Working On My Fitness: Abs Edition
Working out can be challenging and sometimes near impossible when you have a crazy schedule like me. However, this year I have been a lot better with keeping up with a work out routine that works for me. I go to a local gym a couple blocks away from my apartment and try to make at least four classes a week. On Monday's, I attend an early morning weight lifting class and three other days out of the week I choose in between pilates or cycling classes. Since I started being consistent with my workouts I have seen amazing changes in my body, but one thing I noticed was that you can't just workout and think you're going to see results. You have to eat right too! I'll do a post later on about what I eat and how I stay away from gaining extra weight while in college, but I will say that it takes discipline. I try to stay away from sweets as much as possible, eat breakfast every morning and have a balanced amount of fruits and vegetables everyday. I absolutely love kale, so most days I'll sauté kale with bell peppers and other veggies (sometimes chicken) and call it a day. The thing about college is that there is always free food. Yes it's tempting, but 99.9% of the time it's horrible for you. RESIST!
First things first, let's start with them abs! Abs are alway a problem area and it takes work to develop them. Here are some of my favorite ab workouts that I do in pilates. Try doing each move for 2 minutes straight and build up as you go. Remember, summer bodies are made in the winter :) Let's get healthy together!
1. The plank
The plank is always the most hated exercise, but it is amazing for your body. The plank helps develop strength in the core, shoulders, arms, and glutes. Even though you aren't moving or lifting weight, you have to constantly squeeze your abs to hold the position. Try performing planks several times each day, trying to hold the position a little longer each time.
2. Pilates press
Start in full push-up position, balancing on hands and toes.(To make it easier you can start on your knees.) Bend elbows directly behind you, keeping arms close to body, and lowering only a few inches toward floor. Press back up. This exercises works your abs plus tones your biceps in the process.
Lie on your back with fingertips behind ears, legs in the air, and knees pulled toward chest. Target your sides and entire ab area by contracting as you lift your shoulder blades off the ground. Straighten your right leg at a 45-degree angle and rotate your upper body to the left, bringing the right elbow toward the left knee. Switch sides by straightening your left leg, bending your right leg, and bringing the left elbow to the right knee. Alternate sides in a pedaling motion. Complete 8 to 12 full reps.
Bring your head up with your chin down and, using your abdominal muscles, curl your upper spine up off the floor to the base of your shoulder blades. Keep the shoulders sliding down and engaged in the back. Make sure to keep your gaze down. Raise your arms, reach them forward over your thighs and pump your arms up and down with energy as you breathe in and out. Take a long, steady inhale for five pumps and a long steady exhale for five pumps.