“How do I get abs like this? What kind of exercises do you do for abs?”
Most common question I get. I’m not a professional, I’m not a personal trainer, but through A LOT of experimentation with exercises, and food/nutrition I found what works best for me. Abs are like any other muscle, you need to train them to build them.
The first picture was when I was mainly doing cardio and little to no weight or strength training. I would do straight cardio and wonder why I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. You need to train and BUILD your muscle. The second picture is from this year doing no steady rate cardio, more strength training and HIIT.
HIIT + Ab/Core Exercises = Results:
I found a huge difference when I base my HIIT circuits around abs/core. For example, doing 1 minute of a high intensity cardio exercise and then 1 minute of an ab building exercise (I do this over and over with different exercises to make an entire workout anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes) gets my heart rate up like crazy, while also building those abdominal muscles. Abs muscles become visible when you burn the belly fat on top of them. It’s not easy. A lot of people hold their weight in their belly, and that’s normal! Also, it’s usually the last and most difficult spot for people to lose weight. BUT consistency, determination, pushing yourself, eating well and drinking lots of water will give you results!!!
Favourite High Intensity Exercises:
Burpees – these are my absolute favourite. I would rather do burpees all day every day than run a mile. Burpees are a full body exercise that burns fat and builds strength. They are hard. They suck. Sometimes I want to hurl, but I do them. They speed up your metabolism, which means you burn more calories throughout the day even when you aren’t training.
Kettle Bell Swings – 1 handed, 2 handed, they hit your hamstrings, glutes, core, back, while scorching calories.
Plank Jacks – These kill me so bad. So so so bad. I find them worse than burpees. You get in plank position and start jumping your legs in and out. I can hardly get through a minute of these, but they work! (Google them if you don’t know what they are) You’re working your core because you’re in plank position and you’re burning fat by getting your heart rate up.
Sprints – I hate running. More than 5 minutes, I get bored and don’t like it. But sprints, I love sprints. I’ll do 30 seconds to 1 minutes of sprints at a really fast pace (I usually do these on the treadmill anywhere from 8, 9mph +). I take a 15 second break between each sprint by jumping on the side of the treadmill. This might sound scary (lol), but it does take practice. Anyways, I’ll do anywhere from 3-10 sprints in a row depending on my workout
Favourite Ab/Core Exercises:
Bicycle Crunches – These are NOT effective unless you do them properly. This means doing them slow and controlled, keeping your elbows wide, holding your core tight and breathing. Yes, that sounds like a lot, but if you don’t perform them properly they are a waste of time. I do this in high repetition and vary the speeds. It takes practice and experimentation to figure out what gives you the best burn.
Knee Tucks with Stability Ball – Google or Youtube what these are to see how they are performed. Again you are in plank position so they strengthen your core already, but while using your abs to bring the ball in and back out KILLLLLS your muscles, in a good way of course.
Weighted Crunches – Getting in crunch position, bent knees, feet on the floor and holding a weight while you crunch up. Again, slow and controlled. Don’t use momentum. I find they give me really good definition in the center and upper abs. I use 15lbs + dumbbell or kettle bell.
Hip Twist-Butt-Ups – Or as Cassey aka Blogilates calls them “Waist Whittlers”. This is when you get in elbow plank position and twist to side to side and then do a butt-up, and back to plank position. Do these as many as you can until failure. They hit your muffin tops, oblique’s, upper, middle and lower abs. This is an absolute favourite.
Blogilates does a 100 rep Waist Whittler challenge in this video:
Limiting processed, high sodium, trans fatty foods and drinking LOTS of water. That means cutting out fast-food and frozen meals and eating more fruits/vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins, and whole grains. You know what foods are good for you and what foods are bad for you. Limiting the crap will help you see results. Sticking with nutrient-dense foods and a combination of carbs, protein and fats to keep you feeling satisfied and full of energy. Drinking lots of water helps flush out your system and helps you from retaining water weight. I have a water bottle by my side all day to make sure I keep drinking even if I’m not thirsty.
I cannot preach enough how important it is to stay consistent. Train hard, and push yourself. That’s what it takes. It’s not easy, and there are no quick fixes. Experiment with exercises, keep your body guessing, eat well and stay happy and I promise you will see the results you want to see.