Archives for posts with tag: abs

Today is Wednesday. If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I love to participate in Wundachair Wednesday. Who doesn’t absolutely adore ampleย alliteration? See what I did there?

Today’s video comes to you from my wonderful wundachair. The twist. It is an essential part of my Pilates practice. It just feels so lovely on the whole body. Twisting is especially good for your internal parts. Imagine wringing out your organs, that is what a good twist can help you do. Twisting brings an energy to your workout and follows you throughout your entire day.

My set up is one black spring on the 3rd claw. You can alter your resistance based on your strength and needs. I find this to be the sweet spot of spring loads.

I aimed to keep my hips as level and square as possible for this video. I really focused on twisting from the torso and not from the lower half. Keep the ribs closed and the core engaged. Inhale on the way down and exhale to lift. I think of lifting from my chest. Long beautiful lines. I think imagery is important for this move (as it is for many) You need to keep that mind-body connection. The toes are reaching away and the legs are trying to stay as still as possible (this is a challenge without a teacher holding your feet) Engage the low belly and the obliques.

This is going to work the obliques, very deeply. The shoulders, arms, pecs a bit, lower belly, and even the glutes a bit if they are active while keeping the legs still. The major focus here, though, is the obliques.

Move within your safe range of motion. This is a move where you can over-do it, without even realizing it is about to happen. I would urge you to move with purpose and caution if you have never done this before. Meaning, the twist does not have to be very dramatic the first time and you do not have to go all the way to the floor as you lower the pedal. You must make sure you can get back up! It is awesome to get that pedal all the way down, but now you’re there and cannot get it back to the start, AH what happens then? A fancy ninja backwards roll over/flip into a roll up? Because I cannot pull that off, if you can, please share a video! The focus then should be the movement and strength building. Building blocks to get the pedal as far down as you can press it with a strong and aligned lift back up.

One little note, make sure you are not right next to a wall so when you turn in the opposite direction you don’t have to move your arm in a weird way. My mistake! Ha!

Have you ever loved something so much that you want to shout it from the rooftops?I am not talking about another person or persons. That is easy, I feel that way about my husband and son. I am talking about something outside of a human connection. A passion for anything else in your life?

I feel that way about Mat work. If you have read my blog before, you may have gathered as much. I am a hardcore Pilates Mat lover. I truly believe in the work. It is beautiful, tough, graceful, and classic. It is just a gorgeous way to build yourย strength, tone your body, center yourself and your life, and stay fit. I want to shout this from the rooftops. I don’t like heights, so I settle for my blog and Facebook platforms. I also can add teaching to that platform.

You can imagine how excited I am that I have a class starting on the 23rd. I asked if anyone has signed up yet. I was told no. That it is going to be a hard sell in the building I am in. I was instantly deflated. I can’t understand how it is a hard sell? People like their machines there, though. I get that, the machines are challenging. But the Mat is no less challenging. In fact, in many moves, it can be tougher than the Reformer. You have no assistance from the springs. You have to rely on your own core strength, balance, and body strength. I am not here to argue which is better. They are both amazing. It is no secret that my passion and devotion does lie with the mat. Don’t let me wittiness distract you though! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I wish people would give it a shot. Let me show them that mat work can blow your mind too. Let me exude that love and passion in my classroom to you. I promise your abs will scream after my abs series. Your bum will burn after my side lying legs series. And when we finish with arms you will be saying, “no I cant do one more set.” I will say, “yes yes you can! Little black dress arms, here we come!!!”

Deflated. That is what I am feeling this morning. I bit the bullet and said I also want to start teaching some Reformer classes to get my hours in as well. I want to get teaching and if I have to start with Reformer here, that is what I will do. I am not chained to one studio. I can find other places that embrace Mat. I feel like I am itching to spring out of the gate and get going though. I know 100% I am ready to teach Mat regularly. I can do Reformer too. I know more than I like to let myself think. I have an hour long Cadillac class to develop for tomorrow as well.

I just need the chance to be able to sing my passion. I know I can bring others in, if I am given it!

What passion would shout from the rooftops if you could? Have you ever been where I am as a teacher. Or with anything else in your life? Read to go, but finding roadblocks all along the way? Have you successfully been able to transfer your passion for something to others?

Sunday we had a little shindig at our home. It was hot hot hot, in the 90s. We went tubing, wakeboarding, grilled out, swam in the lake. It was a fantastic day with my family! There was no reason to get together other than the wonderful summer weather!

My grandma even made it over. She really cracked me up yesterday. I was running around in my bikini. At one point when I walked into my living room she stopped me and told me the following:

“You don’t even look like you had a baby! Not at all. You have abs!!!!” She then turned to my hubby and said “you are one lucky man!”

On Saturday we were at another family party. She told me I was too skinny and that she liked me with a little meat on my bones. Then smacked my butt!

HAAAAA

It really made me smile.ย  The abs comment especially. I mean Iย knowย it was my grandma saying these things. When it comes to grandchildren grandmas can be biased. But knowing that my abs are visible to other people made me feel like my hard work has been worth it.

I wasn’t fishing for a compliment. I was simply running around being a momma and trying to get Jack ready for his nap before we headed back on the boat. (don’t worry my grandma, mom, dad, etc stayed behind. There were land babysitters around! We had a lot of people over.)

Then yesterday I came across this little gem of a meme! It really made me giggle because it is so true. In my life at least.

It is how I felt yesterday. I am a little crispy from all the sun. A little sore from being thrown from the tube and I had at least one kinda rough wipeout on the wake board. Jack’s sleep patterns have been rocky at best the past few days. So I am just tired in general. I took it easy today but I did workout.

It isn’t easy. I do not sit around eating boxes of cookies doing nothing. I workout, I eat pretty healthy and clean, and I am active in general. It is not something that just happens. I had to lose about 35lbs of baby weight to get back to what I was. A good 15 of it came off right after having Jack but the rest of it took a while.

I now weigh between 118-120lbs depending on the day. I have had to eliminate dairy as much as possible. It has made a world of difference in my life. It is sad and amazing at the same time. I wish I could tolerate cheese! MMMM

I have even been finding alternatives to decadent desserts (a weakness of mine) I recently made a frozen black grape dessert. I came across it last week and I whipped it up. I am sorry but when I saw how easy it was to make I couldn’t pass it up. It probably took me less time to make than it takes someone to make a lovely ice cream sundae with all the fixings. It is fantastic! I still have some frozen. I did not use walnuts. I also added some water to get it smoother. My food processor wasn’t making it as smooth as I wanted without a little liquid. And a little extra water never hurt anyone. Hydration hydration hydration!

I highly recommend this. You can really do it with any grape. I have been freezing grapes and eating them for about 8 or 9 years. I never thought to puree them though, how silly of me! I actually introduced my hubby to frozen grapes. Initially he thought me bananas until he tried them! Then he was hooked.

So like I said, it isn’t something that just falls on my stomach, these abs. They didn’t just appear one morning. I looked down and was like oooo hey there hot stuff, where did you come from? You’re welcome to stay. No, I bust my ass daily in my workout room, at the barre, and in the kitchen.

Yesterday marked the last day of the Skinny Ms. 7 Day Ab Challenge I decided to complete. I did every single day listed and every single move as describe, shown, and instructed. I included some of the info for the moves below. However I did not include everything. They have a full set of instructions along with videos to describe all of the moves. Please visit there for complete details on the actual challege.

My thoughts?

Overall I thought it was fun to challenge myself in some way. I do focus a lot on my core and abs in general but this was very structured.

SUNDAY– Complete 1 Circuit = 200 repsโ€ฆmove from one exercise to the next with little to no rest.
Bicycle Crunch โ€“ 50 reps (25 each side)
Reverse Crunch โ€“ 50 reps
Mason Twist โ€“ 50 reps (25 each side)
Leg Lifts โ€“ 25 reps
Push Through โ€“ 25 reps

Last Sunday was exciting, the first day. I was familiar with all of those moves so it seemed like a breeze.I also ran 3.2 miles prior to completing this day’s moves and I was able to get through it pretty easily.

MONDAY โ€“ 8 Minute ABS, Level One

Foot to Foot Crunch โ€“ 30 reps
Alternating Curls โ€“ 30 reps

Recovery โ€“ 30 seconds
Push Through โ€“ 30 reps
4 Time Abs โ€“ 30 reps

Recovery โ€“ 30 seconds
Arm Reaching Crunch โ€“ 30 reps
Leg Up Touch Crunch โ€“ 30 reps

Recovery โ€“ 30 seconds
Cross On Crunch โ€“ 30 reps
Double Crunch โ€“ 30 reps

Monday was slightly more challenging. I had to watch the video first to make sure I knew how to do all of the moves. My abs were sore at the end but they were not sore on Tuesday.

As a matter of fact the soreness did not carry over into any of the following days.

TUESDAY

Routine #1
Mountain Climbers โ€“ 20 seconds
Rest โ€“ 10 seconds
Sissors โ€“ 20 seconds
Rest โ€“ 10 seconds
Knees In and Out โ€“ 20 seconds
Rest โ€“ 10 seconds
V-Ups โ€“ 20 seconds
Rest โ€“ 1 minute

Routine #2
Toe Touch โ€“ 20 seconds
Rest โ€“ 10 seconds
Air Bike โ€“ 20 seconds
Rest โ€“ 10 seconds
4 Time Abs โ€“ 20 seconds
Rest โ€“ 10 seconds
Prone Plank โ€“ 20 seconds
Rest โ€“ 10 seconds

Tuesday was also fairly easy for me. I do most of those moves regularly. My v-ups were a little uncoordinated but I did them. I was tired by the end, but I wasn’t dead. I still worked out and did 30 minutes on the elliptical.

WEDNESDAY โ€“ Rest/Recovery Day

Wednesday I did rest my abs. I still did a workout I just did not do any specific core work.

THURSDAYโ€ฆComplete 3 circuits โ€“ move from one exercise to the next with little to no rest.
Flutter Kicks โ€“ 30 reps (15 each side)
Side V-ups โ€“ 20 reps (10 each side)
Push Through โ€“ 30 reps

Thursday was very boring for me. By the 3rd push through I was so bored and wanting it to be over. A different set of moves for these 3 circuits would have better suited me. I don’t like push-throughs at all. I am not sure why, I just don’t.

FRIDAY
Foot to Foot Crunch โ€“ 30 reps
Alternating Curls โ€“ 30 reps

Recovery โ€“ 30 seconds
Push Through โ€“ 30 reps
4 Time Abs โ€“ 30 reps

Recovery โ€“ 30 seconds
Arm Reaching Crunch โ€“ 30 reps
Leg Up Touch Crunch โ€“ 30 reps

Recovery โ€“ 30 seconds
Cross On Crunch โ€“ 30 reps
Double Crunch โ€“ 30 reps

Friday was Monday all over again, 8 Minute Abs. It kept my attention a little better because I was following the video they provided.

SATURDAY
Side Plank โ€“ 20 (10 each side)
Rest โ€“ 10 seconds
Side Burpees โ€“ 10 reps (5 each side)
Rest โ€“ 30 seconds
Plank โ€“ Hold 1 minute
No rest
Mason Twist โ€“ 50 reps (25 each side)

Saturday was also rather easy. I thought for sure that my abs would be on fire by Saturday. They were not. I think that Saturday could have been more than one set of those. Perhaps 3 circuits again? With the Mason Twist I did use an 8lb weight for added challenge.

I have to attribute the lack of sore tired abs to the fact that I do so much core work regularly. This must have not been a challenge for them in general. I mean my abs do look nice. I was trying on some outfits yesterday and stopped to think that while standing in my bra and jeans. So I am not complaining. I don’t know if it is just how they look or if this made some difference. It was fun to challenge myself to follow through on completing each day, regardless of any boredom I felt. Sure there were times in this challenge that I was tired while doing the moves. 8 minute abs in particular. I was burning. The burn just did not follow me around once I was done working. This challenge may have been better suited for someone who doesn’t regularly do Pilates and other core work. I do, several times a week, almost daily.

I would say if you are not core obsessed and are looking for something to help improve your abs then give this a shot. And if you do a lot of core work already like me, what is the harm in doing this challenge too? That is how I feel. There was no harm done. I may not be burning but it did help to keep my abs toned. Bottom line, toning is toning. I could always do this again and up the work load.

I would and most likely will complete another challenge of theirs in the future. It was fun to make an effort to do this. They do have month long challenges. I wonder if I would have the stamina to complete one of those? They seem to be more about eating though. We will see if one ever piques my interests. If it does and I decide to give it a shot I will write about it, success or failure!

I included some of the info for the moves above, as you read. However, I did not include everything. They have a full set of instructions along with videos to describe all of the moves. Please visit there for complete details on the actual challenge.

I recall a season when I had a lot of time to get posts written. I was tired and nearly delirious from lack of sleep at night, but man did that baby sleep a lot during the day! This meant if I wasn’t also napping I had more free time to write. I don’t have that free time anymore! He does nap once a day for 2 hours at least. But that first hour I use for my workout and the 2nd is assorted other things.

I have begun a number of posts earlier in the morning without finishing because Jack wakes up before I am done. I have saved them all, perhaps one day I will finish those and post them! (That is funny!)

Jack is 1. Well heading into 13 months at this rate. In less than 2 weeks he will be 13 months! He is amazing and wonderful. He has me in awe daily. He has started to show his stubborn personality as well. I don’t think either of us is surprised or confused about that. If you know my husband and myself you know we are two of the most stubborn people around. We are very like minded though, which is why it works for us. Sometimes I have to laugh at Jack’s temper because I see myself. I try to not laugh too much, as I don’t want to totally encourage it. But sometimes it is just too funny. He is a mini me! MINI ME!

Jack's "mommy face" as my hubby calls it

Mini Me and well me!

We are all done nursing. For over a week now we have been completely done. Let me tell you, I have been enjoying wine and other assorted beverages. Naturally when there is someone else or other people around. No getting hammered during the day by myself! Ha! It sure is nice to be able to share a bottle of wine with my hubby. I know some say drinking while nursing is ok and safe but I was never really comfortable enough with the idea to have more than a few sips once or twice.We all make our parenting choices and that was mine. Not saying it is the only way to operate or knocking anyone who sees it differently. I sure drank a great deal of coffee while nursing. I am addicted to it ๐Ÿ™‚ We are all different!

It went surprisingly well, weaning. I did it over one week. That wasn’t too bad because we had essentially been down to 3 nursing sessions a day. I had one bad attitude day from him. The 2nd day. But he got over it and it went unnoticed on his part for the rest of the week and stopping the rest of the nursings! I was a little sad he didn’t notice. I was sad that it was over. But at the same time I am enjoying not feeling worried if I go to the store or a bridal shower without him. I can! My hubby is completely capable of keeping him fed, watered, and alive.

My home gym keeps coming along. I added a step for more aerobic dvd’s. I love it. I went running twice this weekend. February has been incredibly mild in Chicago. Excellent running weather. I decided since I didn’t have to wait around for Jack to get up before I do things so I can nurse him, I went running both days. Jason home with him. It felt amazing.

This week I am working on a Skinny Ms. Challenge. Not a month long one. Maybe soon I will work up to that. Just a 7 day Abs Challenge I started yesterday. I found it to be rather easy. A little tough at the end because I was tired. I had just run 3.2 miles before I started my ab work. The reverse crunches, all 50, were a little hard too. Over all not too bad though. Today I will do Monday’s, obviously. I will write (I hope…) about this all once I am done. My guess is my abs feel kind of fried next Saturday!

That is a brief update. I have a million other things going on, but I should tend to them now.

Are you on Pinterest? Follow me there, I will follow you back too! I am obsessed. That takes up a lot of my internet time…oops! ๐Ÿ™‚

I have been wanting to share some of my favorite moves. I have just been so busy with the holiday season already. We are hosting every holiday this year. We did Thanksgiving, we are doing both Christmas Eve and day! While I am being strict with my workouts I have been lax in blogging about them. I guess you only have so much time for things in life and if I have to choose, workouts will always win haha

I am currently obsessed with this core work move! It actually tones the shoulders, triceps, and core. I even squeeze my buttocks a bit in an effort to get some toning in for that.

I found this on Women’s Health.

The instructions can be found at that link. I also pasted them below!

Lie facedown on a fitness ball, with both hands on the floor. Walk your hands out, allowing the ball to roll beneath your body until it is under your shins. Your hands should be directly below your shoulders, so it looks like youโ€™re ready to do a pushup. Keeping your torso straight and your abs contracted, bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the floor. Stop when your upper arms are parallel to the floor. (A) Return to start, and immediately contract your glutes as you lift your right leg off the ball. (B) Lower your right leg to the ball, then lift the left leg. Thatโ€™s one rep. 8 to 12 reps

Make the move harder by placing the ball under the tops of your feet. Make it easier by keeping the ball under your knees.

 

I have gotten to the point where the knees feel way too easy. The shins are still difficult enough though. I am looking forward to when I can move the ball to the tops of my feet.

There are a few other moves in that article that are also great. I just found this one particularly challenging and I have really been pushing myself lately. I have been focusing on toning a lot more than I was immediately after I had him. I try to do toning and cardio at least 6 days a week. It has been closer to every day though, I must admit. I have lost a bit more weight. Not even pregnancy weight at this point. I weighed in today at 122.8lbs.

I have also noticed a huge change in my muscle tone. Um, it is back! Finally. Even my quads. I am loving how my legs look like their old selves. My arms are looking nice and toned again. Hello biceps, I missed you lovely lady guns. I am also beginning to feel happy with my abs.

This is from today. Jack will be 10 months in a week. So post baby 9 months 3 weeks! I was reflecting today about how hard losing the baby weight was. I even browsed the last few photos taken of me preggo! YIKES! Nothing like a little refresher to remind you of how far you have come. I am enjoying feeling like my old strong self again. That is the most important part. That I feel toned and strong. I missed lifting weights. I was told I couldn’t. Advice I don’t believe I will adhere to as strictly if I were to ever get pregnant again. Now having gone through this one time, if we ever for some reason decide to have another I will already know what I am capable of. Although, I have no plans to have another. A big reason is because it took so much work to get back to where I was. I don’t feel like doing it all over again. It is exhausting. I enjoy being here, focusing on toning and maintaining.

 

I am always looking for new core workout tips or moves! This article has some moves that are supposed to be beneficial to runners. The study that was done showed when done regularly these moves helped to shave some time off of 5k runs.

5 Ab Exercises For Runners

I provide the actual link, but I also placed it in this post. I like that they also include moves to up the intensity. That will come in handy once these moves get old and repetitive.

I have done a few of these moves before, a few are new though. I will be adding these to my bag of tricks. I have done a lot of reading throughout the years about how strength training can really increase your running abilities. I have tried to incorporate both into my lifestyle. Plus, I like the look of my nicely shaped arms and abs hehe…well I LIKED them…we are getting back there…slowly but surely! Happy running!

By Dena Stern

exercise.com

According to a recently published study “runners who did these moves four times a week shaved a minute off their 5K times in six weeks.”

Whether you are training for an endurance run or just looking to improve the quality of your weekly jog these ab moves are a must.

Directions: Perform two sets of 12 reps of each exercise.

 

Instability Crunch

Begin by lying on your back on a exercise ball with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. To be safe you can anchor your feet under a stable object. Place your hands behind your head and extend your elbow out as you roll your upper body forward and up. Roll

For more of a challenge try: Weighted Ball Crunch

Hip Lift

 

Lie on your back with your hands at your sides, palms down, and your legs bent on top of a exercise ball. Press your heels into the ball while raising your hips toward the ceiling. Your body should end at a 45 degree angle to the ball. Lower your hips to the floor and repeat.

For more of a challenge try: One Leg Hamstring Dips

Back Extension

 

Lie on an exercise ball with your belly button over the center of the ball and your arms and legs extended. Contract your abs and raise your upper body off the ball until your body forms a straight line from the top of your head to your ankles. Lower and repeat.

For more of a challenge try: Medicine Ball Hyperextension

All Fours

 

Begin with your hands and knees on the floor, shoulder and hip width apart, facing downward with your back straight and parallel to the floor. Raise your right leg and extend it behind you as you lift your left arm and extend it in front of you. Hold this position for about five seconds, return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

For more of a challenge try: All Fours with Weighted Balls

Russian Twist

 

Begin by lying on your back on top of a exercise ball with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms toward the ceiling and bring your hands together. Keep your arms straight as you twist from side.

For more of a challenge try: Russian Twist with Weights

I have been thinking about something for the past two days. I have been debating posting about it, but I have decided to. It is nothing bad ๐Ÿ™‚

I am beginning to be happy with how my abs and arms are looking! They seem to be resembling how they looked before I had Jackson.ย  I knew my arms weren’t that much of a problem. They really didn’t change much, but they changed enough for ME to notice. I wasn’t allowed to use 40-50lbs on weight machines anymore. Since we moved and the workout room in our condo building wasn’t available I couldn’t do it after having him. BUT I am pretty much back to my pre-preggo push up rep amount. Not to mention I am fairly certain he weighs about 16 or 17lbs. I am always picking him up and carrying him around. He also loves being “tossed” in the air, which is quite the workout! So those werent too “big” of an issue haha

BUT MY ABS!

OH LORD I was miserable after I had him. Regardless of how the nurses and dr’s commented about how much my belly had gone down before I even left the hospital. To me, it appeared absolutely unacceptable. Jason, my mom, aunts, friends, strangers even, etc told me how flat it got and it “doesn’t look like you had a baby 1, 2, 3 months ago!” To me it looked ridiculous and gross. I am incredibly picky about my abs. I spent and spend a lot of time on them. I know spot reduction doesnt work. Which is why I do total body workouts. However, my most picky area is the abs!

I do not think I am exactly back to where I was, but I am starting to feel more confident. Thank you pilates! I know I still have work to do to get me to my old skinny self, but this is a step. It is nice to feel ok about how they are toning up. I don’t feel totally miserable and mushy anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I am not totally solid. I know I have much more work to do, but it feels good to finally see some results from all this dedication! I have noticed that my hip bones have started to protrude again a little bit. I look flatter in shirts. My swimsuit doesn’t look horrible. I have even considered getting a bikini for when we are in our backyard beach…but I am trying to not get ahead of myself here. I still am not sure I should be prancing around in a bikini!

I am including two photos, one from when I found out I was preggo and one from this morning. Like I said, I KNOW they don’t look exactly the same, but I am getting there…slowly but surely. I posted all sorts of belly photos as I got bigger and bigger. I did that on facebook. I doubt everyone there wants to see the opposite, so I will save it for here. Where if you want to read it you can. It isn’t just posted in your feed and all up in your face! Maybe this will hold me a bit more accountable on this journey….

We won’t talk about my big problem area in this post, my hips, butt, and upper thighs. That will just bring me down haha I will save that for some other time ๐Ÿ™‚

This is me today, exactly 16 weeks since I went into labor. I know they arent perfect, but I feel a bit better!

I was just shy of 4 weeks preggo in this photo. I was bloated too, this was me bloated! *sigh*