Everyone wants a stronger core a flatter stomach, plus a six pack. This is the most requested fitness goal in history. Every time you turn on the TV, pick up a magazine, go on a social network, or pass a billboard you'll see an advertisement pushing an amazing program which will give you the stomach you so much desire. If only there was a simple solution.
This is challenging but, there is a way to achieve the flatter well defined stomach which you search for. But, first lets look at a few things we need to consider. There is 2 major things you should consider. Are you more interested in the appearance or the functionality of your core. Both of these objectives requires a different approach.
The traditional way of thinking about the stomach is the stomach will store fat on it and by doing ab exercises it will become flatter. A lot of magazines and info commercials have sold a lot of products based on this idea. Here is a general rule you should always follow. You can not burn fat off any part of your body by doing an isolated exercise. If your body has gain at least 5 pounds you might see it show up on your stomach. Therefore giving you the appearance of not having a flat stomach. Today there is no sound reason to reinforce this concept. It doesn't work.
Lets look at the functional core. Strengthing the core is more of a comprehensive approach to a strong flat stomach. The core is a group of muscles which work together to support rotation, and lumbar hyperextension. There are 5 major muscle which make up the core. The rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, transverse abdominis, and the erector spinae. There are many different movements which comes from the core. However, the major movement you want to focus on when training is rotation, and lumbar hyperextension. The core main job is to work as a stabilizer in training, walking, running, or jumping.
Here is a guide to help you create the best approach for you to strengthen and flatten your stomach. Every person will have a slightly different approach. We have found your genetics play a big part in having a flat stomach. We have put together 8 tips and if you match these tips together with your genes and with your lifestyle you will be very successful.
Start with these seven factors: genetics, body type, metabolism, fat storage, activity, nutrition, and strength. Choose which best describes you. Follow the suggestions of each.
Genetics - Some of us are born with flat well defined stomachs and you really never lose this until they are much older or gain 5-10 pounds or more in weight. While the others are born with stomachs which stores fat on it. Its a little harder to attain, but you can. If you are born with a stomach which stores fat on it then prepare yourself to be more mentally focus and patient. Set a daily goal each day of what you need to accomplish and do daily affirmations of successful thoughts and stay consistent. Lets take a simple approach to this and say if you where born with a flat stomach we will refer to you as Type A and if you were not then you are type B.
Body type- There are different body types and I like to describe them in this way. Your body has a genetic make up where your body fat is already determine where it will stored on your body first. The main three areas is the stomach, hips, and upper back. If your body stores fat on your stomach first it also is the last place you will lose it. This makes the process seem a lot longer than if it was on the hips or back. If you're body stores fat on the stomach lets say you are Type A. The others are Type B. My advice is to be patient either Type A or B. However, type B people should focus on being very consistent, Its more challenging for Type B people to attain a flat stomach but it can be done. Use all the suggestions we have given and you should be happy with the results.
Metabolism - We have 2 basic metabolisms, slow and fast. Your metabolism can be effected by your activity level, muscle to fat ratio, strength, and nutrition eating patterns. A fast metabolism will not store fat quickly and tends to burn calories very fast. A slow metabolism is just the opposite, it will tend to store fat quickly and burn calories slow. Fast metabolism Type A, slow metabolism Type B. If you have a slow metabolism focus on weight training to boast your strength and doing metabolic workouts at least twice a week.
Fat storage - The human body stores fat in fat cells on the body. There are more fat cells in different parts of the body. Where you see most of the fat in areas such as stomach, hips, and upper back there are more fat cells. If you have more fat cells on the stomach you are Type A, the others Type B. This is important because as you lose weight you will see it come off the areas where there are less fat cells first. So be patient and stay consistent. Stay true to the process and use affirmation to counter any frustration you feel.
Activity - When you move more your body burns calories for fuel. Your activity levels will have 3 conclusions. Your weight will stay the same, or it decreases, or increases. When it stays the same you are basically eating the same calories you are burning off. When it decreases you are moving more than you are eating. When your weight increase you are moving less than you are eating. If you noticed I reference moving as the focal point of what happens. In order to have a flat stomach you need to burn off the fat stored on your stomach. The best way to burn this off is to move more. The more you move the more weight you will lose and keep off and flatter your stomach will be. Whats recommended to have a sustain weight or fat loss is 10,000 steps a day. Type A if you are doing 10,000 steps, if you are doing less than 10,000 you are Type B.
Nutrition - Of course nutrition plays a vital part of your success. You have to make sure you are consuming enough fuel to keep your metabolism running. Eating high quality foods is your best choices. Lean proteins, vegetables, whole foods not process foods or white sugar. Drink as much water as you can daily. Type A if you are eating healthy as described, Type B if not.
Strength - The more strength you have the more calories your body will burn. Weight training your upper and lower body 3 days a week will greatly improve your metabolism. Also improve the strength in your core with functional core exercises. Type A if you are, and Type B if you don't.
Metabolic Training - This is a great way to boast your fat calorie expenditure. Using an interval training program of high intensity short duration training will elevate your metabolism for many hours after you finish. Adding up to more calories burned for energy. I would only recommend this twice a week. To much of it to quickly could lead to overtraining and fatigue. Slowing of your metabolism and a decrease in fat loss. Type A if you are using metabolic training, and Type B if you don't.
Our goal is to help you troubleshoot whats missing from your workouts. Once you have considered our 8 steps, all you need to do is add in the missing steps from your workout. The more steps you are using will give you better results. The type A person is all 8 steps in place every week. You might not be able to put all 8 steps in your weekly routine but if you could add some of the steps you will also get better results.
This really works. There are some genetics traits which helps some but, overall if you put in play these 8 steps you will attain the stomach you want plus much more.
If you are having recurring joint pain, there are generally two basic causes: an imbalance of mobility or an imbalance of strength. It's caused by your lifestyle, which could be related to work, exercise, or as simple as sitting too much.
Initially, pain is a signal. It's telling you that some part of your posture is not in optimal alignment. When you get the signal you have two options on how to address it. You can deal with the pain itself (through medication, ultra sound, electrical stimulation, local area medication) or you can find what is causing the pain and correct it. If the first sign of pain is not dealt with immediately, the area where the the pain is located will eventually develop some form of trauma within it. This can take the form of scar tissue, inflammation, or sometimes both. If not corrected, this will effect how the joint moves and can become a dysfunctional movement pattern, setting the body up for more problems. The better option is to locate the cause of the pain and correct it.
The area where you feel the pain is initiated by an imbalance in another location in the body. Our goal is to correct the imbalance so that the pain stops and never comes back. If you only provide relief for the area where the pain is located, your pain will return over time. Sometimes you have to apply both methods if the pain is really bad. You would use some method of temporary pain relief while also working on correcting the imbalance which caused the pain.
A mobility imbalance means you have a very tight muscle somewhere, pulling things out of alignment or inhibiting what should be mobile. Once you locate the tight muscle, you first need to lengthen it by using a myofascial stretching technique (like a foam roller). After this you would apply an active or static stretch to the muscle. To create a perfect balance, you would then strengthen the opposite muscle. By applying these steps, you return the proper balance between the muscles and your movement pattern becomes normal - and your pain ends.
With a strength imbalance, a muscle is weak while its opposite muscle is strong. You would need to locate the weak muscle and strengthen it. It's just this simple to fix. No more recurring pain.
A person's posture will tell you where the imbalances are. Rounded shoulders, protruding neck, arched or humped back, feet turning out - all are signs of a muscle imbalance. By correcting your imbalances and posture, you can relieve yourself of pain or prevent it from starting.
In some of our upcoming posts we will discuss specific ways to correct certain pain issues. Train smart. Doing less is more when you train smart.
One of the very first steps to improving hamstring flexibility is to improve the elasticity and the length of the muscle. There are 4 basic stretching modalities static, active, myofascial, and neuromuscular(NMS). Each stretching technique has a different benefit upon a muscle and a lot of times you need to use 2-3 different techniques to completely return a muscle to its optimal length. We start all of our work on the hamstring with a myofascial stretch. One of the areas we focus on is the top of the hamstring where it intersects with the gluteus maximus. We find a therapy ball is best to use in this area even though there are many other options we prefer to start here. We spend about 2-3 minutes in this area with side to side movements combined with 30 second hold positions in the most tender spots. After this time we use an active stretch technique where we extend and flex the leg for 20 repetitions. During this movement the quadriceps are contracting during extension which makes the hamstrings automatically release in this movement. If you observe the video you will notice my leg is totally extended and my back is straight. If the hamstrings are partially tight the leg would not fully extend and the low back would round backwards. After 4 weeks of doing this technique you would see a drastic improvement in this movement. Even though in this blog we only go over the first steps of 4 phases you would need to return the hamstring to optimal length. The other 3 steps will be coming in the next weeks. So check back or email me. Train smart.
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