Aspria Personal Coach Sofia Beloka talks about improving our ‘core’.
We all know the effects that prolonged sitting can have on our bodies, but if your exercise goals entail getting a shredded six-pack, here are 10 key things you need to know if you do a desk office job.
As a holistic exercise and corrective kinesiologist, I see the long-term effects of a sedentary lifestyle in my clients’ bodies and their exercise goals. The changes begin subtly — a stiff neck, a mild headache, or a twinge in your lower back. Gradually, the symptoms increase in intensity, until you have a serious level of pain that stops you in your tracks. Does this sound familiar? Here are my tips:
- Core’s Job
The rectus abdominis (abs) are just one part of your core, together with the back muscles, pelvis and others. The core has a significant responsibility, helping to stabilize you when you’re standing and controlling your head, neck and pelvis, even when you’re sitting in your office chair. The movement of your arms and legs starts from the core. So keeping your core strong and healthy is important to many areas of your daily life.
- Body Fat
The way your abs look in your mirror comes down to how much body fat you have. But how strong and functional your abs are doesn’t depend on whether they are more or less pronounced. You can still have a strong core even if it’s covered by excess fat.
- Reducing Body Fat requires commitment
Busting away your belly fat is the key to letting your abs show. The average woman has about 40% body fat and the average man has about 28%. To make your six-pack visible, a woman would have to get lean enough to be in the correct body fat range, which depends on individual circumstances.
- Shedding body fat means fewer calories
Use a calories calculator to find out how many calories you need to cut in order to reach your goals. The calculator helps you to plan out meals and figure out a good calorie intake which won’t cause a drop in energy and nutrition level. But the greater indicator of shedding your body fat is ‘self-scanning’: check your energy levels after each meal instead of checking calories.
- Strength training is a must for women and men
Squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, rows and presses are all vital to building up and maintaining a hard six-pack. Full body workouts can do wonders for carving your core and are quick and simple. They are also easy to stick to and can be done almost anywhere. Do not spend your time on endless crunches.
- There is no spot reduction exercise for fat
If you really want to get rid of a little extra body fat around your belly, I’m sorry to say that there is not a single localized movement that will target it specifically. However, there are exercises that can enhance the look of abs, and these can be useful tools for achieving your desired look.
At the gym for about two hours every day, work, social life, family obligations, late work meetings, lack of sleep? If you don’t take time out to recover, then all your work has gone to waste. When you overload your muscles with hard-hitting workouts they need time to rest and rebuild.
- Bye Bye to Certain Foods
Goodbye, ice cream and patisserie! If you’re a woman and you think that you deserve a nice dessert after a hard work out, think again! Women have to balance more hormones that are affected by sugar and processed fat and do less strength training. Guess where that dessert goes after your workout, ladies! Men are not excluded from this rule, but they have higher levels of testosterone and do more strength training than women. Do not be surprised if you eat the same things as your partner but you get fat while your man stays the same weight; check what kind of training you’re doing and your specific needs.
- You’ll need to catch up with Mr Sleep
Muscles are built…by sleeping of course! Getting enough sleep is a vital part of building a beautiful six-pack.
- Respect your Breathing
Do you breathe normally? Do you know how to inhale and exhale properly? Do you have a shallow or diaphragmatic 3D breathing? Correcting your inhale-exhale function trains your core and six-pack abs properly, both inside and outside the gym – non-stop, 24 hours a day! Check your breathing ratio.