Yesterday I briefly mentioned that I took over part of a private session. It was very last minute, I winged it. I had no time to prepare. I was told I was just going to bridge her. When I was done, my teacher asked what I wanted to do next? Did I want to stay in her hamstrings? I thought for a second. I decided I wanted to move on to abs. I said “It is the day after Thanksgiving. I want her to do some ab work. It will work on toning, which is always nice during the holidays. AND it will help stimulate digestion.” Both my teacher and the client said “she thinks just like us.” That made me smile inside. It is nice to hear you think along the lines of the studio you plan to turn into your career.

We went through a longer ab series. Women love ab work. I have noticed that a lot lately. I have always loved ab work too. I was misinformed for many years. I did crunches like a crazy person. I did them on a huge ball, weight bench, on the floor, against a wall. Crunch crunch crunch. I see a lot of posts on Pinterest from the girls I follow, “blast abs fast” “top ab moves” etc. But I bet most of the them, when they do the moves listed, are not doing them properly. I know I wasn’t. You want flat abs, I know that I do. I have them, but not without much work. Crunches are going to be your least effective workout for this. Also, spot reduction doesn’t work.

Instead of thinking about “abs” you should think about your core. Toning your core. It includes much more than your abs. If I listed all the names you would likely think, what???? But it is more than your abs. Your pelvic floor (think kegals) and even glutes are part of  the many muscles that make up your core. Essentially your core is everything except your arms, legs, and head! Can you see how only crunches won’t work it all? Crunches also tend to push the lower abs outward, which can create a pooch in your lower abs. The very thing that you are working against!

Rollover. A favorite of mine. Courtesy of

This is why Pilates creates such a toned core. Pilates focuses on properly engaging the core. Closing up your rib cage, pulling your belly button to your spine, engaging your pelvic floor. You must do that in every move. No matter if you are doing arm or legwork. You still go back to the core, pun intended, principle of engaging your core.

I came across this slideshow of 20 Tips for Tight Abs Faster. I wished they labeled it core, but I suppose that they titled it to get more hits. Essentially, they are Pilates based principles! Yet, they do not mention Pilates until the very last slide. Sigh, well, I am working to get the word out there. They even mention focusing on a mind-body connection in the second slide. That is one of Joseph Pilates’ 9 Principles!

I was happy to see they mentioned that diet is an important part of obtaining the aesthetically appealing core people are working towards. You can do all the work you want, but if you sabotage yourself with your diet, you are not going to see results. Bottom line. You may be strong and have a very strong core, but you won’t see the ab definition. I  hate to be so blunt, but it is the truth. If you do an hour of Pilates, with heavy focus on your core/abs, then go home and eat some pizza and ice cream, your abs are not going to have that desired 6-pack look. Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemy.

Overall, I found this link to be particularly useful. It had some great tips, which like I said, are all Pilates based! As the holidays are in full swing, go and check out a Pilates studio. What would be a better time than now? When we are not playing outside as much, we tend to eat more decadent food than normal, and bundled up nights on the couch are more frequent. Reformer and Mat work are amazing. You truly will see results quickly. You are toning finite muscles. You will feel stronger, refreshed, and ENERGIZED!!!

I was happy to work with a client this weekend. I wasn’t nervous as I have been in the past. I was strangely calm. I am sure I made mistakes. But I did not feel like I was going to throw up from being so nervous. I enjoyed it. I was happy to work her abs and have a nice conversation.