Your Best Abs Ever
Are you looking for a tighter mid-section, leaner muscles, and a ripped back? Then, GO DEEP! Core training, especially traditional Pilates moves, allow you to work your abdominals on a very deep level – and while some of the moves can look deceptively simple, when they are performed properly, they deliver amazing results.
The key is to think of your abs as your stabilizer – so, as you’re moving your arms and legs like levers, your core is deeply engaged. Imagine lying on a beautiful new rug, with a glass of red wine balanced on your stomach – in order to not spill that glass you have to keep those abs as tight and still as possible. Want to put it to the test?
Here are a couple of my favorite summer slim-down moves that get to the “core” of the matter:
- Double Leg Ab Lift with Ball: Place the core ball between ankles, lie on your back, arms stretched above your head, and legs pointed up toward the ceiling. Squeeze the ball between your ankles, keeping your back flat on the floor and slowly lower your legs down toward the floor a few inches. As you get stronger, take them down to a 45-degree angle. (If you’re super-advanced, you can try lowering to the floor.) The key is to never sacrifice form. This will prevent the back from arching. Return to the start position and repeat.
- Cancan with Ball: Lie on back holding core ball overhead, legs straight and feet together. Engage abdominal muscles as you lift your upper body, reaching upward and kick one leg up, meeting the ball. Hold for 2 seconds, then lower the leg, torso, shoulders, head and arms and alternate legs. (For an easy, gentler move, you can modify by bending the knees.)
Ab Bloat Busters
We all know that when it comes to slimming down for summer, we are what we eat. And, getting a sleek look isn’t just about fat-loss; sometimes it’s about deflating your bloat. Here are some great bloat beaters:
1) Certain foods and beverages may help cut back on bloating without the dangerous side effects of laxatives or water pills. Fresh-brewed tea with peppermint or ginger is my bloat-buster of choice.
2) Eating smaller portions more frequently throughout the day is a great way to keep your metabolism humming and your tummy feeling full.
3) While a little salt here and there o.k., keep in mind that sodium can cause water retention. Check your labels. If the grams of sodium outweigh the calorie count, put it back on the shelf.
4) Sweet stuff can cause blood sugar spikes, leading to unwanted weight gain. But before you overdose on artificially sweetened goodies, remember that sugar alcohol (found in a lot of “sugar-free” products) can also cause unnecessary bloating. Unfortunately, the only solution here is good old-fashioned moderation!
5) Anything you can drink out of a can (carbonated drinks) can cause bloating – even diet sodas. Try jazzing up your water with fresh lemon or “Emergen-C” packets.
Whether you use Pilates moves to work your abdominals or utilize some of my Bloat Buster tricks to keep your abs in check, don’t wait – you will get those amazing results! Just remember, you are worth it.