Spring Workout Blitz

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring seems to have sprung so now it is time to work on coming out of your winter hibernation.  I already have students asking me how to get a flat stomach. I suggest starting to spend more time outdoors by walking or running in the park.  Meet friends for a cycle ride along the canal.  Take the kids to the playground and climb on the equipment with them.  Get your body moving to get stronger and healthier in no time.

Here are 8 moves for a slender summer tummy you will be proud to show off in your swimming costume.  Start with 30 seconds each, and each week add 10 more seconds.  Add 30 seconds of star jumps between each one for a cardio boost!  Remember to check with your doctor before beginning a fitness program.

1. Side planks (30 sec on each side.  Don’t let the hips drop)

2. Partnered leg lifts (One person stands and pushes away the other’s toes as they lift them up to 90 degree)

3. Ballet crunches (Start laying on the ground and hold arms in ballet 1st position.  Then move in an anti-clockwise direction pausing at 3, 12, and 9 on the clock face.  Repeat 10 times then switch to other direction)

4. Roll back and reach (Sit with feet on ground and knees bent.  Hold arms straight out in front of you and slowly lower your torso back with your hips being the pivot point.  As you lower, bring one arm out to the side and reach behind you until you feel you cannot go any lower (you will develop a greater range of motion with more practice).  Come back up by imaging a string is attached to your chest and drawing up upward.  Repeat on the other side.)

5. Supermans (Lay on stomach with arms and legs extended.  Raise opposite arm and leg a few cm off ground.  Hold for 3 seconds. Alternate sides)

6. Step in and out plank (In plank position, step left foot out 1 step to the left, then right foot out to right 1 step, then left foot back to centre, followed by the right foot.  Continue)

7. Tea pot (Standing up, have a weight in one hand.  A jug of laundry detergent or bag with a few books in it will work.  Place left hand on left hip and have weight in right hand.  Slide right hand down outside of right thigh until you are just above knee.  Then use abs on left side to help you stand upright. Complete one set on the one side for 30 seconds, then switch to the other.)

8. Standing side crunch (Place all of weight on left leg.  Hold on to chair or wall if you have poor balance.  Raise right arm above head and point right toe to ground.  Bring right elbow to right knee at 45 degree to body.  Extend arm up again as you point toe but try not to put any weight on right foot to keep tummy working.  Repeat for the 30 seconds, then switch sides.

The foods you eat and drink will affect how your midsection looks too.  Here are some food and drinks to avoid developing a bloated stomach.  Keep a food diary to see which ones affect you the most.

  • Fizzy drinks are filled with gas, which then is released inside your stomach and intestines.  Often times fizzy drinks will have excess sugar too, which contributes to the bloating problem.
  • Chewing gum is thought to bring air into your stomach so stick to the mints before a big night out.
  • Dark green vegetables, like kale, broccoli, and cabbage, can cause bloating and flatulence, but if you eat them regularly, your intestines will increase their efficiency at digesting them.
  • Dairy causes bloating in many people with and without lactose intolerances.  Pay attention to how your body responds to milk, certain types of cheese, yoghurt, and ice cream, and then avoid the ones that give you trouble.

Another crucial element to reducing the amount of fat stored around your waistline is to get enough sleep!  Added stress and lack of rest releases a hormone called cortisol.  Too much cortisol can cause excess fat to accumulate around your midsection.1 If you are eating right and exercising, but not seeing a shift in your body shape, take a look at your sleep patterns to ensure you are getting enough quality sleep.  Aim for 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  If you are training more than usual, you might need even more.

Leave a comment below and tell me how you are emerging from your winter hibernation.

1Moyer, et el.  Obes Res. 1994 May;2(3):255-62.

This post originally appeared on So Sweaty's blog.

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