Wow, you think you guys had never seen abs before. Or at least my abs. I thank you from the bottom of my developing six pack for your kind words. It is a work in progress. Mine are not the best or most sought after abs out there, but being 44 and having popped out two almost nine pound babies, I'll take 'em.
Many of you asked what the “secret” is. There is no secret (except I think there is a correlation between how much you poop and how defined your abs are). I can offer up a couple of tips, but you’ve probably heard them all too often.
Disclaimer: I am no ab specialist. I have no clue what I speak of except that it works for me. Take or leave what you like.
1. Lose belly fat. Fat covers up muscle. The less fat you have, the more muscle shows through. You can have the most defined abs in the world, but if they’re hidden by stuff, no one will know about your existing six pack. This of course means burning more calories than you eat and moving a lot!
2. Tighten. When you’re driving, watching the Bachelor, filing your nails, tighten and hold in your stomach muscles. Make it a habit. This is actually exercise for your abs. It’s funny because from a young age my mom always told me to hold in my stomach. She was ahead of her time.
3. Do yoga. Yeah, I’m a broken record on this one. Don’t crunch your way to better abs. I hardly ever do sit ups. Instead, do the dreaded “core” work, always engaging your abs. I like yoga because it is a total body workout. I think it even tones your fingernails. While doing yoga for 60-90 minutes, you are supposed to be engaging your core the entire time. Even if you are not doing a pose specific to your core (although if you’ve done it long enough you realize they are all specific to your core) you are engaging your abs. Leg raises and static holds like planks are also very helpful.
4. Be active as a child. It might be too late for this one. It’s not the only way, but it helps. I did gymnastics at a time when my muscles were developing. I think this alone gave me an “ab”base for the future.
5. Tighten, again. Whatever form of exercise you are doing be it running, cycling, swimming think about your core and make sure it is tightened, engaged. These days I am trying to strengthen my glutes and I do the same with them. I think it makes a difference. While your core will get a workout during cardio exercise, I believe the benefit is greatly increased if you make a conscious effort to engage, engage, engage. After awhile it becomes habit.
Make sure your workouts are well-rounded and varied. I have noticed increased strength and definition in new areas since I’ve been forced to run less and cross train more. Running only targets certain muscle groups, and really neglects others. It’s my belief that to be a better runner, you have to make cross training funner (like that?).
Are you trying to get better abs? What’s your best tip?