Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Killer Abs in 15 Minutes Per Week...Kinda

Hello hello!

Everyone's getting ready for Thanksgiving - I love to see all the great recipes being posted on Twitter and basking in the glow of a husband who cooks.  He's baking a pie for our family gathering on Thursday.  I'm...planning to come hungry.

Last year's pie
Last year's plate.  YUM.

If you are like me, you get a little sick of the magazines that say, "here's how to get this celeb cover girl's gorgeous abs in 5 minutes a day after just two weeks!" 

When in fact, said celeb usually says in her interview, "Well, between filming all my movies with or dating Tom Cruise/Channing Tatum/Robert Downey Jr./Christian Bale/Zack Efron, I really don't get to work out as much as I'd like.  But yoga once a week REALLY keeps me sane and gives me this great figure.   And no, I don't believe in diets - I have SUCH a sweet tooth and eat a lot of ice cream but I try to shop at farmer's markets to be local and all that.  PS I WAS A SWIMSUIT MODEL BEFORE I GOT INTO ACTING.  AND MY MOM AND AUNTS AND GRANDMAS MODELLED, TOO."

And then you realize that even the Victoria's Secret types get airbrushed.

(No wonder I am slowly killing off my female health & fitness magazine subscriptions in favor of WODTalk and The Box.  Ugh.)

Here's MY "secret" to abs.  Yes, there's 15 minutes a week of official core work...at the bottom of the list.  Prepare to commit.
  • Sleep.  I don't care that Thomas Edison only needed 4 hours a night.  You are not Edison.  Get 8 hours a night for a month and then try come tell me you don't feel better.  Your body cannot take care of itself if you always run it into the ground.
  • De-stress.  I read yesterday that your body cannot distinguish between workout-type stress and life-type stress.  Cortisol is not your friend, however much you prize "running on adrenaline."  (See importance of sleep, above.)  When you are stressed, beside having less time to sleep, prep/eat good food, and workout, you body goes into extra credit fat-holding mode.  Which in turn is no good for your tummy.
  • Hydrate and eat up.  Unless you are one of those model types who can scarf nachos, party it up every weekend, and still look gorgeous (in which case you would not be reading this), you HAVE to refuel and to prioritize your food.  I don't support any particular diet, but I think all experts would agree on more produce, more protein, and less processed foods.  Have food you like, by all means, but make sure you are getting enough veggies and protein, and then be uber-picky about your indulgences.  (If you are not into wine, have water with dinner and hold out for a great desserty cocktail.  If like me, you could care less about cake, pass on it but really enjoy that doughnut Saturday morning.)  Also, drink more water.  Duh.
  • CrossFit.  Technically I could say "Lift heavy.  Do cardio."  But that is basically the same thing offering less guidance and requiring more of your time.  Girls seem weirdly hesitant to "build muscle" but we all wanna "burn fat."  Ladies, I have news for us.  Muscle and fat are kinda the two choices.  The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest.  Plus if you do not build muscle, you will never achieve that "lean, toned" look.  You will still have fat...there will just be less of it.
  • CrossFit.  Yes, I know I already said this.  But see exhibits A and B (Camille Le-Blanc Bazinet) below.  You can lift heavy, have killer abs, and STILL be feminine.  Find a box near you, do their ramp-up or intro series, and start going a minimum of twice a week.  Bump it up to three or more times a week as soon as your coach thinks you're ready.

  • Core work.  CrossFit includes the core in almost everything, because you have to engage your abs to have good form and stay safe on every single lift, not to mention stability in lunges, strength in kipping pullups, and of course, sit-ups and V-ups.  But we don't do a lot of plank work, which for me is a requirement to keep up my core strength for all the CrossFit work we do.  It's made a big difference for me in my performance at the Box.
I perform this 5 minute routine 3 days a week.  You can do it anywhere.  All you need is the ground and a running clock.

First: 2 minute forearm plank.

Second: 1 minute side forearm plank (pick a side).

Third: 1 minute side forearm plank (other side).

Finally: Finish out the remainder of the five minutes with 10-20 supermans.  (Start position for each rep is laid out flat on your face.)

You tell me:  Do you get annoyed with "wow I'm so busy but my body is magically perfect"?  What's your abs routine?  What are you making for Thanksgiving?


  1. I've been trying to the plank a day thing and have done pretty well. It really has helped me feel like my core is stronger!

  2. They're so simple but SO effective! Some people think planks are boring...but I read while I plank if I get bored! Loved reading your Pretty Muddy recap. :)


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