is always going to be your best option.
Step one: High Intensity Interval Training style workouts
You can get all the benefits of exercise in 10 minutes a day or even less, if you incorporate HIIT workouts into your routine. HIIT will get you aerobically fitter, faster than standard exercise, it combines cardio and body weight training for the most effective workouts. HIIT will improve muscle tone and fat loss in the most time-efficient way.
A HIIT workout can vary depending on your preference and fitness levels. A great way to start is by choosing 3-4 exercises and doing them for 20 seconds on and 10 seconds rest for a total of 4 rounds each. You can also do HIIT on your bike ride or walk, simply increase your speed and intensity for short bursts.
Another way you can get the benefits is by super setting your weight training with body weight cardio moves, like jump squats or curtsy lunges after your set of lat pull downs.
Add in resistance or weight training to your exercise plan, the more lean muscle you have the more fat burning ability you have at rest. It’s great to have a combination of workouts through the week, it keeps you from getting bored and gives your body a challenge it will love to rise to.
Step two: Whole foods and balanced meals.
There is no exercise plan on this planet that will out train bad nutrition. Depending on your age and stage of life you may need to add more foods that build collagen, balance hormones, reduce inflammation, increase metabolism or certain nutrients.
Get started by eating mostly wholefoods, reducing sugars, and making vegetables the main ingredient of every meal. Many people rely on supplements and vitamins each day to balance their diet, but unless you’ve consulted a trained naturopath you may be taking supplements you don’t actually need.
Eating the right nutrition will give you more energy, balance your hormones, and allow your body to reduce the fat on your belly and produce the collagen for that flat stomach.
Step three: Balance your hormones
For women in particular hormone production affects more than just our moods. Our skin, focus, comfort and body fat are all affected by our hormones. The healthier you are, the more balanced your hormones are and this will reduce things like PMS, moodiness, sleep disruption, headaches, irritability, brain fog, bloating, belly fat and cellulite.
Thankfully the right foods can be the change we need for our hormones.
Step four: Reducing Stress and getting proper rest
There are two main factors that come into play with stress and rest.
Firstly stress increases your cortisol levels that can lead to weight gain, tiredness, brain fog, lack of motivation and leptin resistance. You may also be a person who stress eats or eats junk when stressed.
Secondly not getting proper rest means your body is under more pressure, your muscles and organs won’t get the chance to do their jobs properly and this can lead to illness and injury.
Everyone needs to have daily steps in place to help reduce their stress and get proper rest. This can also be called self-care. Things like meditation, breath work, and time in nature can help to deal with stress as it arises. Creating a life with less stress can come down to upholding your healthy boundaries and creating routines that support you and your lifestyle.
Four steps to flat abs
You can do your own research on any of the four steps discussed here today or you can get guidance and support from a qualified professional. Health coaches, nutritionists, naturopaths, personal trainers and other health professionals will have great resources to help you get the strong core you’re after.
If you’d like to talk to me about any of the 4 steps talked about today, you can book a free chat with me here: Free Call with Lucy
Health, happiness and harmony are closer than you think.
Lucy Butler – Head to Heart Health