Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Six Pack Abs, the Simple Truth!

So what do you think you need to do to get 6-pack abs?  Hundreds of ab crunches a day? Seven days a week at the gym? A special ab machine marketed on TV?  How about those “magic” fat burning pills?

Well if you think any of the above will work then I have some ocean front property in Arizona for sale at a really good price! 
The bottom line is 6-pack abs start to show after you lose the excess fat or weight around your mid-section.  This is typically the last place your body will lose weight.  Not good news I know but the truth is what it is!  The other fact is that 6-pack abs are closely tied to nutrition which leads back to losing the excess weight!  These are general statements and there are those who defy they but they are not the norm.

Do you know who has the best abs in the world?  A sumo wrestler!  That is right, how do you think they are able to manipulate all that weight or their opponent?  The problem is it usually hidden underneath layers and layers of excess weight!
A clean diet and consistent gym work will build those abs you desire, it is that simple but I know it is hard to do.  After 18 months, I am still trying to get there myself, but I can also admit I still have a few pounds to lose around the gut.  My mid-section is tight underneath but the abs are not defined and showing because the layer of fat is still there.

My goal is to get there by summer, but that means I must limit the sweets even more!  For you it may be those extra bottles of beer or glasses of wine.  For others it may be the sodas, sweet tea, or the extra piece of cake every few days.  If you look at what you eating and be honest then you will know what is holding you back.
Do not believe in the targeted workout for your abs, you are only wasting time by not working on your overall fitness.  Almost any free weight exercise will strengthen the core muscles and your abs.  Ab crunches help, but it is not the answer.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Running Injury Free

People are always asking how someone can run long distances and minimize injuries.  Well there are several things to consider when starting to run.
First, you must remember to run at YOUR pace.  What that means is to run within your current skill and fitness level.  Run at a comfortable pace without panting or pain.  There may be some discomfort but if you feel intense pain then stop.  Use interval walks with your runs, i.e. run 1 minute, walk 1 minute.  Work up to 3/1 and so one.  I consistently walk for 1 minute for every mile I run, even in long races.  Going from 0 miles to 3 or 5 miles in a very short window will lead to pain and eventually injury.  The trick is to go slow and just work up your speed and endurance.

For me, it took 6 months to run a solid 6 miles; it took another 6 months to go 12!  Keep in mind I started 60 lbs. overweight.  I did all this injury free with the exception of a small setback with my heal early one.  Outside of that, over the last 2 years I have not had any significant injuries and I run at least 3 days a week.  I do have the occasional pain and soreness, everyone will have that.
Cross training will help reduce your chances of injury.  If running is your main activity, then using cycling, elliptical machines, swimming or any other activity that keeps your heart rate elevated.  By using different muscles and keeping the heart rate elevated you can received the same aerobic health benefits of running without overuse injuries which tend to occur when doing one activity for more than 3-4 days a week.

Second, the better you eat, the better you will recover and the quicker you can ramp up your distance and times.  Adding high intensity training, running or any other physical stress will make your body weaker if you do not provide the nutrition it needs for recovery properly.
Lastly, unless you are working out (running, walking, biking etc.) for longer than 1 ½ hours, then do not worry about nutritional aides or sports drinks while you are working out.  Water will be just fine!

You can see my previous blog post about why Sports Drinks are bad for you.
Currently I am logging 20-30 miles a week and going to the gym 4-5 days a week.  The key is to get there at your own pace, have fun, and use a variety of activities.