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Getting a Flat Tummy is Plank & Simple

Plank & Simple Core WorkoutThere is one common problem area on most women – the dreadful pooch. Even when a woman’s body fat is low, they can still have a rounded tummy. Why? Because their muscles aren’t strong enough to hold their tummy flat.

Picture the ab muscles acting like tie down straps. As you engage your core muscles and tighten your tummy, it’s like cranking on the ratchet to pull everything in. As your muscles get stronger, it is easier to hold your tummy flat. But, if your abdominal muscles are weak, you only can hold your stomach flat for a few seconds or minutes – and some people can’t even pull the tummy in at all.

The more you work your abdominals, and engage the core, the stronger and tighter those muscles will get, making it easier to hold your stomach. Sit ups and crunches are always the go-to exercise, but there is one exercise that is often left out of routines that trains your core to improve posture, tighten the waistline, and flatten the stomach all in one exercise – it’s called a plank.

You’ll never work so hard staying so still. 

It’s funny how holding a position still is so much work. Your arms will tremble, your core will burn, your body will wobble around and your body will drip with sweat. You’ll grunt, moan and pant – and you’re eyes will be glued to the clock until it reaches 0 so you can have relief. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Give it a try today.

plank & simple ab workout

Try to do all three rounds with NO rest (don’t even let your knees or hips drop once). If you MUST rest, set rules, like only allow 5 seconds rest after round one. Set goals each time you do this workout. Slowly increase your time from 30 seconds each to 40 seconds each, etc until you reach 1 minute each for 3 rounds. This workout can always be amped up by increasing length of time, or number of rounds.

Plank Workout

THE SIX-PACK: 6 Awesome Ab Workouts

IMG_5472C smIn a Crunch (Literally!)?

I know how easy it is to get bored of workouts, but there really is life outside of traditional crunches and sit-ups. It just takes a little imagination, knowledge or guidance from a pro like my hubby Steve. Over the last year Steve has come up with some great workouts – and ab workouts are always a fav! I mean, who doesn’t want great abs?!

Here are some of my favorite ab exercises that Steve put together for various brands and workout programs – and as you can tell in his pic, they work! Not only will they give you a great workout too, but you’ll learn some new moves to broaden your exercise library.

Give them a try and let us know which one you like the most!

#1 Four-Minute Abs

20 Rock Climbers
20 Figure 8 Ball Pass
20 Reverse Crunch
20 Ball Crunch
4 ROUNDS

#2 Core & Cardio Workout

Thrusters
Left Handed 2-Point Stance
Right Handed 2-Point Stance
Left Elbow Plank with Pulses
Right Elbow Plank with Pulses

#3 Abs & Core Circuit with Balance Ball

25 Rotational Crunches
25 Dynamic Plank
25 Take It or Leave It
25 Oblique Side Bend

#4 Design Your Abs Workout

25 Sit Ups
25 Roll Ups or Toes to Bar
25 Oblique Sit Ups (25 on each side – 50 total)

Repeat 3 Times.

#5 Core & Glutes

Plank (10 seconds)
Upward Facing Dog (10 seconds)
10 Rounds

Sunbird Leg 3-Position Leg Lifts
10 circles per position (back, 45 degree, 90 degree)
3 Rounds

Plank + Knee to Opposite Elbow (a sit-through)
10 times on each side

REPEAT ENTIRE CIRCUIT

#6 BCx Core

25 Sit-ups
25 Crunches
25 Obliques (Left)
25 Obliques (Right)
25 Bicycles

Lose 10lbs in 10 Seconds: 4 Ways to Appear Thinner Fast

My blog title may seem a little too good to be true at first glance, but keep reading, because what you are about to read can literally change your appearance in a matter of seconds. Yes, you won’t actually LOSE 10lbs, but with these tips, you’ll look like you did!

When it comes to belly bulge, the first thing that comes to mind is FAT, but that isn’ always the only problem – and sometimes it’s not the problem at all. I’m talking about the dreaded pooch. Belly fat and a pooch can be two totally different things. It’s one thing to have fat, but you can have a pooch and not even be overweight. Or, you can look even heavier than you are simply because you have both belly fat AND a pooch.

If you feel like you have Poochitis, then this blog is for you!

Here are 4 simple tips to get thin fast!

1.  Suck In – Often times people don’t have as much belly fat as they appear, they just don’t hold their stomach tight. Even worse, it seems “letting it all hang out” is almost a trend, especially with teens. Kids paint on their skinny jeans that happen to stop right below their belly – and they just let their stomach poke right out and do whatever it wants. With hip-hugging pants and low-rise bathing suits, their pooch us more exposed than ever. If they simply would tighten their abs and suck in, they’d easily appear to drop 5-10lbs in an instant.

Tummy Tip: Maintaining a tight belly doesn’t happen overnight, it takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it is. Post notes around the house, and even in the car, to remind you to suck in. Eventually, your tighter tummy will be your new resting posture.

2. Eat Small Meals –  It’s hard to suck your tummy in if you eat too big of portions and walk around stuffed all the time. If you want to maintain a flatter stomach, limit the size of your meals and snacks so your stomach isn’t loaded up with digesting food. It’s not just the last meal you ate either. You have food in your stomach and intestines from several snacks and meals that push out on your abdominal wall. If you want to suck in with ease, don’t fight a stuffed gut.

Tummy Tip: This graphic, from The National Post, is supposed to show us just how big Starbucks’ new Trenta cup size is, but I think it reminds us how easy it is to fill up our stomach. If our stomach’s average capacity is 900 ml, then no wonder we feel fat after having a small sandwich and a Big Gulp. Our stomach is completely overstretched, making it close to impossible to hold our stomach in.

3. Tone Up – If you want maintain tighter abs, you’ll need to work your ab muscles. Doing abdominal exercises tightens and strengthens the muscles needed to hold your stomach in. The more you do them, the easier it is to hold your stomach tight. My favorite tummy tighteners are Plank exercises. Try our “Plank & Simple” at FitStudio for a killer core workout that will help you tone and tighten your midsection.

4. Improve Posture – Look at how poor posture automatically makes someone appear to have a belly. Picture standing up straight as if you are taking the slack out of your stomach. When you are hunched over, your folds of skin and fat accordion together. Yet, when you stand up tall, you lengthen you body and tighten the slack in your skin, giving you a much thinner appearance. Plank exercises also help improve posture, strengthening and elongating the core.

Tummy Tip: Have a friend take a photo of you standing normal. Then have them take a picture of you standing with really bad posture, as well as really good posture. Compare the 3 photos to see the difference good posture will make in your appearance.

Get More Belly Busting Tips in 60 Seconds at FitStudio

10 Ways to Crunch Your Abs into Bikini Body Shape

Everyone admires them. Everyone wants them. Everyone can have them …if they really want them. I’m talking about smokin’ hot  abs.  

When people talk about the hottest celebrity bodies, they show bikini shots & shirtless guys showing off their abs. You rarely see a magazine talking about how great someone’s back is, or how amazing their quads look. No, they are talking about six-packs. And although so many people wish they had them, ironically, many people don’t work them. Here are a few reasons why I believe abdominal exercises get left off the exercise check list.

5 Reasons Abs Get Neglected

1. Not enough motivation. Let’s face it, the “out of sight out of mind” mentality, oftentimes, is the driving force for what gets attention in the gym and what doesn’t. Unless you live by the water or have a pool, you probably aren’t exposing your midsection that often. So, your emphasis is improving the body parts people see the most of, like your arms, legs and butt (because a good or bad butt shows through clothes!). Then you plan a cruise or a vacation that requires swimwear and you freak because you realize just how much you’ve neglected your tummy.

2. You can’t see your abs through your fat. If you are carrying extra weight you probably can’t see your abdominal muscles. And the truth is, you can do abs until your blue in the face and you’ll never see your abs if you don’t lose the layer of fat covering them. However, you can still work them and help tighten your midsection so your stomach muscles stay tight and your core is more fit. Weak abdominal muscles allow your organs to push your stomach wall out, causing you to look even heavier than you are. So, if you can keep those abs tone, you can keep your tummy flatter.

3. Ab exercises suck. I’m sorry for the yucky word, but honestly, there is no other word for it that truly captures the pain of a brutal ab workout. Not only do they burn like mad, they literally suck the living life out of you (your breath). Since you want to minimize space in your gut while working the abs, you can only take shallow breaths. And, unlike working an isolated muscle group like biceps, abdominals are a huge muscle group and require a lot of work. The end result is they wipe you out – and you have to keep doing that over and over for days, weeks, months and sometimes years before you see the first ice cube in your six pack.

4. You like food too much. Let’s be honest here, having abs means being lean. If you love food more than you love the idea of having abs, you will never see your abs. Kelly Ripa and Kiera Knightley are prime examples of this. It’s not that they have huge abs like LL Cool J, they are just super lean. If they were holding more body fat, you wouldn’t see their abs as well as you do. However, that’s also a bit of good news too because that means you don’t have to primarily rely on a insane ab exercises to develop abs. If you diet down, you will start seeing what you already have – and I promise, you have abdominal muscles.

5. You don’t know how to work them. If you are a member of a gym, there may be 20 machines to work chest and only one or two to work the abdominals. Your abs don’t require machinery to work them effectively. Since some of the best ab exercises are done with minimal equipment, it’s up to you to learn all the ways to work them, using nothing more than a yoga mat and maybe some sort of weight. (see below!)

I admit, one of my weakest areas is my abs. I too fall victim to the above reasons why I don’t work harder on my abs and I hope to make improvements. My challenge to you is this. Purposefully schedule ab exercises in your weekly workout routine. Non-weighted crunches can be done daily. Weighted ab exercises should allow a couple of days for rest just like regular weight training. Stick with it and you will see and feel an incredible difference!

10 Ways to Crunch Your Abs into Shape

If you thought there was only one way to do a crunch, think again! Here are 10 variations that are phenomenal for sculpting your midsection. Click on the exercise to preview a demonstration video so you can give it a try yourself!

1. Crunch
2
Bicycle Crunch
3. Bar Crunch
4. Weighted Crunch
5. Kettlebell Crunch
6. Crunch And Punch
7. Snowboarder Crunch
8. Incline Reverse Crunch
9. Take It Or Leave It Abdominal Crunch
10. Resistance Band Kneeling Crunch

Learn more incredible exercises at www.FitStudio.com 

Not sure if you are doing crunches right? Here are some tips:

FAT TO FAB: Get Your Abs Ready for the Beach!

Bikini season is here and, if you’re like me, you’re more aware of your midsection than ever. It’s time to trim up and get rid of some of the winter fluff!. You’re abdominals are already there, we just need to shed the layer of fat hiding them and tone them up.

Six Pack or Just Plain Flat?
Abs come in different shapes and sizes. Some of you may want those ice cube abs “Marky Mark” Wahlberg showed in his old Calvin Klein ads. Most people just want a nice flat smooth surface, free of lumps and bumps. Although the training may be slightly different depending on your goal, one thing remains the same – diet and cardio is a must.

Uncover Your Abs
Everyone has abs – you just might not be showing yours. Sorry pFIT pFANS, although I’ll be giving you ab exercises today, let me first point you to some cardio to burn off that extra layer of fat that’s hiding your abs, no matter what shape they are in. Whether you have a 2 pack or a six pack, you still have lines under that fat and the only thing that will reveal it, is burning more calories than you eat. So it’s time to decrease your caloric intake and increase your calorie burn. Don’t have a treadmill or elliptical? No worries!! I’ve got ways for you to scorch and torch that fat on your living room floor!

Fight the Fat

Perform each exercise as quickly as you can for one minute! Get your timer out! My favorite ones are the Gymboss & the Interval Timer for the iPhone.

Keep your abs tight throughout this entire kickboxing inspired cardio workout.

Butt-kicks
Air Squats
Jumping Jacks
Squat Cross (One arm only per round round)
Squat Cross Knee (One knee only per round)
Repeat 2 Times

Cardio & Core

Planks, Pushups and mountain climbers require you to hold your core tight. Add in a few cardiovascular exercises and you get to tone the midsection and burn fat too.
10 Rotational Push-ups
20 Steam Engine
10 5 Second Football Stomp With Sprawl
20 Plank Jax
10 Plyometric Double Knee Jump
20 Mountain Climber
10 Seconds Rest
Repeat 2 Times

8-Pack

The following 8 exercises will hit your abs in every direction, upper abs, lower abs and obliques. Remember to keep your tummy tight throughout each exercise, keep your butt and shoulders off the floor through the crunches for the best possible ab-crunching action. This workout can be done often. However, if you want to work on those “ice-cube” abs, you’ll need to add in more weighted abdominal exercises, and those will require at least a day of rest between workouts just like regular weight routines.

10 Sit-up
25 Weighted Crunch
10 Sit-up
25 Bicycle Kick
10 Sit-up
25 Snowboarder Crunch (one side per round)
10 Sit-up
25 Snow Angel
Repeat 2 Times

Will Work For Abs: The Six-Pack Secret

Body Parts that Count: Part 3 – Abs & Core

In this blog series I’ve been talking about the 3 muscle groups I feel should be a woman’s focus: Shoulders, Glutes & Abs. Today we discuss the abs.

“Diet doesn’t make you fit.
      Exercise doesn’t make you skinny”

Steve Pfiester said that yesterday and I thought, that needs to be a t-shirt. No, a Billboard. No, a whole national advertising campaign! Honestly, people need to hear this!!! We’ve all seen overweight people who are physically fit and we’ve seen plenty of out of shape skinny people. Why am I going on this tangent when the topic is abs? Well it’s simple. You can have abs (shoot, you may have them right not) but if you don’t combine training with diet together, you’ll likely never see them.

Will Eat for Abs
You’ve seen the homeless guys holding a sign “Will work for food”? Well, will you eat for abs? Will you eat (and not eat) what it takes to get the abs you want? Just like many of those guys have no intensions of actually doing any work to get their money, many people in the gym have no intensions of eating what they need to be eating to get their abs.

Honestly, doing a few crunches is the easy part. It’s the other 23 hours a day that are hard to control. As Alfonso “The Angry Trainer” Moretti says, “Abs are made in the kitchen“. If you want to shave off the fat covering your abs, you need to shave off some calories. Once you can actually see your abs, the shape of them, how tight they are, and how big each cube is is up to your training.

Will Work for Abs
It may not seem like it, but this is the easy part. However, some people still have a lot of questions about how to train them. How often can you train your abs? What type of workouts are best for abs? So many questions, so little time.

Non-weight ab exercises, like traditional crunches or situps, can be done daily. However, weighted abs need rest and repair just like your biceps, so they need a couple of days of rest in between.

Steve Pfiester, for instance, does non-weighted abs in between sets while training other body parts through out the week. Then he has one day solely dedicated to traps, calves and abs, where he does his weighted ab exercises. This way he’s always hitting them to keep them tight and tone.

This is also why I like functional training, like push-ups, planks and mountain climbers, because it keeps my core tight in between ab days. Believe me, if you do pushups on a regular basis, you will definitely notice your abs and core tightening.

Weakness Becomes Strength
I have to admit, abs are not my best feature. Unfortunately, the body parts you hate the most, typically are the body parts you don’t like to train the most too. It should be the other way around, but we are human and we like doing things we are good at. We like training our best looking body part, we enjoy working our muscles that are the strongest and we prefer to do the exercises we have already mastered. That’s why our weaknesses often stay a weakness – but they can become your strength.

If you really want to change your body, work the parts that need to work the most. Do the stuff you hate the most (like cardio) and force yourself to do programs, like our BCx Boot Camp, that keep your training balanced and keep you doing stuff you’d most likely skip if you were doing it on your own. The more you do it, the more you’ll like it because you’ll become stronger and you’ll begin to see the work pay off.

Workooout, “I’m sexy and I know it” (sing along with me!)
Here is one of our ab circuits from our brand new BCx Boot Camp Express workout at FitStudio. Click on the picture below and go to Day 6 to view the entire workout, including instructional video.

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The Secret Behind Flat Abs

Uma Thurman caught letting it all hang out.

My #1 Flat Abs Tip is NOT an exercise. We crunch, sit up, lift, squeeze and burn our abs up hoping to make improvements, but there is one extremely important thing many people don’t do when they leave the gym that can sabotage it all – they don’t hold their stomach in.

Of course Uma Thurman, photographed left a few years ago, is not a fat girl by any means. But if she had been standing up tall and holding her stomach in, she would have even looked more slender and fit. Unfortunately the paparazzi caught her in a not-so-glamorous pose and now this photo continues to float around the internet, which stemmed the question “is this just another weird bikini shot or could she be pregnant?”

The idea behind training your abs is not JUST to build cubes of muscle that show through the skin and look like the coveted six-pack everyone dreams of having, but ab exercises also shorten and tighten the muscles which flatten the stomach. However, if you leave the gym only to eat huge meals that expand the stomach area, stretching back out the muscles, you are defeating the purpose of an awesome ab workout.

Here are a few things you can do outside the gym to train your abs to stay nice and flat.

6 Tips to Getting (and KEEPING) Flat Abs:

1.) Train your abs daily. Non-weighted abs can be done daily at home. The more you tighten them up with exercise, the more they’ll STAY tight.

2.) Keep meals small. If you’ve ever eaten a HUGE meal, you know how difficult it is to hold your stomach in. It’s MUCH easier to do this when you keep your meals and snacks small and manageable.

3.) Avoid loose clothes. Lose clothes say to me “relax! be sloppy! Let it all hang out!” Fitted clothes say “Shape up! Stand up straight! Suck it in! If you want to be held accountable, let your clothes help!

4.) Check yourself. Many times we don’t realize just how poor our posture is and how little we really are maintaining a flat tummy. Look in the mirror and use your muscles (opposed to just sucking wind like kids do when trying to hold their tummy in) to flatten your stomach. Hold that for as long as you can. At first you may not be able to hold it for long, but eventually your muscles will get stronger and tighter

Kyphotic Posture

5. ) Create triggers & reminders. Your body learns it’s resting tone. For instance, have you ever seen how a cop walks aroundwith their arms bowed out? That’s a learned behavior as they have to position their arms where it doesn’t swing and hit their gun belt. Over time, their body assumes this new position as their resting tone. You can do the same thing with your stomach. The more you practice it, the more you remind yourself with notes and set triggers, the sooner your body will learn this new posture as it’s resting posture and it will just become a natural position for you.

6.) Practice good posture. It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to keep your stomach flat if your hips are rolled under and your shoulders are hunched over. Try it! Go look in the mirror and see how your your entire posture effects your belly. Elongate your body, flatten your stomach, stretch out your neck nice and tall, stand up straight, roll your shoulders back, lift your chest up, and curve your hips out (which delivers a nice perky looking bottom) – and see how much better you look!! Practice makes perfect!

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