Written with love, by Nikki Lian
My number one complaint from clients --
“My arms and legs are getting buff, but my belly is still there” or “I’ve been working out so hard…where’s my flat stomach?”
My response is usually somewhere along the lines of “Okay. What exactly have you been eating?” Having fab abs starts in the kitchen!! Eating right, staying away from refined sugar, eating fresh, non-processed food and veggies, and drinking enough water are a few things you have to add to your routine. Once you’ve conquered that, you will start to see results.
When you come to the understanding that crunches aren’t going to get you far if your eating is not intact, then you can start analyzing your workouts. If you’re getting bored with your same old ab routine, here are a few exercises that can be added or can replace the ones in your workout:
Lie flat on your back with a stability ball between your ankles. Keeping your legs straight and lift them up (while holding the ball) and grab the ball with your hands. While the ball is in your hands, extend your arms above your head while bringing your straightened legs an inch above the floor.
Lifting your legs again, grab the ball from your hands with your ankles. This is a difficult exercise and does some serious work on your lower abs, so start out with as many as you can do and work your way up.
Ahhh good old crunches. With your feet flat on the floor, knees bent and hands behind your head, lift your abdomen up toward the ceiling, keeping your elbows back. Then lower back down to the ground.
After you do 20 repetitions, keeping them together, swing your knees to one side, and continue to lift your abs toward the ceiling. When you finish 20 reps on one side you can finish up your crunches on the other.
Lying on your back and keeping your legs straight, pretend as if your legs are a marker or pen and write out the alphabet with your legs, keeping your feet off the floor. This is another difficult one, so try A-M first, rest, and then N-Z.
Sit Ups with Punches
With your feet flat on the floor and a weight in each hand (3-5lbs is sufficient), do a full sit up and punch with each hand off to the side (right arm punches over to the left side, left arm punches to the right side) so you get a full range of motion on your obliques. Think like Rocky!! Sit up, punch, punch, back down. Remember to punch to the side and not straight forward so you can get that twist in.
Kickboxing + Boxing
If you can get ahold of a heavy bag, boxing is a great full body workout. Why do boxers have such great abs? Because they can burn up to 1000 calories in an hour right on the bag. When you’re punching, a majority of your power is coming from your legs and abs, so you’re getting those body parts in as well. If your gym has heavy bags, then it most likely has a group fitness boxing or kickboxing class. You can explore a few of those and then make up your own routine!
It’s hard to see the first thing you want to go be the last! Be patient, and keep changing up your routine so you don’t get bored. And remember, getting the stomach you want isn’t about doing crunches all day. This routine should be supplemented with a healthy diet, a full workout routine, and plenty of cardio and rest.
Good luck on your ab quest!