Today I’m talking about fitness. We all know how important it is to our overall physical and mental health. Now that I’m in my 40’s, I am also thinking about my bone health as much as I’m thinking about whether my jeans fit.
One thing I’ve realized is that whether I’m in a class or a small group environment, I’m most definitely a social exerciser. I prefer running with a buddy and working out with a group. So when a spot at my club opened up in a small group a few months ago, I was excited to join some friends for semi-private training sessions with our trainer, Joe.
We all love “Big Joe” at the club. He’s equal parts trainer and therapist, patiently listening to us whine about how unhappy we are with our legs in our skinny jeans or our arms in tank tops. He listens, gives us a great workout and we all leave feeling so much better for it.
I can already tell a difference in my body from the short time I’ve been working out with him. And surprisingly, we do mostly strength training with heavy weights. I’m working out in parts of the gym on equipment that I would never have ventured to otherwise (hello squat bar!) and am learning that lower reps and higher weights really do yield great results (and no bulk, contrary to popular belief.)
I asked Joe for some tips for all of you lovelies and he graciously offered to share a few words of wisdom. I hope to have more tips from him in the future but this week, he is talking about ab definition, which is a good indicator of your overall fitness:
Everyone is always asking me how to get rid of the belly. And the biggest truth about having visible abdominal muscles is that you need to have a lower body fat percentage. On average men need to be under 10% and women under 18%. You can’t spot reduce just your core or crunch away fat from the area.
Body fat reduction occurs over the body as a whole and is done through intense cardio, resistance training and diet. The best movements for fat burning are compound movements like barbell squats, deadlifts, rows and kettlebell swings. These are great since more muscle will be worked during each lift, major calories are burned and the muscles of the core are trained.
Performing compound movements is the best way to train the core. The job of this muscle group is to protect the lumbar spine, not just generating a crunching movement. The core does not require daily direct training (like crunches), it should be trained like other muscle groupings with proper rest and progressive resistance.
The ability to see your 6-pack (which we all have) will require a lifestyle change and discipline. There is no quick fix to 6-pack abs. Abdominal fat is usually the last fat to shed and the first to come back.
I’m sharing a few photos from the circuit we just did, which included everything from barbell squats to squat jumps, as well as isolated core movements. Joe also recommends we drink a gallon of water a day, which is harder than you think! His biggest tip is always “Do the work and get the results!”
What are your go to exercises these days?