Fat-Burning Abs Exercises and Why You Should Train Abs (Even if you aren’t going near a swimsuit this summer)!

Hi there! I can’t believe I’ve made it to Wednesday!

This week has been something else, but I’ll chalk it  personal development…hehehe

Lets talk about abs today! Ok, so everyone is talking about and looking at pictures…of abs right now…and let’s face it, even if you’re planning on being within 10 feet of a swimsuit this summer, you’ve thought about what your abs would look like in one…bikini or not. I’m not here to talk modesty…personally I lean towards the middle of the road on swimsuits, but I digress…another topic for another day.

I like to train abs second only to legs….I mean really, just look at my blog archives…
Anyway, it’s important to train your abs in order to protect your low back, which takes quite a beating on a daily basis. Your abs also help you to have better posture, lift heavy suitcases and grocery bags, and perform hundreds of other tasks on a daily basis. I threw in an exercise to strengthen the glutes and low back and stretch your hip flexors, which may cramp up during  this workout if not stretched.

Reverse Crunch: This move targets the lower fibers of the abdominals – the rectus abdominus. Be sure to exhale and contract your abs as you lift your lower back off of the floor. Beginner’s tip: Don’t let your feet touch the floor when lowering them.

Donkey Kicks: Some would argue that these are a glutes exercise, but they teach you to balance through your core, so they use the abs as well. Contract your abs and glutes throughout the exercise, don’t arch or round your back. Make it tougher: anchor a resistance band under your hands and around the arch of your working leg.
 Leg exercise slowly. You can increase your reps for time later. Exhale
as you keep your legs straight, hinging from your hips. Slowly return to the start position. Beginner’s tip: Place the ball under your knees instead of your feet and bend your knees to bring the ball towards you.

Cross Body Mountain Climbers: This is just like a traditional mountain climber, but instead, angle your knee towards the opposite elbow. Beginner’s tip: step instead of hopping feet back and forth.

Inchworm: This is an awesome exercise for your core and your entire body…sneaking in a little cardio. hehe. Be sure to walk your feet out all the way and don’t let your hips sag or pike…think good planking form. Beginner’s tip: Take this exercise slowly and do not rush when returning to standing position.

Plank with Leg Lift: This is a great  exercise for challenging core strength. Start out by lifting active leg slowly and do not hyperextend your back. Beginner’s tip: Plank from your knees.

 Do this workout as a circuit, 2-3x. Complete each exercise, then move on to the next with 10 seconds or no rest in between exercises…and 30 seconds of rest between circuits.
To print your own copy of the workout I created using Workout Labs.com, click the link below:

Awesome Abs Workout

Created using the Workout Builder at workoutlabs.com

I have a challenge for you: If this is a problem area for you, then try this workout if you can 2x a week for 4 weeks. Take your measurements. Then report your results back to the Julie Auler Health and Fitness Facebook Page and share your results with others! You just might inspire someone else to make a healthy decision that day!

Q and A’s about abs:

Can I get away with only training my abs….do I really have to train other muscle groups? The answer is no. Imagine a building that has the first three walls build perfectly, inside and out…this building looks stable and beautiful from the front and the sides….but then when we walk around, the entire back wall and structure are missing! This is true about your body too. Using compound movements will help you reach your abs goals because it will work other parts of your body but will cause dramatic gains in core strength. This workout uses compound moves.

I like working out, but I don’t really like eating veggies and lean protein…will I still see results?
Once again the answer is no. If you do see results, they will not be nearly as dramatic. If you put cheap gas in your car all the time, do you think your car won’t have problems with the ignition later on? The same is true with your body. The fuel you put on the inside will impact the results you see on the outside, and how your body performs during training. And when I say veggies…I don’t mean in a butter sauce….while that may be acceptable as a treat, there are plenty of delicious ways to cook veggies and lean protein without using loads of grease and salt. If you need ideas, see last week’s post on Fun, Healthy Dinner Ideas.

I hope this post helped you today! If you learned something new, or were inspired, please comment below or leave me a message via the “contact me” widget!

Have an awesome day!

Julie

WOW Wednesday: Giveaway and Beach Trip Recap

Hi It’s Wednesday! Woohoo! I had a great trip to the beach with Micah, and the weather was perfect! I even did some PiYo on the beach! I love bodyweight workouts because they can be done anywhere.  The beach was cool and perfect, and I did walking lunges and pushups…more like active rest days. This pic was taken before a storm blew in Saturday evening. I brought back lots of seashells to get my diy on. 🙂 This is a really advanced PiYo flip, which took some practice…hint, I started with side plank. The ocean breeze felt great by the way. We had blissfully perfect 80 degree weather, and it was partly overcast. Lots of fun body surfing and taking long walks. I love the sunrise at Holden Beach. Our tradition is to get up, as early as possible, and go beachcombing…crazy, right…We also lost our car keys…in the ocean…needed a little excitement…Haha. But it was great to be on our own time, and enjoy taking a break from our routine, even pertaining eating and exercising…you can’t go mental all the time, or you’ll burn out. But we did have fun times racing each other down the beach and competing when it came to push-ups….LOL.

 
Speaking of workouts, I had lots of fun this week partnering with the fabulous, Lisa, from theskinnyonhealth.com Today, we’re doing an e-book giveaway of my new recipe collection, which is great recipes for warmer weather and a shopping lists, which are also great for tight budgets, and an on-the-go, abs, buns, and cardio workout. I’d really love for you to show her site some love! 🙂 She has awesome travel workouts, recipes, and reviews!Her blog is one of my new favorite health/fitness blogs! Lisa is down-to-earth and balanced in her approach to health and fitness.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway is open until the end of this week!  

Workout Wednesday: What I learned at PiYo Training!

Hi Friends!
I hope you’re having an awesome week! Once again, my intent to write a Monday post has been foiled, but hurray for workout Wednesdays! As many of you know, I went to an instructor certification workshop last weekend. The certification is for the PiYo Live format that is the same brand as the new PiYo workout that’s going to be released later this month! I can’t wait!!!! I’m so stinking excited…LOL…I taught this format awhile back and loved it then, but  now I love this format even more because it’s more teachable, and there’s more flexibility with teaching styles and how to teach a class. This is a great format for someone who’s board with what their doing or desperately needs to cross train…or wants to strength train, but is a little intimidated by other forms of resistance training. (Only you and your doctor know what is best before you begin a fitness program, so check first!)
So, what exactly is PiYo? PiYo is a fuzion format of pilates, yoga, and fitness moves that are taught to the flow of upbeat music. Example: You might see a down-dog-to-plank-to-burpee-up in a sequence. Some moves are static/isometric, while others have more of a flow. I loved this workshop, and oh, I felt my abs and glutes the next day!
Here’s an example of what a more advanced sequence of Piyo would look like:
Want to try PiYo moves before the home workout launches? I’m offering a sneekpeek group for those who want to try a simplified PiYo move each day, and make some new friends! To sign up, go to PiYo test group and ask to join the group! 🙂 That’s it!

The presenter, Amanda was so nice, and made all of us move out of our comfort zones, by having us focus on cuing…which is tougher than you think, those of you participants who snarkily say in your heads, “I could teach THAT class”….it’s tougher than you think…Just because someone doesn’t teach your format…i.e., cycle, kettlebell, or zumba…doesn’t mean that it’s any less difficult…I loved how my muscles felt so much stronger 3 days later…after the DOMS wore off…of course, I did 3 hours worth of exercise…Have you tried PiYo? How do you like bodyweight training? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 
-Julie

Wednesday Workout: A Fast and Serious workout

Happy Hump Day!!!
It’s been tough getting back into routine, more so workout-wise than eating-wise. Lately, I’ve been getting my arts and crafts on. Due to a tight budget, a lot of our Christmas gifts will be handmade this year, since I’m very artsy; we know a lot of people doing this as well this year. Unfortunately, this can be time consuming. Here’s where this workout comes in. It’s a 12-minute workout that will have your muscles screaming and heart pounding. It also involves  3 tabatas. You can make this an all body weight workout or add resistance to the squats and bridges. Let me tell you guys a secret, I gain weight in my lower body, but this format has gotten my legs back in shape quickly. Like 4 weeks quickly. So give it a try and let me know what you think!

Single-leg Burpees: (you may use regular burpees if too difficult.) Instead of hopping both feet back. Lift one foot off the floor and hop the other foot back. Be sure to keep your back straight and not rounded as you return to standing.
Bridges: Lie face-up, feet flat on the floor. Put your weight into your heels and lift your hips. Make sure your abs are tight and squeeze the glutes before lifting your hips off the floor. You should not feel this in your lower back. Want a challenge? Try single-leg bridges.
Squats: (Beginners, sit a chair behind you.) Feet shoulder-width apart. Sit back with your chest and shoulders lifted. Lower as close to parallel as possible.
Side Hip Lift + Kick: Get on one side with bottom knew bent and top knee bent. Prop up on elbow. Make sure you are in line from your head to your bottom knee, then lift your bottom hip off the floor. While hips are lifted, kick top leg in a straight line with the rest of the body. Lower and complete reps on one side.
Jump Rope: Keep knees slightly bent while jumping or shuffling. Use a fake rope if needed…hehe
Plank: Keep hips from sagging as you lift up on to your elbows. Keep weight in the heels. Don’t let your hips sag and don’t forget to breathe.
This workout will not only work your glutes and legs, but your shoulders and abs as well.
Let me know if you have questions!

More Core…Than You Originally Thought

So, It’s midweek. Usually, This is my day of the week where I really blast my core, which involves a lot of integrative exercises, using multiple muscle groups. Usually there is some type of ridiculous balance exercise involved. But I promise my entire body feels more toned once I get the training for this group out of the way! Some people love training abs…I used to, but now I enjoy training legs more, so to keep it fun, many times I train abs and glutes together. You might be thinking…really, isn’t that time-consuming, it’s really not. Besides, by training this way, I ensure good posture and balance on both sides of my body. Which helps prevent injury. Besides, glutes are part of your core too, this often overlooked muscle group can cause severe back pain in people who don’t train properly. The other muscles people don’t think of: lower abs. If you don’t train them, forget a six pack. their connected to your upper abs and your obliques, and inner thighs. Think planks with any kind of leg movement. One thing to be mindful of, pun intended, is to put your mind into the muscle. Knowledge is power, so think about contracting the muscle you want to work during the exercise. I promise you’ll get better results.

I usually train straight-set/ consecutive sets for 2 weeks, then superset for 2 weeks, and then circuit or HIIT for 2 weeks. Depending on whether or not I’m looking for strength or long lines. This is what a sample core workout looks like for me. I’ve trained this way for awhile and it works.

Warm-up: 1min.   marching knee lifts

3x 12-20 hip lifts

3x 12-15 side reach throughs  (each side) with top leg lifted. This can be done from plank position

3x 3-8 plank straddles each side (This one should not be rushed through.) You can even try this move on hands and knees.

 3x 12-20 reverse crunches

 Try this routine. You’ll be breaking a sweat and on your way to stronger core in no time! Think of your core as a belt which goes all the way around when you choose your exercises, and you’ll be much more functionally fit!