Well this post is about seven days late, but not a dose-of-ab-inducing-awesomeness short. Don’t you worry.
It’s a pretty common misconception to think that you’re 1,000 crunches away from a six-pack. Rather, those abs may never been seen if you don’t tackle nutrition and cardio, too. Core strength can be achieved in a variety of ways, but if you want visible results you have to take it a few steps further.
Exhibit A: the interval workout.
I’ve spent more time with the 6-lane oval in the past 6 months than I have in the past six years. (But it’s worth noting that you certainly don’t have to run in ovals to get in a quality interval workout!) With any interval/speed workout, make sure you give your muscles a proper warm-up with some walking, jogging, strides and/or plyometrics (depending on how much/fast you intend to whomp yourself). Then, hop to it!
If you’re training for a race, have your goal-pace in mind (goal race pace = GRP). If you’re just out working on your fitness, go by feel and your level. Ex: recently raced a 10K for the first time? Go for that 10K pace by feel. Turn the hurt up a notch for the 800s (GRP – 30 seconds). Something comfortably hard. Don’t be all chatty during that 1 mile or any of the 800s, but don’t reach that finish-line-puke-threshold level.
Cool-down. Recover. Refuel!
Now that we’re in the kitchen, we have Exhibit B: Quality Carbs.
Newsflash: most people eat plenty of carbohydrates! Rather, most people eat them in excess. And the body is so used to this that is has plenty of mechanisms in place to put the extras away for later. In case we, you know, randomly go into starvation mode or suddenly find ourselves with NO FOOD ANYWHERE or maybe decide to hibernate. All of which are such unlikely circumstances today that what actually happens is we store layer upon layer upon layer of extra carbs. Some of it can be found in the liver and muscles for quick use, but because those stores are pretty full, too, guess what’s next? Your belly!
And your abs don’t take precedence here. They hide in the shadows.
So, rather than pile on the extras, let’s hop on nature’s carb party! If your goal is to build lean body mass (muscle), shift your focus to natural sources of carbs and leave it at that. They happen to also be full of fiber and water, so you fill up pretty quickly! We’re looking at things like squash, potatoes, fruit, beans and legumes. And did you know some nuts have carbs, too? YEP. See, plenty of nutrient-dense options!
These are just a few of my personal favorites:
Ready to join? It’s okay if you’re late, too. Check out Melissa’s posts for some more food & workout ideas, and let us know if you’re in!