It’s finally arrived!
After taking a little longer than I planned I am proud to present the Ab-solutely fabulous Challenge of 2010! Each friday I plan on including a new post with helpful tips, tricks and hints. The challenge will last six weeks, which is perfect because it is just in time for spring break and summer vacation. Yahoo! 🙂 But most importantly it is about being healthy, and happy with yourself.
Strong abs also help maintain an erect posture. And even if you carry little to no fat on your abs, you still won’t have a six-pack if they aren’t developed enough, just flat abs. Strong and defined abs are one of the most diffucult areas of the body to achieve, and doing so requires a lot of work. But all of the work comes with numerous benefits…
- You will achieve better looking posture.
- You will benefit from good digestion. The digestive tract tends to compress if the abdominal muscles are overly layered. The food and the waste at the same time can’t navigate through the digestive tract in the nick of time. The stomach exercise therefore boosts the proper functioning of the digestive system so that leads to a healthier you.
- You will breathe better.
- Your fitness levels will overall improve. Training your core by doing a combination of strength training and cardio works your whole body, which in result tones you from head to toe.
The abdominal muscles are a group of 6 muscles that extend from various places on the ribs to various places on the pelvis.
- Transversus abdominus – the deepest muscle layer. It’s main roles are to stabilise the trunk and maintain internal abdominal pressure.
- Rectus abdominus – slung between the ribs and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis. This muscle has the characteristic bumps or bulges, when contracting, that are commonly called ‘the six pack’. The main function of the rectus abdominus is to move the body between the ribcage and the pelvis.
- External oblique muscles – these are on each side of the rectus abdominus. The external oblique muscles allow the trunk to twist, but to the opposite side of whichever external oblique is contracting. For example, the right external oblique contracts to turn the body to the left.
- Internal oblique muscles – these flank the rectus abdominus and are located just inside the hip bones. They operate in the opposite way to the external oblique muscles. For example, twisting the trunk to the left requires the left side internal oblique and the right side external oblique to contract together.
It is very important when you are working towards a more toned stomach area that you have a balance of daily cardio and strength training.
Training your core three alternating days a week (monday, wednesday, friday etc.) using combination of any of these moves – Do 3 sets of 25 reps of each move.
Do cardio everyday. Aiming for at least 30 minutes of cardio six days a week will help you lose overall body fat, which is essential when wanting to define your mid section. What is most important is that you break a sweat.
- Walking, running, jogging, cycling, dancing, elliptical
Make sure you actively rest one day a week, doing relaxing activities such as yoga or pilates. It is important to make sure that you let your body rest one day a week to ensure that it gets a chance to rest and replenish itself.
One of the most important things to consider when you are starting any type of program is what your eating. What you put into your body nourishes you and gives you the energy you need in order to function. When you put good stuff in your body, you will get good stuff out of your body too.
- Eat six smaller meals a day, spaced out every three to four hours. Research shows that having a steady supply of calories provides your bodies metabolism with the energy it needs to continually burn body fat.
- Eat a diet consisting of whole foods – ie. cooked or raw soaked and sprouted legumes or grains, and tons of fruits and veggies.
- Make smoothies a staple in your diet.
- Limit your consumption of refined sugars and fried foods.
- Limit consumption of salt.
Foods to include
- Extra virgin olive oil, avocados, unsalted nuts and seeds
- Quinoa, brown rice, whole grain breads, oats, cracked wheat.
Plant-based Sources of Protein
- Beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, seitan, walnuts, brazil nuts
- preferably raw, or canned in its own juices or dried with no sugar.
- All veggies raw or steamed.
The challenge will last for six weeks, and I will be posting an update each friday with my progress and new tips and suggestions. I would love it if you would take part in this challenge with me. You also may want to take a before and after picture of your tummy – you don’t have to post them! – for your own refrence.
My giveaway ends tomorrow night – don’t forget to enter if you havent already!
Oh and ive now got a formspring – im jumping on the bandwagon. Ask away!
Questions of the day – Are you up for the challenge? 😉
Heather is having a giveaway!