How I Got Abs (My Most Frequently Asked Question)
I kinda’ get mad when I see all the posts on my FB page about “do these four moves for toned abs” or “10 minutes to a six pack.” Spoiler alert: that’s not how you get the sculpted body you’re totally crushing on. Before I started lifting heavy, I thought it was that simple: tear out a five-move workout routine from the fitness magazine, tape it on the fridge and do those exercises three times a week. I was certain the abs would follow. Guess what – they didn’t.
The sad thing is, so many people think it is that easy. Just spend a little time doing some simple moves and you’ll be slim, trim and cut up. Wrong. Way wrong. Like “Louisville is the capital of Kentucky” wrong.
Now, before I go any farther, let me put a caviat out there – this is what works for my body. What works for you may be different. I have tried about every combination of exercise/diet/fad diet you could think of over the last 15 years. But as I eased into weight lifting and Strongman training, I found what works for me.
In order for me to lose body fat, gain muscle and get cut up, it’s a three prong approach. Drum roll please…..
#1) Watch What you Eat: I can’t stress this enough. I see girls everyday working out like crazy in the gym, then see them check in at the local Mexican restaurant that evening. If slimming down and really seeing muscle definition is your goal – eating junk won’t get you the results you want. The thought of “Ooh, I burned 500 calories during my workout. Now I have 500 calories to eat at McDonalds” is not how it works. If you’re trying to slim down, YOU CANNOT EAT BACK THE CALORIES YOU BURNED. Exercising isn’t a free pass to eat what you want, it’s a way to burn off some of the extra “fluff” you’ve got around your middle (or in my case, booty.) You’ve heard it before, “abs are made in the kitchen” – that is the absolute truth. Working out in the gym is hard, but you know what is harder? Resisting chips and cake. You must do both if you want to see the results. A friend of mine the other day said, “You know what exercise is good for toning my inner thighs? Quit eating so much crap.” #truth
#2) Weight Lifting: Wonder how those girls get that muscle definition? It’s lifting weights. Not the dainty, pink 5lbs weights, but the big momma weights. It builds muscle, burns fat and gets you those awesome muscles lines you’re drooling over. So many women are intimidated by the big plates, the large dumbbells and don’t even talk about the squat rack. But – you have to use them to get results. If you’re intimidated, start with a friend. Hire a coach (this is invaluable and worthy of its own blog post another day.) But get familiar with the gym, the moves and the heavy weight. Your booty will thank you.
#3) Cardio: Ahh, yes. The dreaded “c” word. So many people in the Strongman world see cardio as a way to “lose those gains.” Poppycock. I see cardio as a way to get my heart in shape, get my endurance up and lose a little pudge. Remember, my goal is to lift heavy at a certain body weight and be a well-rounded athlete. Maybe that’s not your goal. But if you want to trim down, you have to incorporate cardio. My cardio is on point. But that’s because I work at it. Seriously – you want to challenge me in a lightweight rep competition or a run around the block? I’m in. A lot of Strongmen just lift heavy – and when it comes to a timed event, after a few reps they fizzle out. Cardio is your friend. Hang out with it. Invite it to girl’s night. Get matching tattoos. You get the idea.
Ok, time for a Captain Obvious Rule: To be in good cardio shape – you have to actually DO cardio. Sounds easy but people just don’t do it. I schedule cardio time separate from my weight lifting every week. I run. I do workout videos. Right now, I’m digging spinning classes. In a 45 minute class, I burn around 500 calories. And, super important for me, it doesn’t hurt my hip or knees. I walk (or kind of hobble) out of class with a nice little workout. Do cardio = see results.
If you want to slim down and get cut up, it’s not a secret how to do it. But it isn’t easy. It takes time, dedication and a whole lot of veggies.
Side Note: I’ve started to get some requests from you guys on posts to write and things you want to hear about (like today’s topic.) If there’s something particular that you want to know – comment and let me know. I’ll add it in a post.
Be Strong, Lift Big and Eat Well!