You want a flat and toned belly, we know. You work out every day, doing crunches after crunches, and yet you’re seeing almost no results!
Well, why is that?
Here’s the thing: crunches don’t really work. At least, not when you just do 50 a day every day. Your abdominal muscles are the core of your body. They support your back and spine, help you complete day-to-day movements, and even protect your organs. The abs rock, but they also require more work than you think if you want to give them the love they deserve.
So let’s go over why your ab workouts aren’t working.
Not Utilizing Other Important Muscles
When you’re doing your 50 daily crunches and side crunches, you’re really only utilizing your abdominals. That may sound strange since that’s what you’re trying to work, but hear us out.
A while ago we did a post about why you shouldn’t skip leg day. Your legs are important to multiple parts of your body, including your back and glutes. So, when you work out your legs do you notice that a lot of those workouts also involve the butt and core? It’s because all of these muscles need to work together for maximum results.
The same rules apply to your core. Working out all of the muscles is important to getting strong abs and a flat belly. So, when you do workouts you need to be utilizing your glutes and back muscles as well (don’t do anything that will hurt your back, however. There is a fine line you need to balance on here.)
So, next time you do a plank, flex your butt as hard as you can. Do a Russian Twist or an Oblique V so you’re using more muscles at once. Whatever it is, find a way to target more areas of your body instead of focusing on just one.
Mobility and Form
A big part of Fit Body Boot Camp is helping people realize that just doing static exercises won’t get you the results you want. A combination of interval training, cardio, and workouts that target the right parts of the body are the ultimate formula for the best weight loss.
Just doing the up and down motions of a standard crunch does not allow for much mobility. That’s why doing moves that utilize more of your body is so important. You need to add more movement to your workouts in order to give your core more flexibility to help with completing day-to-day tasks more easily. More movement also means more work, and that leads to burning more fat off of your body. Once you get rid of the fat all of your hard work will show in the form of that six-pack you knew was there.
Just as important is the form of your workouts. When you do a plank and have your butt sticking up into the air and aren’t utilizing your core and glutes then the plank isn’t going to do what it should. Bad form can also cause injuries if you’re not careful, which is why if you don’t know how to do something you should ask a trainer to teach you.
Variation in workouts is a huge help when trying to lose fat and gain muscle. When you do the same workout every day your body becomes used to it and the muscle won’t develop. Mixing up the routine is a great way to promote quick muscle development all over your body. That’s why every day of the week that you come in to Fit Body Boot Camp you’ll be greeted with a different work out than the day before.
So, instead of doing crunches every day and just upping the count to try and make it harder, try this: one day do exercises that target the front and sides of the abs. Then the next day do workouts that will strengthen your back muscles and shoulders, then devote another day to the glutes, and so on. By following a varying routine from day to day you’ll see more progress in your abs than if you stick to those crunches all the time.
Breathing and Speed
Breathing isn’t only important to cardio exercises; it is vital to any fitness routine. When you breathe properly you promote muscle flexing at the correct moments to maximize how much work your body is doing at any time.
In all of our workout blogs you’ll notice that we’re sure to let you know when in the rep you should be breathing in and when you should be breathing out. You allow oxygen into your muscles at optimal times and proper breathing helps with flexing and utilization of target muscles as well.
Breathing will also help with keeping a proper pace while exercising. Slow and steady wins the race in this situation. When doing bicycle crunches, holding each side for several seconds pushes your body more than trying to do as many reps as possible in a short amount of time. Holding a pose pushes your body harder than going as quickly as possible.
Quality over quantity can apply to workouts as well.
If you’re following all of the advice above and you’re still not seeing any of that flat tummy you’ve been wanting, there’s a chance your personal life is having a negative effect on your fitness.
Take a look at your eating habits, or even the way you’re eating. If you’re working out and then eating a greasy burger right after those abs are going to be a lot harder to obtain. Same goes with eating nothing at all. When you have no food in your body it attacks your muscles for substance, which will keep you from those abs you desire. And not properly chewing your food before swallowing can cause bloating in the stomach, which is the opposite of what we want.
Sleep is another important factor. Lack of sleep has been found to be associated with weight gain. If you’re not getting about 8 hours of sleep a night then you might gain weight and not have the energy to do intense workouts. If stress is keeping you awake, try meditating or finding herbal drinks that can help you fall asleep. Or, many people have found that working out helps you fall asleep more easily.
There are plenty of workouts we could tell you on how to get a flat belly, but the truth is, unless you’re working out properly and taking care of yourself outside of exercise routines, you’ll never get the results you want.