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

Functional Training That’s Simple, Effective and Fun: Rev4 DVD Review

Hey There!
So, I’ve been doing some research on different products on the fitness circuit. (No pun intended.) I recently watched, a pod cast from Chalene Johnson’s “Build Your Tribe” series. I love this podcast! Well, Chalene has lots of guest speakers on her show and the speaker for this episode was Natalie Jill, of NatalieJillFit.com. This single mom and entrepeneur turned to functional training after gaining weight, and suffering from a back injury, and while Natalie Jill is in stellar shape, she says that fitness has helped her live life better because everyday tasks are so much easier! I can definitely agree with that statement! I was super impressed with her response team. They seemed as warm in their emails as Natalie is in her dvd’s. Natalie also has numerous ebooks on fitness and healthy eating which you can learn more about on her website.

This post contains affiliate links and while I did receive product as compensation for this review, I reserve the right to my opinions, and publish pros and cons in a positive manner. Purchasing through affiliate links does support this blog. Thank you for your support!

I was so excited to review the Rev-4 Dvd. I know that many of my readers spend lots of time on the road and or do not live near gyms. These workouts are also a great length to get you through the holiday fitness slump, because who wants to start from scratch after New Years’?

Here’s my review of this pretty nifty dvd:

Equipment: mat/towel and or dumbells

The dvd has 4 workouts, plus a warm-up and cool-down safety tips, and bonus material.

Warm-up: Natalie takes you through dynamic stretching and heat-building exercises that get your muscles primed and ready for the following workout and help prevent injury. She also modifies movements as needed.

Full-Body
These intervals of compound movements work your entire body, and provide a little bit of a cardio component. Squats and lunges are used, and there are push-ups and plank variations. Natalie is great at teaching proper technique, and explains which muscles are used in each exercise.

Lower Body
Natalie takes you through some effective and fun lunge combinations, and some isolation exercises and gets your heart pumping. Add weights or bands for an even bigger burn. I definitely felt my quads, glutes, and hamstrings on fiyahhh!!Just when you think you don’t have any more muscle left to burn, she has you cranking out 3 more reps! I loved the way she taught hip extensions, it was a little different from how they’re shown most of the time. There are some plyometric movements, like skater hops,  but nothing too scary. Really, you could crank up the intensity as much as you want here.

Upper Body
Watch out! Dudes, this workout will make you sweat! Natalie is my new arm inspiration. This all-bodyweight workout is no easy-peasy workout. Your abs and arms will feel the burn. Those sliding push-ups will make your arms burn and pump up your heart. This is where I personally need to be challenged. I like that she uses rotating side planks, but does them at a mid-range tempo, which emphasizes doing them with correct technique.

Core Crusher
Let us give thanks…for planks! This core crusher really uses your entire body. Natilie explains how to modify each plank variation and pushes you through those core intervals. This one definitely pushed my limits, but it was fun. I love the up-and-down planks in this.

Cool Down
Don’t skip it, just don’t. This will help prevent excessive cramping, and help you wind down from that awesome workout you just had. Static stretching after a workout also aids in preventing joint injury and severe muscle imbalances.Static stretches help cool the body down and help you to slow down and unwind. Stretching after a workout may also improve joint mobility for future workouts.

I definitely liked the Rev-4 dvd and would recommend it for beginner to intermediate exercisers. I would love to see a dvd for more advanced exercisers, but I love that she uses bodyweight-only in the videos. I think a lot of people injure themselves in the beginning by not focusing on proper form and technique and reach for heavy weights, which you can add to many of the exercises in these dvd’s  as you progress. Hey, if you’ve over trained using heavy weights, like I have in the past, then you understand the importance of taking it back to the basics and really focusing on that mind-body connection. NatalieJill knows her stuff, and I love her philosophy for training for functional fitness. If you’re looking for a quick workout to get you through the holidays or a gift for your fave fitness buff, then this is a great option!

Get moving! 

–  Julie