The Battle for Abs....
Everyone wants to see their abdominal muscles and many think the only way to see them is through rigorous diets of lettuce and exercise and eliminating all the fun for your life! So why bother? What if I told you that you don't have to spend all day in the gym and eliminate fun foods from your diet and you can still have a great mid-section and yes abs! Do I have your attention?
The easy approach to abs is very simple although yes it is hard work, but it is found in consistency and balance. I eat Cheetos, love my desserts and even drink alcohol on the weekends and enjoy my life......and yes I can still see my abs. So my ab routine consists of 3 parts which are ab exercises, cardio exercises and diet. When I say diet I am not referring to being on a diet but eating a balanced diet that allows for me to indulge. I don't like to feel deprived and anything I do has to be balanced for me and my body.
I do 5 primary exercises for my abs. A couple of key points in how I train my abs as I do 4-5 sets of each exercise to failure.
1. Vacuum - you can do this laying on your back, on all fours or standing up as you progress. Since for of this exercise is critical I would recommend you google and watch a good video. Basically it involves sucking your belly button into your rib cage and holding for a set period of time. This will give you great control of your core and also help reduce your waistline.
2. Decline ab bench sit ups - this involves rounding your back and forcing ab muscles to do the work not your hip flexors. Most people do this exercise wrong so pay attention to where you feel the burn. If it is in your thighs and hips you are sitting up too straight. Rounding your back forces abs to do all the work.
3. Hanging leg raises - from a hanging position lift your knees to your chest. You can do alternating versions lifting your legs to the side as well.
4. Ab machine - most gyms have a seated version of the abdominal crunch. I use this machine for 4-5 sets to failure with weight added to really work my abs hard.
5. Decline bench under smith machine - I will grab the bar of the smith machine with arms straight and do sit ups with a rounded back keeping tension on my abs at all times going up and down. This exercise is a killer and one of the hardest ab exercises around but it really works the abs good.
My cardio program consists of roughly 45 minutes of cardio 5 days a week. I split my cardio into two types and do at different times during the day.
In the morning before breakfast I like to do fasted cardio. I will do 20 minutes of HIIT cardio which is high intensity interval training. I will run full speed for 40-60 seconds follow by rest (slower speed on treadmill) to recoup back to 90%. Resting should be less than 1 minute and repeat for 20 minutes.
In the afternoon after my workout I will do static cardio on the elliptical or other machines for 25-30 minutes. This is a nice end to my workout and helps me to finish off strong.
It is important to always listen to your body. Sometimes I may go a little longer and some days a little less depending nohow I feel.
This is a very critical part of my program as no matter how hard you exercise the worse your diet is will impact your waistline big time. So here are a few guidelines I like to follow when eating and drinking.
Daily calorie intake of 1800 - 2000, with my calories coming from protein, carbohydrates and fats. I prefer to stay on a higher protein diet.
Calories from protein - 700 - 900
Calories from carbs - 500
Calories from fats - 600
Protein I like to eat a lot of turkey, chicken and fish. I will also eat eggs at breakfast with a higher percentage of egg white although I do eat told as well. I try to grill and eat with minimal sauces, but I do like flavor so generally idea is to flavor not bathe food in sauce.
Carbohydrates I like my sweet potato. One of my favorite foods and I eat both purple and white sweet potato on the grill. Other carbs are kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, etc.
Fats I like my avocado, almond butter and peanut butter. These foods I will eat at every meal almost but do need to keep fats within limits.
So you see my diet and you say....what about chocolate, pizza, hamburgers, fries, milkshakes lol!! Yes I eat them all but I place them in my meal plan looking at the macro nutrients they have. I dont don't go crazy and just eat but plan them into my meals so I Amateur always getting a balanced nutrition. For me I always preach about balance and finding ways to keep clean and healthy but also indulge.
Hope you enjoyed this blog and if you have any ideas for future blogs please join my fan club and let me know your ideas. Eri XOXO