Abs are made in the where? Kitchen! How many times have we heard this? Well you are hearing it for a reason so here are some tips and tricks to get rid of some bloat and get that envious set of chiseled abs.
Let’s start with exercise. The best thing you can do for your abs is to work on your Core. “Crunches work only the muscles on the front and sides of your abdomen, but it’s important to target all the muscles of the core to get more defined abs—including lower back, hips, and upper thighs,” says Lou Schuler, co-author of The New Rules of Lifting for Abs.
It is likely not reality to have absolutely flat abs every single day of the week. A lot comes into play like the foods we eat for example. Some foods contribute to bloating, gas, and water retention. So on those days you really want to avoid the bloat and squeeze into a bikini or a pair of your favorite skinny jeans try to avoid the following foods:
- Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale – do not say buh bye to these nutrient rich foods all together. What to do: smaller portions, and steam them to soften the fiber and cook some of the water out. This will allow for more space in your GI tract and easier digestion.
- Legumes (or beans) – Not new news but beans cause gas. Combine them with whole grains like rice or quinoa and your body will eventually start to get used to them. The more sporadic your bean intake the more likely you will have bloat and gas.
- Dairy – Dairy products can cause gas and bloating as your body may not have the enzymes necessary to break down lactose. Try to choose non-dairy alternatives; there are a slew of products that are just as good if not better without the lactose.
- Salty Foods – it is hard to avoid salt these days. Sodium can be found in so many foods. Look at the amount of sodium in your foods and eventually you will become familiar with what to avoid or eat less of. If you cannot avoid salt at times you should drink lots of water to help flush it out
Incorporating these foods will contribute to getting rid of bloat, gas, and stomach discomfort:
- Ginger – a natural anti-inflammatory that helps with your digestion, ginger will reduce puffiness and gas. Try adding ginger to salad dressings, smoothies, and teas.
- Lemon – add lemon to your water. Lemon has so many wonderful benefits like antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers. Lemon is also a digestive aid and a cleanses your liver.
- Peppermint and chamomile tea – have some peppermint tea in the evening to relax your GI muscles and dissolve gas in your stomach.
- Asparagus – a natural diuretic, anti-bloating super-food will help rid that pesky water weight away.
- Cucumbers – contains quercetin, an antioxidant that helps get rid of swelling. Add to your water, or just snack away on some cucumbers and say goodbye to that puffy belly.
- Bananas, avocados, pistachios, oranges, and kiwis – these delicious treats help to regulate sodium levels in your body.
Please share your tips and tricks on obtaining rock hard abs! I would love to hear from you!
Having shared these tips and tricks I do want to disclaim that I am by no means a doctor or nutritionist. I am a personal trainer and fitness and health enthusiast. The information provided comes from my personal experience and if you have any concerns, questions, etc… you should always consult medical professionals.
Photo credit courtesy of Richmond Renew Me Today
1. Nutrition and Exercise – number one is by far my diet and nutrition coupled with a healthy exercise regimen. Nutrition is 80% of the reason I am fit today; 20% is the exercise. So what do I do to stay healthy and fit? I drink a nutrient dense shake everyday, balance my foods with the right balance of protein, veggies, fruits, healthy fats, and starches; as well as maintain a constant exercise routine. Sometimes I do PiYO, sometimes I follow the 21 day fix, sometimes I just take the family with me on a long walk and clean the house; the key is staying active and making sure you get at least 30 minutes of heart pumping activity into your day.
2. Fitbit – Oh my Fitbit is like gold to me. I have owned the Zip, the One and now the Fitbit flex. I have to say my favorite is definitely the Flex. I like the convenience of not having to take it off unless to charge. It’s even waterproof! I just wrote a great post on Fitbit Flex accessories to add some chicness to your flex band so check it out 🙂 Fitbit is great because it tracks your steps throughout the day, activity, and sleep. It tells you how many calories to eat based on your given activity. So you really get amazing accuracy on how many calories in vs. out. My favorite aspect is that it syncs with Myfitness Pal. They talk to each other to calculate food, exercise, etc. You only have to log food and exercise in Myfitness Pal and it will automatically sync to the Fitbit database.
3. Myfitness Pal – is an amazing tool which I have also written all about in the past. It allows you to set goals with regards to gaining. maintaining, losing weight and it tells you how many calories you need to accomplish that goal. It also tracks the nutrients in the foods you are eating to let you know if you are above the percentage for carbohydrates or fats for example on a given day.
4. Polar Heart Monitor – I am a huge advocate of wearing a heart rate monitor when doing cardio. It really will give you the most accurate number of calories burned based on how hard you work that day. You also can track your heart rate throughout your workout as well as calories burning to determine if you need to step it up or slow it down. I log my calories into Myfitness Pal and am able to see how many additional calories are in my ‘bank’. I recommend getting one with a chest strap; you will get the best results that way.
These pretty much sum up the tools I use daily to maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay fit and active. What are your go to fitness tips and tricks?
Well I just love this to pieces. I used to live in the coldest place on earth. O.k. well I’m clearly exaggerating. New Hampshire is cold but it’s no Alaska. Anyhow, I always remember the fall bringing in that fabulous crisp cool air. The smell of all things fall, bonfires and fireplaces, apple cider, apple pie, any kind of pie really (I LOVE pie), pumpkins, etc… Fall also meant bringing out the comfy sweaters, boots, and scarves; and then came the holidays. I didn’t stand a chance in hell not bringing out the larger pair of skinnies for the remainder of the winter. o.k. I won’t lie sometimes those got a little snug too. It was cold up there; I needed that extra bowl of lobster bisque what can I say!
When I entered the month of panic. See we typically planned a yearly trip to Florida between February and March. I was clearly aware of this yearly trip throughout the fall and holidays but I still waited until that month or 2 weeks prior to our yearly trip to think about getting myself back in shape. Let’s just say I never felt comfortable in that bikini during our Florida trips. I felt self conscious and we were on vacation so trying to “eat” healthy or be conscious of working out was like torture during vacation. I say this and share this story for obvious reasons. If I would have indulged in moderation and continued a good workout routine I would never have had to ‘binge diet and exercise’ starting January 1.
It’s not until I actually moved to Florida that I made my fitness and health a lifestyle not a ‘season’ during the year. It’s when I did this that my body transformed and I became a fit person year round. Granted I was very pregnant for 1/2 of last year; but I was able to bounce back by keeping that lifestyle throughout the pregnancy, fall, winter, etc… I’m not saying you can’t enjoy life, live, have a slice of pie for goodness sakes. Just be conscious of what you are consistently putting in your body and what you are consistently doing to get exercise in.
For those of you living in the arctic cold that is anywhere North of Georgia I encourage you to get out there and stay fit. Join an indoor cycling class, go snow shoeing, or if you really don’t want to brave the cold and are like me and looking for a quick 30 minute workout to do at home well I can recommend a few programs for you 🙂 hint hint they changed my body, health, and life! hint hint – 21 day fix and PiYo
What are your go to fitness programs during the winter?