Everyone wants a nice core, but it seems nearly impossible to get that flat stomach or washboard abs… But since becoming a health professional, I’ve learned that it’s NOT about crunches, it’s NOT about sit ups and it’s most certainly NOT about cardio and burning fat off of your abs. It’s about building strength in your core, with every single thing you do. From proper posture to squeezing your core throughout EVERY single workout, getting a strong core is much easier than you think.
One very important part of building your core is a well-balanced & clean diet. This isn’t to say you have to eat clean 100% of the time, but if you can aim for 80% of the time, that’s a great ratio! Fueling your body with the proper nutrients will make you feel better, give you energy and speed up your metabolism. It will also aid in the fat-burning process while fueling your muscles (abs in this case) with the right nutrients.
Let’s get down and dirty into some core secrets: Do you do crunches? Sit-ups? Russian twists? Planks? Bicycle crunches? All of those exercises burn the core, but there is something else you can do to get your abs firing:
USE YOUR CORE FOR EVERY SINGLE THING YOU DO
SQUEEZE YOU CORE, LIKE YOU’RE FLEXING, EVERY TIME YOU COME UP.
SQUEEZE YOUR CORE, MAKING YOUR BACK FLAT FROM HEAD TO TOE.
SQUEEZE YOUR CORE WITH EVERY PRESS AND FEEL THE CORE ENGAGED.
I’ve said before that FORM IS EVERYTHING, and FORM comes from the core, a strong, engaged core. Building your core strength stems from proper posture (FORM) with all exercises AND doing day-to-day activities. When you’re checking out at the grocery store, stand up straight, shoulders back, and squeeze the core. Next time you’re sitting in the car, sit up straight, shoulders back and squeeze the core. Simple, right? Make this a habit, and you’ll build core strength without even realising it!
If you still don’t follow me, here’s something that may help: I don’t do crunches. I don’t do exercises that single out the abs. WHY? Because the abs are a VERY small muscle group, and since they are the “core” to every muscle movement in your body, engaging the core in other exercises is most effective. I do a lot of weight-lifting and resistance training (body weight exercises), all that stem from the core.. I squat squeezing my glutes, quads and core. I deadlift, fully engaging the hamstrings, back and core. I always make sure my posture is in check, and ENGAGE THE CORE. (NOTE: Squeezing the core and focusing on form also prevents injury, because you always want to put exercise safety first!)
So next time you’re wondering why all those crunches may not be working, think about incorporating a little core focus into your larger muscle group workouts & everyday activities. You’ll be surprised by the “effortless” core strength progress that starts to show.