The temps are warming up and so is my desire to start seeing abdominal definition again. These are 3 training additions and tips I will be implementing to see abs and better result this spring.
As you probably know, our spring fitness, food + lifestyle challenge is called the ConfidenceKini Challenge. It kicks off next month and all 3 of these additions will be part of that challenge to help you get to your goals too.
I know, I know… abs aren’t the end all. BUT, for the past decade, they’re my favorite muscles to see pop through. “Getting abs” was my very first fitness goal back in high school. As a teenager, I even googled “how to get abs” and printed off all the information and exercises I could come across.
Thankfully, my 10 year+ long obsession with abs has helped me learn exactly what it takes to see abdominal definition; now, I can share it and help all of us (myself included!) do what it takes to stay consistent with it. Abs this spring… here we come!
1. EFFECTIVE AB PLAN + TECHNIQUES
First things first… we need an effective ab plan to follow. I’ll have that exact plan for you in a few weeks but I really want to explain why we need a specific plan and the techniques we need to add.
Not all ab training is alike. In fact, we don’t just want to do “abs.” When I train, I train the entire core. If you look at the core anatomy…. “abs” are short for rectus abdominis, which are the muscles that run vertically down the front of the stomach (aka the “six pack” muscles). While I focus on training this group, I also incorporate exercises that work the entire core muscle group: obliques, transverse abdominis, erector spinae, etc.
Even more importantly, we need to focus less on the actual exercises and more on our training techniques. You know I don’t sugarcoat anything… the truth is that almost all individuals can complete an exercise I throughout but the vast majority will not complete it correctly. What I mean by “correctly” is that they will go through the motions of the movement but they will fail to effectively activate and engage the targeted muscle. Only when we activate, engage and work the core muscles will we see the results we are looking for.
With all of that said, we need to focus more on abdominal training techniques to effectively activate and engage. HERE are my #1 best ab training tip that I’ve talked about before. I will be sharing more details on techniques in the upcoming plan.
2. WEIGHTS + CARDIO COMBO
Next, we need to think about how we are going to reveal those ab results. Ab and core muscles are like any other muscle… we exercise them to build and strengthen. However, like all muscles, they can be hidden by layers of fat. As we are working our core, we also need to simultaneously focus on fat loss.
To do this, I suggest weight training with supplemental cardio.
Why weights? Weight training is, in my opinion, the best way to change our body composition: adding more muscle and reducing body fat. This increases our basal metabolic rate (BMR), allowing us to burn more calories at rest. Our bodies become fat burning machines even when we aren’t working out. That’s why I suggest weights as a foundational exercise.
Supplemental cardio will further our fat loss goals. My preference is to incorporate both HIIT (high intensity interval training) and LISS (low intensity steady state) styles of cardio. A typical LG-style workout also throws bursts of cardio into a weighted workout; personally, I find that format helps me focus on sculpting muscle while promoting fat loss.
The key with cardio is to use it strategically. For example, 80% of the year, I do cardio on occasion: 1-2x per week. When I am looking to accelerate my results (like I am currently/will be doing with my training this spring), I use cardio as a tool to increase fat loss. Do you see what I mean?! It’s an addition that I like to have in my back pocket to push myself closer to my goals when I need it.
3. NUTRITION TRAINING TWEAK
…because not all training is done in the gym. I will be honest: for me, it’s much easier to get in my daily workout than it is to eat healthy throughout the week. For that exact reason, I have to stick to my meal plan, which is an 80/20 style and allows for regular treats. I use the meal plan guidelines (specifically food combinations and portions) as a baseline and from there, I can make tweaks.
TWEAK #1: CARB MANIPULATION
The first nutrition tweak I am going to make this spring is to carbohydrates. Now, I am not entirely sure how I am going to do this because there are lots of options. I just want to share this with you so that you know by tweaking your carbohydrate intake (both the amounts and the timing) you can make strides in your health and fitness game. I may play with carb cycling a little bit or maybe slightly lower my carbohydrate intake for a short period of time; I am not entirely sure yet, but I will share the exact plan when I solidify it.
TWEAK #2: FOOD TIMING
It’s been awhile since I followed Intermittent Fasting but this spring is the perfect time to start it up again. CLICK HERE for a post I made all about Intermittent Fasting if you’re interested in learning more. In short, it’s a food approach in which you eat during a certain window. There are many benefits to this style of eating but most popular is the fat loss effects.
I’ve seen great results following IF and I’ve seen great results not following IF. So, why follow it? I would say that I saw the most fat loss in a shorter window with IF, which is why I am deciding to start this spring.
These 3 training additions are all components that I know will bring us closer to our ab goals. The biggest takeaway that I want to share is consistency. If we add in these 3 points, we will have to stay consistent with it for the very best effects. We can do it!