Thursday, November 8, 2012

Modern Day Corset? Love Handles Explained...

Hello Readers!  

So one of the main questions I get asked by patients and athletes is "How do I get rid of this belly? or How can I get a 6-pack??" I always laugh on the inside a little knowing the right formula to help and it does NOT involve doing endless crunches.

First, let me tell you that the way your "abs" look has a lot to do with your genetics and the way you are everyone say THANK YOU to your mom and dad but that is not an excuse!

Second (and this is big but not revolutionary), You, literally, ARE WHAT YOU EAT. How many times have we been told this growing up? Trust me when I tell you I struggle with this the most, I love great homemade food and sweets...but I have discovered the art of moderation.

So how can we get a more trimmed looking stomach??  There are 2 things you can do...easy right? Burn more calories than we take in by moving our bodies and work our obliques!!!

I'm sure we all know we need to burn more calories throughout the day vs. how many we take in. That's it, but this took me a long time to actually put 2 and 2 together. To flash back to my 1st blog, think about an average day. Most of us wake up, get ready for work, sit at work, come home and fix dinner, sit to eat, then get ready for bed. How many calories are you burning? Not that many...

I'm about to put myself on blast, but another example is to think about how many calories are in a treat. For instance, I LOVE REESE'S CUPS. Like really love them...the commercials get me almost every time! Just seeing orange and brown together makes me want one! So I used to eat them, A LOT. But there are 250 calories in them! So I broke the habit by thinking about my workouts vs their calories. I would literally have to do over 25 minutes on an elliptical to burn that!!! Is it worth it? NO, I say. And I'm telling you this so that you can have clarity like I did, not because I'm OCD about my food intake or workouts. It's just not worth it sometimes. So a solution for me would be either share one :) or don't buy them very often.

So I prefaced all that to say this...your LOVE HANDLES are mere muscles. The obliques to be more specific. These large muscles run from the bottom of our ribcage to our hips and are responsible for forward and twisting movements of our spine.

What most people DON'T know is that they act as a modern day corset for our body. So many people think getting a flat stomach involves countless crunches. I am here to tell you that is not true. Moving your body cardiovascularly and doing core work, including working the obliques is key.

So here are my favorite core exercises, don't complicate them, just do some!

1. Side Plank (and make sure you exhale which recruits more active muscle in the obliques!)

Plank to Each Side... Hold 10-30 seconds...repeat 3 times. Work your way up to 3 times for 30 seconds.
*Beginner-start with your knees bent:

                           (Sorry for the scantily clad pic but this I do most days in the gym, love it!)

2. Ball Twist

Grab a medicine ball (or a 5-10 pound weight, bag of rice, jug of water)
Balancing on your sitting bones, with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, twist the ball from side to side holding your abdominals tight.
Go back and forth 30 times exhaling as you go!

**To advance this just pick your feet up off the floor. Just make sure to keep your back flat and that it is pain-free in the low back.

That's it! Repeat as many times as you would like to feel a burn. Enjoy and work these into a workout or after a walk to start using your own body's modern day corset!