For part 1 of this article go to Abdominal Workouts – The Truth On How To Achieve Toned Abs!
In Part 2 we’re going to discuss some hints to help kick start your new training regime.
2. Abs Workout Diet Tips
* Reduce the bad fats content in your meals.
* Trying using a low fat cooking spray instead.
* Get your fats from healthy foods instead. Eg… Nuts, avocado
* Cut right back your fried foods
* Reduce your margarine and butter usage to only a small amount or none at all. Preferably use butter not margarine.
* Increase lean protein (to help feed your muscles and support repair and growth)
* Eat fresh salads and veggies
* Towards the end of the day reduce your intake of carbs like potato, rice, pasta, cereals and bread. Still include them in your meals towards the beginning of the day but don’t pig out on them – and consume the brown ones rather than the white ones… oh… and aim for lower GI fruit as well – especially if you have a sweet tooth.
* Don’t use fatty gravies on your meals or meat
* Make your own salad dressings – they taste better and are a heck of a lot healthier than most store bought dressings.
* Check the fat, calorie and sodium content on the labels of tins and cans
* Cut the fat off your meat and grill it.
* Eat five to six meals smaller regular meals per day rather than having one or two large meals per day.
* Always have breakfast!
* Use egg whites and whole eggs to help increase your protein. You can actually purchase egg whites in cartons, they can normally be found in the freezer section of your supermarket. Two egg whites = 1 whole egg, if you want to use egg whites in your recipes. Say for example you’re making an omelette: rather than using 6 whole eggs use 1 or 2 whole eggs and make up the rest with egg whites.
* Have a cheat meal once per week. That doesn’t mean you’ve got the green pass to go to “all you can eat” breakfasts, lunch and dinners all day either. It just means go and treat yourself to a meal. Keeping with smaller portions.
* If you have trouble keeping up with your protein intake use low-fat, low carbohydrate / low sugar, high protein drinks and powders. There are some great flavours which will help prevent you from getting bored. Purchase a shake that is easy to mix and has quality protein content. You can also use these as a quick / emergency option for a morning or afternoon snack. I personally use organic and natural protein powders.
* Fish / seafood, healthy fats and a great source of protein.
3. Cardio Program
To reduce your midsection, and the rest of your body, of that extra body fat, you will need to increase your cardiovascular exercise. There are quite a few options you can go with… here’s a few of them, along with my own preferences.
* Vary your cardio times for each session
* Vary the intensity
* Increase the amount of sessions you perform each week – don’t over do it though. Over training can deplete your muscle.
* If you’re performing a regular style weight training program…
a. For a faster metabolism 3-4 times per week is suitable when starting out (beginners).
b. For a slow metabolism, or for those times when you really need to nip that body fat in the bud, 5-6 times per week will give a good kick-start to losing body fat.
* My personal preferred option is to increase the intensity of my weight / resistance sessions. Incorporating super-sets, mini-circuits, giant sets and then performing 15-20 mins cardio after.
* Alternate between your cardio activities to help prevent plateauing. Make a list of 3-4 that you find work the most effective and swap between them.
* Don’t get stuck doing hours and hours of cardio that doesn’t challenge you. Do shorter sessions with high and low intensities.
* Use cardio machines and activities that include you using your upper and lower body.
* Don’t feel limited to only doing your cardio at a certain time of the day. Some people find that they train more efficiently later in the day (because they’re not morning people or are too rushed in the mornings) this is fine – you’ll need a good 1.5 hours time span, previous to your cardio, from your last main meal. Not just for the benefit of burning fat but because you’ll probably feel sick if your exercising on a tummy full of food.
* Don’t perform cardio for any longer than 45 – 50 mins each session maximum! If you’re using a High / Low Intensity program you can have your cardio done in 25 mins!
* I personally prefer to keep my cardio sessions short. I do vary them… but I find long cardio boring. So I include a work zone and recovery zone in my cardio sessions. If I’ve performed a really high intensity weight / resistance session I’ll just perform 15 mins (maybe 20mins) at a steady, but challenging pace, then cool down.
Workouts For Abs Exercises
1. a. Floor Crunches – Lie flat on your back on the floor, legs bent, feet flat, pushing your lower back into the floor. Clasp your hands behind your neck, keeping your elbows back, in line with your head. Crunch up slightly, raising your head and shoulders, breathing out as you crunch. As you crunch up push your lower back into the floor and squeeze your tummy as tight as possible. Lower your head and shoulders back down to the floor and repeat. You should feel a burning sensation in your upper tummy area and midsection.
1. b. Fitball Abdominal Crunch – Lie on a fitball with your hips, lower and middle back all supported. Have your feet on the floor, legs bent. Clasp your hands lightly behind your neck. Raise your shoulders and chest to crunch up lifting your mid back off the ball. (You can also have your arms crossed at your chest, hands resting on opposite shoulders). Keep your lower back and hips on the ball.
2. a. Lower Ab Crunches – Lie flat on your back on the floor, legs raised, knees bent and lower legs folded. Push your lower back into the floor. Place your hands by your sides, palms facing the floor. Raise your backside and hips slightly, breathing out at the same time. As you crunch up push your lower back into the floor and squeeze the lower section of your tummy (pelvis region) as tight as possible. Lower your hips and backside back down to the floor and repeat. You should feel a burning sensation in your lower tummy area and upper pelvis.
2. b. Fitball Pull-ins – Lie face down on a ball now roll forward so that your feet and shins are on the ball. Place your arms in a push-up position with your hands inline with your shoulders. (It looks a little like an advanced push-up on the fitball) Keeping your back straight pull your knees towards your ribs region, rolling the ball forward. Contract your abs while pulling the ball in towards you… then release and roll the ball back out behind you to starting position.
3. a. Kneeling Oblique Stabilization (hold or raises)
Start lying on your side with your bottom forearm and knees supporting your weight. Your top hip should be directly above or a little in front of your bottom hip and you should be as straight as possible from your shoulders to your knees. Focus on contracting your obliques (side abdominal muscles) to support your body and stay as still as possible after you begin the exercise. You should feel the obliques closer to the ground more than your other abdominal muscles.
To increase the difficulty, you can raise your body up and down instead of holding the position. Again, the focus is on keeping a straight body position and lifting up and down, focusing on using your obliques on the side closest to the ground. Try not to let your obliques relax between reps and your hips should not touch the ground after you begin the exercise. Perform up to 15 reps on each side and breathe out when you are raising your body away from the ground.
3. b. Fitball Side Crunch
Lying on the floor have your legs bent and your feet resting on the fitball. Have your arms extended behind your head.
Raise your arms, head, shoulders and upper back off the floor reaching your arms over to the right side of your knees. Lower yourself back down again and repeat on the left side. Continue to alternate from one side to the other
Setting Yourself Some Goals
Achieving your goals to reduce tummy fat is possible if you are prepared to make changes to your lifestyle. You will be surprised at the results you receive if you dedicate yourself for a solid 12 – 16 weeks to your workouts for abs program. The hardest part is getting started, but once you are on your way you won’t regret it.
Set yourself monthly goals. Use goal clothing or a tape measure to monitor your changing waistline – and don’t forget about your abs workout diet tips. Re-measure every 4-6 weeks. If possible, use body fat callipers too so that you can keep more accurate tabs on your progress.
Happy abs training!
Yours in fun, health and fitness
© Mandy Gibbons
Virtual Fitness Trainer