“How do I flatten my tummy?”
This is the most common question I receive. Hands down.
How we look obviously affects how we feel about ourselves. Now this is a muddy area for a lot of women because we don’t necessarily have an accurate idea of how we actually really look, and hormones, the sssssssscales, and mood can drastically affect how we see ourselves at any given time.
But that’s a discussion for another day.
Now I’m assuming you recognize that nutrition is 80% of the battle to getting flat abs but for now let’s talk ab training.
One of my favourite ab moves, the stability ball jacknife, is designed to tighten your tummy, strengthen your core and promote overall body strength. You only need a stability ball (cheap as chips these days) and you’ve got a wealth of awesome ab toning and core strengthening exercises at your fingertips.
In the video below you’ll see Liz who’s a long term client. After her retirement from work, Liz decided that she wanted to get into shape and feel fitter and more mobile. She likes to travel both overseas and locally on her motorbike and as she turns 70 this year she is a shining example of consistency and commitment. She never exercises like a crazy woman, but she just keeps showing up and regularly improving. She’s never deprived herself in terms of food, she eats clean 80% of the time and she’s in great shape.
If she can do it….
The stability ball jackknife can be done by anyone. Because you’re on your elbows there’s far less stress on shoulders and no strain in the wrists which can occur with a lot of other ab planking exercises. Apart from resting on a bench or chair, you don’t need a heap of room or special equipment. Yet, you’ll get more benefit from spending 60 seconds on this one exercise than doing hundreds of sit-ups and risking your back and neck.
Start by resting your elbows on a bench and using one leg (the other rests on the floor for balance) push the ball to a position under your shin. Adjust your weight so you feel balanced, brace your abs and then lift the second leg to rest on the ball.
Take a moment to find your balance and then gently roll your knees in towards your chest keeping your shoulders still. Push your legs back into a straight plank position bracing strongly through your belly.
Slow is always better with this exercise.
Once you’re confident with your balance (and it’s all about confidence) try 12 slow reps. Take a brief rest and repeat once more. And feel the burn! Even beginners can do this exercise with practise.
Add these into your workouts 3 times a week or do them alone and you’ll feel stronger, more toned, and confident in no time
With modifications, no impact options, full follow along workout videos, ab finishers, and nutrition guidance there is no reason for not getting started. And there’s not a pullup or burpee in sight!
New research suggests daily exercise could be the best way way to combat distressing symptoms of the menopause
Laura Donnelly, Health Editor of The Telegraph in the UK, writes that hot flushes (flushes in the UK, flashes in the US) can be among the most distressing symptoms of menopause. No surprises there ladies!
Women should be issued with a button “in times of stress, release chocolate”!
The problem with most typical “comfort” foods that we turn to in times of stress is that the gratification is often short term, leaving us weighing heavier and feeling bad about ourselves and more stressed than when we started.
Apart from many hormonal consequences from increased cortisol levels that come with chronic levels of stress (and that’s most of us!), one of the most common is increased food cravings and those cravings tend to be for sweet foods. However, the more sweet foods we eat, the worse our mood tends to get.
It’s a vicious cycle.
The weather forecast is for blizzard conditions and severe cold in the southern hemisphere and heat wave conditions in the northern hemisphere.
The very strong temptation with weather extremes is that we put our health and fitness goals on hold, waiting for the “perfect” time.
Want to strengthen your core and back and get a toned stomach? Forget crunches and sit-ups! They not only won’t get you the results you’re after, you’re quite likely to hurt your back and damage your spine.
We want to build a strong core – that’s all the muscles, not just your “six pack” muscles (rectus abdominis) and we want all those core muscles to work together to stabilise the spine and provide strength and stability as the body moves and rotates around it.
We need to exercise the important core muscles that wrap around the torso, lie alongside the spine, and to the sides of the core. And that’s what you’ll get with this ab finisher – a smarter way to train your abs as part of a full body workout.
Looking and feeling your best can come down to something as simple as a good nights sleep.
But if you struggle to sleep through the night, you’ll know it’s not necessarily easy.
A good balance of stress management, exercise and healthy eating (this guide will help you) will assist with good sleep and recovery. Getting quality zzzzz’s makes for a happy, healthy you.
Get off the treadmill and elliptical and try this fat burning, full body cardio workout. You’ll work all major muscle groups and get a heart pumping workout regardless of your fitness level. Modify movements to reduce impact if necessary, you’ll see those modifications in the video.
This is a fun cardio workout that’s suitable for all levels of fitness.
With only 30 seconds of work immediately followed by a 30 second rest there’s plenty of opportunity for recovery. The rest periods are designed to allow you to quickly recover and then go hard in the next interval. If you’re finding that you just don’t need the 30 second rest – well, you need to work harder!
Remember seeing this image recently splashed across social media and the global news?
Critics claimed that this fitness mum allegedly “fat shamed” other women for not having 6 pack abs.
Whether you agree – or in fact found these photos motivating – I believe that most of us limit ourselves in our belief about what we can really achieve.