I’m totally kidding about the 5 second 6-pack.
But today before I announce the lucky winner of my Merry Fitness Giveaway, I am going to talk about my abs. I get asked about them sometimes…like how in the world did I get them to happen especially after having a baby. Do I do a lot of crunches? Can people do their laundry on them? Etc.
To be honest my abs are still kind of a shock even to me. I wasn’t a runner, but I was a gym rat for about a million years before I got pregnant and I considered myself to be pretty fit. I could feel that my abs were there, but I couldn’t see them. I also didn’t particularly care and I’m not insinuating that anyone else should either, but I figured just in case anyone wanted to know what worked for me this time around, I would share it on my blog.
It definitely didn’t only take 5 seconds or even 5 weeks or any other ridiculously short amount of time that all those diets and online fitness fads will claim. My abs are a happy accident that came along with my training, but they are also a product of hard work. First I’m going to be brave for the sake of showing you my starting point. This is what I looked like on March 2nd, 2012. I was 39 and a half weeks pregnant and my daughter would be born 3 days later.
If I look more than a little tired and miserable, it’s because I was. I am always so astonished whenever I see this photo because I’m still in disbelief that the human body can stretch that far in every direction and not explode. I lost count of the amount of people who asked me if I was having twins. As I said, I never had rock solid abs at any other point in my life but after going through this I would have laughed if anyone suggested it as a possibility.
And this is my waistline now:
I cropped out my head because I looked post-workout hideous in this photo, but I swear it’s the same person and I did nary a traditional crunch to get this to happen (and it is my personal opinion that doing a billion crunches will do nothing but give you back problems). I present to you…
Grain of Salt Toned Abs Formula
(Grain of Salt because this should all be taken with one. I am not an exercise professional. Just a regular mom who likes a play on words.)
Pick your poison here. There are lots of cardio options out there and running has proven to be the most effective for me by far. But if you can’t run for whatever reason or you don’t want to, there are plenty of other regular cardiovascular activities that will burn fat. Burning off the fat is the first step in making your abs pop.
Just like with cardio, there are tons of options. I’m a working mom who doesn’t have time to hang out in the gym for hours a day, so I actually do a lot of my strengthening exercises at home after my daughter is asleep at night. I’m a big fan of the Blogilates channel on YouTube which is fun and – even better – FREE. She has a TON of ab and core strengthening videos that are great and super challenging. She sometimes plays a little too much Taylor Swift for my liking, but I forgive her.
I also get my strength-training in yoga class twice a week and I do a LOT of planks. In my opinion, planks are pretty much the best exercise you can do for a strong core and good core strength is essential if you are a runner.
3) EAT CLEAN-ISH.
When I first joined one of my healthy mom groups online a lot of the ladies there were talking about “clean eating” and I had no idea what that meant and thought it sounded incredibly time consuming. When I get home at 6pm with my daughter and my husband is working nights, the last thing I want to do is make some complicated dinner. As it kept coming up over and over again, I started to do a little research on my own and found that “clean eating” isn’t the diet fad I thought it was. I actually learned that I was a pretty clean eater without even really trying.
Clean eating is eating food that is as close to its natural state as possible, lots of fruits and veggies, healthy fats, whole grains, making healthy choices when cooking such as steaming vegetables or baking chicken, drinking lots of water and avoiding processed food. That’s it. I pretty much eat whatever I want although earlier this year I did cut some of the unnecessary sugar from my diet (for example…I would switch out a snack of Rice Krispies Treats with a Greek Yogurt) and I definitely think it made a difference both in my weight and also the way I feel.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing either because I will be the first to admit that I do occasionally eat things that are processed, I don’t obsess about ingredients if I’m out to eat at a restaurant, and you can have my wine and my York Peppermint Patties when you pry them from my cold dead hands. I am a big fan of moderation in everything and I feel like if I make healthy choices more of the time, it will balance itself out. So please eat a cookie or three. It’s the holidays.
4) AND THAT’S IT. You thought there would be more, didn’t you?
As I said before, I’m not trying to pretend I’m some kind of fitness guru and I’m not trying to go all icky Maria Kang on anyone. If a toned tummy is something that you happen to be striving for, this is the combination of things that worked for me and I had quite the enormous starting point to work from!
NOW let’s resurrect the Oprah graphic again to announce the iBodyFit WINNER!
AND THAT WINNER IS…
Let’s get in touch ASAP so you can claim your prize!
I hope that everyone has a wonderful Tuesday. I’m off to my millionth holiday party tonight where I will not be keeping track of any of the food and desserts that I shove in my face. ‘Tis the season!