When I start working with new clients I help them define their goals before we get started with their training. For most women, their goal is a lean mid-section.
“I want to get rid of these love handles”. “I want to see my abs, if I even have any!” “I want to be able to fit into my jeans without spilling over!”.
The interesting thing is that even if a client is carrying a significant amount of fat on their back or lower body their number one concern is still their tummy.
It’s because we see our tummy, and we focus on it. We watch as it changes shape, as it gets bloated throughout the day.
We struggle to button our jeans and blame the dryer for shrinking them.
We feel a roll forming when we bend side-ways. We show off our “food babies” to our friends after a big meal. We suck in our tummies when pictures are being taken.
We obsess over the quick fixes.
What exercises can I do for my core? A client would ask me after we had just completed compound exercises that did engage and strengthen their core. What they meant was, I don’t like how much fat I’m carrying on my tummy and I want to do whatever it takes to lose that fat as quickly as possible.I know this might be frustrating to hear, but no specific core exercise is going to give you defined abs if the real issue is decreasing your body-fat.
Doing crunches doesn’t target fat on your tummy.
Think about it this way, if doing specific exercises really did reduce body-fat in the targeted area then how come tennis players don’t end up with one well-defined strong arm and one flabby arm after playing tennis with their dominate arm for years? Doing crunches is not the answer, reducing your body fat is. So how do you do that?
I could put you through intense workouts three times a week but if your diet was working against you it would take ages to see results. You would feel stronger, you would be able to accomplish amazing feats in the gym, but the defined abs? They wouldn’t be visible.
Diet is very, very important in weight-loss. You need to consume less calories than your body burns each day. So how many calories should you be eating? That’s difficult for me to answer without seeing you. It depends on your height, weight, and body-type. But there are definitely ways to get a rough idea! There are online “calorie intake” calculators, or you can use a calorie counting app like “MyFitnessPal”.
What should you be eating? I recommend nutrient-dense foods. Foods that give you the most amount of nutrients without breaking the calorie bank. Lean proteins are always a good option, veggies, fruits, slow-digesting carbs and whole foods. Try avoiding refined sugar and processed food. That’s a great start.
What about exercise? I challenge you to do something every day! Go for a 30min brisk walk at a pace where it’s difficult to keep up a conversation. Weight-train, do yoga, swim, skate, bike, jog, box, row, hike.
Do any physical activity you like but do something every day, even if it is just going for a walk.
Your heart will thank you. Your body will thank you. It will boost your energy immensely. And you’ll be on your way to a defined core!
What if you’re having trouble staying motivated?
A good support system is vital.
Recruit a friend or family member to train with you. Join an online motivation community. Work with a personal trainer. Inspire others to join you and you’ll start to feel excited for your workouts. Even with a support system there may be days you don’t train, days you don’t eat well. And that’s okay.
The important thing is that you don’t give up. Focus on what you’ll do to make tomorrow better.
Remember, it’s a journey. It’s a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. But every day you do something towards your goal brings you that much closer. I’m going to be posting “exercise spotlight” tutorials and sample workouts soon. Let me know what you want to learn more about in the comments!
Author: Sofia Martimianakis