Happy Thanksgiving! Here is a quick yet intense HIIT cardio and ab workout that you don’t need any equipment to complete. I thought it would be perfect to squeeze in today no matter if you’re home or away to celebrate a day of gratitude.
I just want you to know how very thankful I am of you. I’m thankful you let me into your life and into your fitness journey. Today and every day, I am so grateful for that!
WORKOUTS TO COMPLETE:
[ ] Blog Workout: HIIT cardio + abs
-TODAY’S BLOG POST-
Happy Thanksgiving! I wanted to take time to write you a note and share some of my thoughts on why I am so thankful for you today and every day. I am also sharing my recent Starbucks warm drink order.
One of my favorite workout combinations: shoulders and abs! I just love hitting a weighted shoulder movement then moving into some sort of high plank exercise that keeps my shoulder muscles fired up while recruiting my core.
This is a tabata style workout so each of the 5 exercises will be 30 seconds on (complete the exercise) and 30 seconds off (rest). Once you complete those 5 rounds, you’ll move to the next movement. It’s fast paced and really fatigues the muscles!
This workout consists of 4 supersets with both back and abdominal exercises. Because the ab movements give your back muscles a break, you could even create a greater challenge by taking just 20-30 seconds of rest before hitting the next superset. I tried that a few times because I was short on time and the workout flew by!
( SCROLL DOWN FOR TODAY’S WORKOUT )
Complete each superset 3x through before moving onto the next
Intensity Increase Option: complete 4 sets of each superset instead of 3
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All you’ll need for this workout is a bench! Be sure to bring the intensity because while this circuit is short, it’s challenging! Your abs will be burning. The cardio will kick your booty. BUT, it’s all worth it!
Yesterday, I wrote THIS post on 6 Super Simple Ways I Motivate Myself to Workout. One thing I totally forgot to mention is another tip I have on easing back into a fitness routine when you’ve taken time away. Because…. we’ve all been there.
It may be a week away for vacation, a few days off when life gets hectic or you may not even be able to remember the last time you saw a gym… ease back in with a short workout. The thought of spending an hour or more at a gym will likely keep you from going when you’re low on motivation. So, just commit to a 20 minute workout.
The workout I’m sharing today is one you can complete in 20 minutes! It’s also so intense, I didn’t want to do more than 20 minutes lol. I’m a big believer in the quality of a workout over the length of time!
30 seconds: scissor kicks + butt ups
30 seconds: bench hop overs
1 minute: complete rest
30 seconds: knee in + outs
30 seconds: step up hops
1 minute: complete rest
30 seconds: decline toe taps
30 seconds: incline mountain climbers
1 minutes: complete rest
…complete 3 total rounds
I hope you like this circuit. I think I’m going to start sharing more workouts of varying lengths. AND, eventually, my OCD-loving self would love to organize workouts on my website not only by targeted muscle but also by the length of time. For example: 20 mins, 30, mins, 45 mins, 1 hour. Would you find that helpful? Let me know in the comments! Any other way you’d like to see them arranged??
This workout was the perfect combination of challenging and fun. Guys, this is my new gym! As you know I was on the hunt for a smaller gym and the outdoor workout area seen in this video totally sold me.
1. Download the Calendar – click the download here link (don’t just save the picture; the PDF will provide a clearer image)
2. Save – I suggest saving a copy to your phone (I like to copy it to iBooks) and printing another (I’m old school and love a hard copy lol, anyone else?!)
3. Have Your Plans Ready – the calendar uses both the LG Sisters Get Strong & 30×30 Fat Loss Shred plans with a few new workouts I’ll post on the blog. Break out those plans if you already have them and if not, snag them while they’re on sale!
4. Follow Along Day by Day – each day, check the calendar and do the suggested workout from either the ebook guides or the new workout right here on the blog. It’s that easy! Well, that easy to follow along… the workouts are another story lol.
ABS… they seem to be one of the most coveted muscle groups to sculpt. Today, I’m sharing my top 2 tips on how I train abs to help you see great ab progress for yourself.
MY SILLY AB STORY
I’ve shared this story before, so if you’ve heard it, feel free to scroll down to the next section. Abs were my very first fitness goal. I seriously remember googling “how to get abs” on the family computer and printing all sorts of information and ab exercises.
I trained my abs every single day. At first, I followed google images that I printed with various ab exercises in my pink bedroom when I would get home from high school. Eventually, I made my way to the gym where I would do my 30 mins of cardio followed by 30 mins of abs. One would think I finally saw my abdominal muscles, right?! Wrong.
Fast forward several years, I was in college (still working for those abs lol). My then boyfriend (now husband) was working for a supplement company. He had an upcoming work trip for a trade show type of thing and they asked if I wanted to join to help work the booth. The thought of being around real fitness models and competitors terrified me, but I committed.
To prepare, I decided to change some things about how I trained and ate. I took progress pictures to document it and finally, I had a picture that showed the tiniest, baby ab seen at only a certain angle in just the right lighting (LOL!). I probably couldn’t see it now if I tried, but it was all the motivation I needed to continue.
Eventually, visible ab definition was something I had regularly. And most importantly, I was able to maintain it! I learned (the hard way haha), it’s about training smarter not harder, so that’s what I want to share with you today.
THE TRUTH ABOUT ABS
I have 2 truths I want to add in about abs: 1) abs aren’t everything (really!) and 2) the best ab work is done in the kitchen.
First off, abs certainly aren’t everything. That seems silly to even have to say, but sometimes, we set a goal, such as visible abdominal defintion and become so intent on reaching it that we lose perspective. We are already amazing. Abs aren’t going to make us any better or happier. And, we have got to know that!
I share tips on abs because if that’s one of your goals, there are certainly things that will help get you there. I don’t want to keep useful information from you. Yet, I never want you to think you need abs to be fit or feel good. Because, you don’t! You’re perfect just as you are.
Secondly, the best ab work is done in the kitchen. End of story. I am okay with sounding like a broken record repeating that because I know once you put that into action, you’ll be preaching it too! That’s what held me back all those years and it’s why I created my Eat Your Way Lean Meal Plan; when I found what really worked, I became overly passionate about it.
Yet, there are things we can do in the gym to help achieve that ab goal too! That’s what I’m going to share below. Tomorrow, I’ll post a bit more on how I slightly tweak what I eat in order to stay lean and hit those abs goals.
MY TOP 2 AB SCULPTING TIPS
1) TIME UNDER TENSION
Time under tension also known as TUT refers to the amount of time a muscle is spent under strain. To use a non example, let’s say you’re doing body weight squats and it takes you 35 seconds to complete 10 reps (TUT = 35 seconds). The reason I am brining this up in relation to abs is because increasing the time under tension can lead to greater muscle breakdown.
Remember… muscle breakdown is a good thing. We see “results” and “progress” when we breakdown our muscle cells during exercise; it’s easier said than done because muscle breakdown doesn’t just happen. We have to work pretty hard and strategically for the processes of muscle breakdown and muscle protein synthesis (through recovery) to occur. This is especially the case with our abdominal muscles!
When I train abs, I focus on time under tension as the main goal. With the new Weight Training 2.0 plans, I wanted to include a Cardio + Ab Add On Plan for this reason. I designed ab workouts with a lot of supersets and circuits to increase the time under tension your ab muscles would be working for. Keeping the abs actively engaged without rest for an extended period of time helped my ab progress so much! I highly suggest you try this training tip and follow that Add On Plan.
I’ve always included planks in my ab workouts just never as a staple. If I had a rotation of 25 of my favorite ab exercises, planks were just 1 of the 25 I rotated in. Only within the past year or two have I noticed planks making a major difference in my ab training and results.
First off, planks are a great way to increase the time under tension. Just think… if you are to complete 30 crunches that may take you as quickly as 30 seconds of less. If you are to complete a plank and hold it as long as you can, you could be working your entire core for much longer than 30 seconds!
Speaking of working your entire core, that’s the greatest benefit of a plank. Now, we can get into the science and the nitty gritty of all the core muscle (muscles on the front side of your stomach, either side as well as your lower back muscles) being worked through a plank. However, that’s boring by now and if you’re interested just google image it.
The non-scientific benefit I’ve noticed from adding planking in more regularly is that I feel “sucked in.” Haha… I told you it wan’t going to be scientific. Seriously though… even just ensuring I have one good plank workout each week lead for me to feel so tight in my mid section.
The Cardio + Ab Add On Plan will take care of every step of this for you, so if you have ab goals this summer, be sure to add that plan onto your weighted workouts. Also, be sure to swing by tomorrow because I’m doing a blog post all about the science behind my food tweaks that help me see physical results through food alone. And that’s really what made the greatest difference for me!
WEIGHT TRAINING PLAN 2.0 + BONUS ADD ON PLAN:
The new Weight Training Plan 2.0 is the official fitness plan for the summer challenge.
It contains an all new training split and brand new workouts with both home and gym workout versions (workouts are different than the original plan!). Plus, a bonus Cardio + Ab Add on Plan to use with the weighted workout for further muscle fatigue, fat loss and sculpting.
These workouts contain my very best to help you get fit and lean and feel amazing. I created an extension to the super popular original plan to provide you with more weeks… more workouts… more opportunities to hit your goals.
Arms, abs, and cardio make this workout one that will leave your muscles burning and your body sweating. To make the most of this workout, watch your rest times. Keep them short (even shorter than suggested) between rounds and very minimal in between exercises to keep your heart rate high.
This workout consists of 3 circuits. Complete 4 total rounds of each circuit before moving onto the next (the 3 exercises are performed back to back with no rest in between)
Rest 1-2 minutes between rounds
Use the equipment you have available… if you don’t have a barbell, use a set of dumbbells. If you’re not at a gym to use a cable machine, use a resistance band
To turn your resistance band into a cable machine, fold your resistance band in half. Slide the folded center through the crack between a door and it’s frame (at the desired height). To secure your band in that space… on the other side of the door, place a water bottle or sock in the loop that forms in the resistance band. Shut the door and use as a cable machine.
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*Note: the Premium Challenge Bundle is for those who don’t yet have the Meal Plan but would like to join at a discounted price; if you already are a meal plan member, opt for the Premium Challenge Pack.
Long gone are the days where we have to decide between being achieving abs and eating pizza. This isn’t your average “eat in moderation” type of post you’ve read a million of. Below, I’ll share 4 very specific things I do that allow me to eat treats weekly while maintaining a fit body with visible abs.
I share this, most importantly, so you know you can have you cake and eat it too haha. But, seriously, if you haven’t found the balance between reaching your goals while enjoying treats, I want you to know it exists. That place is possible. You’ll get there. Do not give up. I am here to help you with that!
You know my healthy eating style. I am an everyday girl who loves her cheese, flamin’ hot cheetos and pizza. I place a huge importance on healthy eating, but I do need a nutrition approach that allows me to enjoy treats and meals that taste like treats regularly.
Below are 4 very specific things I do to enjoy treats regularly while still seeing great physical results. You’ll also notice that they go in phases. So #1 is really like step 1 or phase 1. If you’re struggling with healthy eating and finding a balance between treats and your regular, nutritious meals, start there! I even like to revisit step 1 after a vacation or after a weekend where I didn’t eat very well. Read on!
1. GIVE IN + REBOUND QUICKLY
This is the first step in breaking a toxic relationship with treats. I remember first doing this about 3-4 years ago. I used to have the mindset that treats were cheats. What was I cheating on? What would happen if I cheated?? I had to remember one good meal doesn’t give you abs just like one bad meal won’t ruin all your results. We first must achieve a healthy mindset surrounding food.
Here’s how I found to do that… give into your treat temptations (in moderation!) and rebound quickly. At first, your treat temptations will be a lot more frequent and then they will slowly but surely slow down. When you feel like you want chips, eat them. Yes, you really have my permission. Here’s the key. After you eat your treat, rebound quickly! This means once you eat your chips, be done and move on. Don’t sit there and feel guilty you ate chips. Enjoy and get going with what’s next in your life… back to work, off to call a girlfriend, take care of the kids, do laundry, etc.
Now, I do say give in (in moderation!) because if you are craving nutrient-poor, processed foods at every meal, you may need to seriously work on self control. Practice that by telling yourself no and following up with a healthy action. But for this first phase, give in and rebound quickly.
2. HEALTHY TREATS
After 2-ish weeks in the give in and rebound quickly phase, I started feeling like I could do better for myself. I knew I could enjoy yummy foods while keeping them healthier. Junk food isn’t the only tasty food, right?! I noticed that as my mindset towards healthy eating improved, I began to really see that. So, I started creating my own healthy treats and tasty meals.
I know what you’re thinking… healthy treats don’t taste “the same” as usual treats. You’re right. Our healthy, homemade pizza isn’t going to be the exact same as Pizza Hut but that doesn’t mean it can’t equally satisfy. Plus, when these are your everyday staples, your cravings totally decrease. Instead of eating grilled chicken, rice and veggies for dinner, a BBQ chicken pizza can be equally nutritious but so much more delicious. You see where I’m going here?! I eat “healthy treats” every day and it’s actually part of the plan.
Experiment. Feel free to steal all my recipes. Get on Pinterest. Google healthy versions of your favorite indulgences. Soon, you’ll be cooking and enjoying “treats” that are actually healthy.
Here are just a few of the many treats from the Eat Your Way Lean Meal Plan Cookbook that truly satisfy; I share these just so you can see, healthy treats and tasty meals really do exist and you can eat them every day!
Okay, sometimes, we will want the original Pizza Hut Pizza, Lays BBQ chips or Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream not our own healthier creation. I work that in through 2 ways.
Indulge – nothing more than just eating what I want. I enjoy treats like this this one or two times per week. To help me make this just a treat (instead of a day of treats) is enjoying a treat at a restaurant to make it about an experience. Anthony and I will go get ice cream. I’ll go with friends to a Mexican restaurant and enjoy all the tacos and queso.
Portioned Treats – my entire plan for nutrition has to do with balanced, portioned meals. I portion out my meals with an eyeball yet strategic approach (it’s all outlined in my meal plan so I won’t go into it here). But the point is, I always include a carbohydrate in my meals, so if I’m in the mood for a treat, I’ll portion out a carbohydrate serving in chips or cookies or ice cream. I rely on my self control to keep the portion in check, so I can enjoy the treat yet stay on track.
4. 80/20 RULE
This is the final phase of how I enjoy treats regularly while maintaining visible abs. I follow the 80/20 rule, which means that 80% of the time, I stick to my healthy, nutrient-dense meals and 20% of the time, I am more flexible and enjoy treat. I eat 5 meals per day; if you apply the 80/20 to that, it means 1 of my 5 meals EVERY DAY has a little bit of fun, wiggle room for treats.
I hope this post helped you see that enjoying treats and meals that taste like treats can be a part of your everyday life. You can see great results – like abs! – while eating treats on the regular. This process doesn’t happen overnight, so stay consistent and persistent because you will get there!
Also, I just want to point out why I choose the (+still have abs) addition to today’s post topic. Having abs is not an end all to health. Having abs doesn’t make you any healthier than someone else. It’s just personal to me. “Having abs” was my very first physical, fitness goal. It was also the hardest one for me to achieve. So, for me, saying that I can eat treats while maintaining abdominal definition is a definite accomplishment for me. I was able to reach my goal while enjoying what I was eating and that’s really what it’s all about!
PS – I’ve been working my booty off to come up with post topics that are real and really helpful. It makes me so happy to hear how much you’ve been enjoying them. If you have any posts topics you’d like to see, feel free to comment here or on my latest Instagram post!
These 3 things will likely change the way you proceed with your ab training, making “seeing abs” so much more achievable. I’ll help us sort through marketing hype, gimmicks and myths so we can train effectivelyto see those ab results.
Let me start from square one quickly…
By now many of you know the slightly embarrassing but real start to my fitness journey. It began in high school when I jumped on the family computer, went to google, and typed in “how to get abs.” Back then, I thought I could get an easy answer, follow it and see that six pack I was dying to have.
5 years after that google search, those abs weren’t anywhere in sight and you better believe I was trying. I was reading every fitness magazine, getting help from personal trainers and working my abs every. single. day. Yet, they were nowhere in sight.
Since implementing my changes, I was able to see ab definition and… here’s the key… maintain it for nearly 4 years!
Now, abs are by not meant the end all. You won’t see abs and instantly, all your problems go away. You’re beautiful and amazing now… with or without abs. Still, I know more than anyone, when you set a goal for yourself, it means a lot to achieve it, especially if it’s feasible. It is, so don’t give up if it’s one of your goals.
Allow me to be your girlfriend on this journey. I’ll share all that I learned about what really works and what really doesn’t to save you time and frustration.
3 THINGS YOUR TRAINER ISN’T TELLING YOU ABOUT ABS
Let me just clarify, this is not a knock on trainers. It’s simply what I, in my 10 year of fitness experience, never heard from fitness professionals but wish I would have.
1. It’s NOT About Quantity
This is the first trap many of us hit (coming from the girl who used to do 30 minutes of ab work every day). Seeing abdominal definition doesn’t simply come from working your core muscles any which way. It’s not just about doing abs so many days per week. It’s not working those muscles for so many minutes or a particular number of reps. It’s not about quantity.
I’ve found that ab training is about quality. Compare my daily 30 min ab workouts from my high school days to the two 10 min ab workouts I do nowadays and the difference in quantity couldn’t be more obvious.
However, when you look at the quality, you’ll see that’s where my new training takes off by leaps and bounds. I don’t focus on 50 bicycle crunches at a quick pace. I’ll do 20 and go slowly through each rep, keeping my core engaged the entire time, focusing on pushing my belly button into my spine and closing my eyes to feel those abdominal muscles engaged.
Like with most things, abdominal training is quality > quantity. Instead of training abs just because your trainer tells you to or because you know you should, do your ab work on a day you can commit to quality. For this reason, I like to actually begin a workout with abs to keep quality the priority.
2. The Fat Curtain
Here’s the blunt truth I wish someone would have told me years ago… your abdominal muscles will be very hard to see with a stubborn layer of fat covering them. Peel back the fat curtain and you’ll be looking at those gorgeous abs.
Okay, let’s clear this up too… You are not fat. You have body fat. We all do. There’s a big difference.
Still, the more fat on our bodies, the more difficult it is to see those abs. So, we can set a goal of “seeing abs” but the process of getting there is not just simply doing ab exercises. We must work to reduce overall body fat in order to achieve visible abs.
Speaking of decreasing overall body fat… that is a systemic process. We cannot pick and choose where we lose fat. Think about it – do you pick where your fat is stored?! I wish… right to the chest and booty for me, please lol. But NO! Of course we don’t and we don’t pick where we lose it. This is a myth known as spot targeting, so just know doing ab exercises won’t cause you to lose abdominal fat.
How can we reduce overall body fat and open up that fat curtain?! I’ve found the most effective way is a combination of 1) tradititonal weight training 2) cardio 3) ab exercises 4) eating portioned and balanced meals 5) self worth (because we cannot forget we are amazing with or without visible abs!)
I just wish I would have known that focusing on the entire body… building overall strength through weight training, getting in occasional cardio and really prioritizing what I was eating would get me to my goals quicker than just simply doing 30 minutes of crunches.
Opening up the fat curtain to reveal the abs is about focusing on the bigger picture: the entire body as a healthy system.
3. Food > Fitness
Ah, this is the not so fun one to talk about, but I’ll do it anyways. Seeing abdominal definition will come much more effectively through changes in our diet more so than changes in our training.
I say this is the not fun or popular one because for most of us, nutrition poses the greater challenge as compared to fitness. I can easily get to the gym for a 45 minute workout, but sticking to my healthy eating habits consistently is something that requires more dedication for me personally.
If you want to see abdominal definition, you’re going to have to prioritize healthy eating and eating “enough without the excess.” Something I discuss in the LG Meal Plan and a piece I found particularly important in my core goals.
Does this mean training abs is useless?
Oh my gosh, ABSolutely not hehe. Abdominal muscles are just like any other muscle group on our body. Think to when you first began your fitness journey and when to flex your bicep in a mirror. I remember my flexed arm and non-flexed arm looked pretty much the same. Only when I developed my bicep muscles through training did they become noticeably visible. You know what I mean?! It’s the same with abs.
When we develop our abdominal muscles through exercise. This training will eventaully help them peek through and give you those ab results you’re looking for. The quality and quantity of what we eat plays a huge role in the process of opening up that fat curtains so those abdominal muscles can pop.
^^this photo was actually one of the first taken from when I seriously implemented all my training and food changes to reach my ab goals (~4 years ago)
Since first releasing the Premium Ab Plan (6 week ab plan + 5 follow along ab workout videos), you girls have constantly asked about another ab plan. This year’s ConfidenceKini Fitness Challenge will include a Premium Ab Plan 2.0 as part of the Premium Challenge Pack!
Abs… we all seem to love them! I know I’ve shared this many times before but my very first fitness goal was: “get abs.” I literally googled how to get abs and likely religiously followed whatever advice the first google link provided lol. Thankfully, I’ve come a long way.
I now know that abdominal definition is all about three things:
1) Effective Abdominal Muscle Training – I’ve come to find certain abdominal styles (not just the exercises!) are more effective than others
2) Nutrition – that cliche “abs are made in the kitchen” saying is so true. I’ve learned the hard way abdominal definition is more about what we eat than the ab workouts we do
3) Body Fat – in short, our ab muscles are only visible when we have a low enough body fat percentage to let them shine through
I’ve also come a long way in my mindset about those abdominal muscles. Rewind to 5 years ago, and I would have literally tried anything to “get abs.” Nowadays, I know one thing for sure… I am a whole lot more than what my abs look like.
I’ve accepted that even more these days now that I’m pregnant and just struggle to see my toes let alone my abs lol. In all seriousness, always recognize your worth – visible abs or not. It’s a fun physical goal and one I am happy to help you achieve, but know you’re already amazing!
-Aim for no rest in between exercises
-Rest as needed at the end of the circuit (ex: 1-2 minutes)
-For beginners, complete half the suggested time for each exercise
WHY THIS WORKOUT STYLE IS SO EFFECTIVE
I describe as this workout as “the best” for 3 reasons
1) The Mat – I typically do abs at the end of my workout and laying on a mat is sometimes all I can handle at that moment. The mat is an option that is both effective and “easier”
2) Circuit Style – a circuit style workout entails completing one exercise after another without resting in between. In this case, the ab workout has 5 exercises completed in sequence and a rest is taken at the very end, which leads to 2 1/2 minutes of time under tension in each round.
Time under tension is the amount of time spend working a targeted muscle. Keeping the abs contracted through the entire circuit and for that length of time is a highly effective way to deeply stimulate and breakdown (remember, muscle breakdown is good = results) the abdominal muscles.
3) Quick Timing – because of the nature of a circuit style workout, it doesn’t require a lot of time. In fact, this workout is just 7 1/2 minutes of abdominal work.