Monday, May 7, 2012

Turn That Keg Into a Six Pack

Most of my new personal training clients come to me this time of year looking for that summer beach body. The girls as well as guys always want to target their abdominal s. The good news is you CAN target the abs. The bad news is the key to showing that six pack is more about low body fat than stomach exercises.

What works best is a combination of challenging stomach exercises, a good cardio program and a smart diet. There was a recent study that evaluated the 20 most popular stomach exercises. The winner was the much hated move called the bicycle.

To perform the bicycle lie flat on your back. Put your hands behind your head. Bend the right leg towards your stomach and try to touch your left elbow. Repeat the other arm and leg. To make sure your back won’t hurt start with your legs higher so they are at about a 45 degree angle. As you get more comfortable you can begin to lower your legs closer to the floor. Keep the arms and legs moving and don’t let your heels touch the floor.

Another good core exercise is the knees to the chest. Lie flat, put your hands under your butt and bend your knees to your chest. To protect your back start with your legs at a 45 degree angle and then bend them towards your chest. Try to keep the heels off the floor. Start with five to ten repetitions.

The last move I suggest is the standard crunch. Lie flat, bend your legs and reach over the knees. The biggest mistake people make with crunches is they go too fast and don’t pause and concentrate when they come up. Lee Haney won more bodybuilding contest than Arnold. He once said if you can do 21 crunches you did the first 20 wrong. Don’t waist your time and effort. Go slow do them right and you’ll see the difference.

All this work is fine but without getting your body fat down you won’t see the hard muscles you’ve built. It all comes down to math when it comes to weight loss or low body fat. Burn more than you consume and you’ll get where you want to go. If you don’t walk, start. If you already walk, walk more (add a day) or walk faster. Sometimes by just adding one more session a week you’ll begin to see progress.

The most crucial element as you may already know is a smart diet. The best thing you can do here is to keep a food diary. Most people know what they should do and writing things down is a great way to become more accountable and proactive. Stay away from  sweets, starch based carbs. and high calorie drinks (energy drinks included ). The few seconds you take at the end of the day to start your food diary may be the one element you need to strengthen your resolve.

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