How to get FLAT ABS!

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How to get flat abs is hands down the number 1 question I get asked regarding fitness. Often times people tell me that they are pretty happy with their overall shape they just need an exercise to burn off that stubborn fat around the middle. So what is the secret to flat abs? The secret is that there is no single exercise that will burn off that stubborn belly fat read on to learn what works!

Flat Abs Start in the Kitchen

Yep there is no way around it if you want to have a a sexy midsection you have to start with a healthy diet. The secret to great abs is a low body fat percentage and while exercise is great for burning calories and sculpting healthy muscle it is difficult if not impossible to out exercise a poor diet. So if you are already working out and not getting the results you want this is the place to start.

Diet Tips:

1) Know your numbers- Calculating your numbers is a must. It is not only helpful when you are just getting started (makes it easy to plan your meals) but it is essential when you are trying to lose those last stubborn pounds. How else will you know how many calories you can eat in a day and still lose weight. Personally I use a gadget called the Bodybugg which you can purchase from 24hr Fitness but there are also tons of free calculators on the internet you can use to figure this out as well. For a more in depth discussion check out my blog post: Burning Fat and Getting Lean Without the Hype.

2) Keep a food diary- Yes I know it is a pain but it is the best way to keep yourself honest. Record every bite and then compare your total calorie consumption with your daily calorie burn. If you do this for a few weeks I bet you will see some patterns. If you want to take it a step further keep a food mood journal where you record the situation and how you are feeling before and after eating this is a great way to identify triggers. From my personal experience just being aware makes a HUGE difference.

3) Eat Clean- There is a lot of hype about the dangers of the food industry and how they are putting chemicals into our food that make you over eat. Now I am no expert so I cannot say whether that is true or not but I see no problem with eating as naturally as possible the less chemicals in our food the better. Try to eat as much of your food as possible from the freshest ingredients and avoid highly processed food at all costs. Second if you can afford to eat organic do so it certainly can’t hurt (Be aware though that organic is kind of a fuzzy term so don’t believe everything you read on the label I will do a future post on reading food labels and what marketing companies can get a way with so keep an eye out for that). For some more ideas on eating clean check out this post: 5 Tips to Eat Clean.

Let’s Get Physical- You Cannot Spot Reduce!

This is the biggest myth of all and there are tons of ab gadgets on the market that perpetuate it. Don’t waste your money they do not work! I mean lets face it if all it took was doing some crunches everyone would have a six pack. I know I would. :) So what does work?

Full Body Exercise and cardio to burn fat. Like I said body fat is what is  keeping you from having great abs so let’s get rid of it. The best way to get there is to follow a complete exercise program that includes cardio, strength training, and yes ab work. Just know that there is NO ab exercise in the world that will give you  six pack on its own (unless you are already extremely lean). So stop wasting your time and money on ab gadgets and crunches and follow a balanced plan instead.

My Favorite Exercises for Great Abs

1) Kickboxing- Is great for great abs because it is cardio so it burns fat, and it has a lot of rotation and is full body which means you are working your abs while you are doing your cardio. I love it. The workout I am doing now is: Turbo Fire.

2) Strength Training- Is great for building lean muscle which burns fat at rest. What to look for? Compound movements ideally working your upper body and lower body at the same time doing so forces you to work your core. This way you get the biggest results in the shortest amount of time. The Workout I am doing is: Chalean Extreme.

3)Ab Exercises- I personally love planks, side planks and mountain climbers to work my abs. I also use a stability ball to really challenge my core while I do crunches and even when I am just sitting at my computer. The truth is any ab routine will work just know that the abs are like any other muscle so you only need to train them a few days a week and they need recovery. So forget about doing crazy things like 500 crunches a day they won’t do you any good.  And just to let you in on a secret if you can do 500 crunches in one sitting you probably aren’t doing them properly and are using momentum instead of the actual muscle and that will not give you great abs. I don’t follow  a special ab program each of the above workouts has an ab component built in.

So there you have it that is the secret to great abs a healthy diet and a good fitness program. It takes work and discipline but if you set your mind to it YOU can achieve it!

If you want a complete home workout program that focuses on abs you can check out : Rev Abs.

If you need help , want support and accountability contact me I’d love to be your free coach!

To your health,

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Time Crunched? Get Fit Fast!

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Let’s face it time is a precious commodity and we all only get 24 hours in a day. So how can we make the most of it and still reach our fitness goals? Well guess what it doesn’t have to take a lot of time and you can do it. Keep reading to learn more.

Contrary to popular belief you do NOT have to work out an hour a day to get great results. Sure there are benefits of doing longer workouts but if you don’t have the time and cannot commit to the grueling program it won’t work. So what can you do? Simple start doing short intense workouts throughout the day. Research suggests that the cumulative effect of short workouts are just as good if not better than one long workout. Plus any activity is better than no activity so if you only have ten minutes use them.

Another fact is if you follow the fitness industry all of the buzz is around HIIT training or High Intensity Interval Training right now. The reason for the buzz is the workouts are short and super intense. Some reports say they can boost calorie burn for 24- 48 hours after the workout is done. That is incredible and it just shows that with the right intensity you can get awesome results in a short period of time.

So now that you see that short workouts can yield big results lets talk about how to find a great workout.

What to look for in a short workout?

  • INTENSITY: If you only have 10 minutes to work out you have to make the most out of every second and push yourself to the max.
  • No Spot Training: I hate to break it to you but all of those crunches are not going to give you 6 pack abs. If you are going to be successful with a short workout program you MUST focus on whole body exercises. First it increases the amount of work being done which results in greater calorie burn. Second by working the upper body and lower body at the same time it forces you to engage your core as well as other stabilizer muscles which will give you greater results than a set or two of crunches or bicep curls ever could.
  • Try Plyo: Or plyometrics these moves are great for building strength and added strength means more calorie burn while you are resting. Keep in mind plyo is advanced, requires a lot of jumping  and can be hard on your joints so be careful and start slowly. Second Plyo workouts should NOT be done every day you body needs to recover.

So see you CAN fit exercise into your hectic schedule I mean everyone has ten spare minutes so use them. Focus on intensity and working your whole body and you will see results I promise. Need ideas for exercises well you can do just about anything if you would like to learn about a complete program based on 10 minute workouts check out Ten Minute Trainer

So stop using time as an excuse as to why you cannot workout and get moving. I know you can!

To your health You CAN Do it!

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5 Tips to Eat Clean

Hey everyone!

So if you are anything like me diet is your biggest hurdle in losing weight and keeping it off. So today I am going to share a few tips that help me to stay on track.

First I want to say that I hate diets because they are a quick fix and as I have said before if you go on a plan with an end date in mind your sunk. You need to make real lifestyle changes that you can commit to for the rest of your life. So unless you are trying to cut weight for a competition or a special event I am against diets. Instead make smaller sustainable changes and I guarantee you will get results and will be better prepared to maintain your results.

So you hear it all the time just EAT CLEAN. So what does this really mean and how can you incorporate it into your daily life?  Well at the most simplistic level, and clean eating is simple, it just means to eat foods in there most natural form. In other words the less processed the better. In fact it is highly recommended that the fewer the ingredients the better. That does not mean you cannot make delicious meals, you can but it puts you in charge of what goes in your body instead of the food industry.

5 Tips to EAT CLEAN

1) Eat 5-6 small meals a day- This helps prevent cravings because you will never be starving which helps you make healthier choices. It boosts metabolism by preventing catabolism or the breakdown of lean body tissue for fuel.

2) Shop the perimeter of the grocery store- by purchasing most of your food on the perimeter you are avoiding most processed foods and thus keep most of your diet CLEAN

3) Avoid all “diet” foods and anything with artificial sweeteners. Especially diet soda.  – Now I am not going to get technical with all of the problems associated with artificial sweeteners however I can assure you they offer no health benefits (unless you are diabetic but even still I would talk to your doctor about using Stevia an all natural sweetener instead). Plus most “diet” or “low-fat” foods are loaded with additional sugar and calories so be aware and read labels you will be shocked at how much junk is added to “health” foods.

4) Read Labels- The less number of ingredients the better. Don’t make food choices based on the front of the package food labeling laws allow them to make bold claims as long as they have the real ingredients on the label. Don’t fall for it always read the labels.

5) Prepare Most of Your Own Meals- This is primarily regarding lunch. You can make a huge difference in your results simply by packing healthy meals. Don’t leave it to chance plan ahead and bring your meals. A great tip is to plan a time to prepare your meals for the week ahead of time this makes it super easy to stay on track and eliminates excuses such as I didn’t have time to pack my lunch ahead of time.

See it really isn’t difficult it just takes a little planning. Over time it will become easier but still you do not need to follow a strict diet plan you just need to focus on eating the freshest healthy foods the majority of the time (some say 80-90%). I suggest eating clean as much of the time as possible. If you slip-up don’t beat yourself up but get back on track as soon as possible. The secret to this diet’s success is that it really is a new lifestyle and once you commit to it you can follow it for life.

To your health,

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What is the Best Fat Burning Workout???

So what is the best fat burning workout? Well that is a good question and there are a lot of people and trainers that will tell you they have the secret that will make all of that stubborn fat go away. So what is it?

The Best Fat Burning Workout is the workout you will commit to and do consistently. That is what it really comes down to. Sure certain methods are better for specific results such as gaining muscle, or increasing cardiovascular health, but when it comes to fat loss you simply need to move more and eat less.

So you need to find the workout that fits YOU! The workout that you can commit to doing day in and day out even when you don’t feel like it. Once you are committed then I highly recommend branching out and trying new things but at first you just have to get started. As long as you are looking for that magic pill or workout in this case you will be disappointed. So find an activity that you enjoy and then just do it!

What Makes a Good Fat Burning Workout?
As I said certain programs are better at producing certain results but for overall health and fitness I simply recommend finding a program that targets the three primary components of fitness.

  • Cardiovascular Training – Most days of the week (It doesn’t have to be at the gym it can be a brisk walk or a bike ride with the kids)
  • Strength Training – 2-3x per week
  • Flexibility Training – at lease once per week or more as you see fit (Not bendy like a pretzel? No worries it doesn’t have to be yoga just make sure to take time to stretch each week)

So combine that with a healthy diet and you will be well on your way to a healthier, fitter, and thinner you. So stop looking for that magic program or diet outside of you and just get going and you will achieve success. Then keep it up and ad new exercises to keep your body challenged and you will see results.

To your health,

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A Motivational Video from Chalene Johnson

Hello I have had a busy weekend so far but I wanted to post some quick inspiration. So here is a short motivational message from one of my favorite trainer’s Chalene Johnson. She is an expert at fitness as well as personal development and success and she has made a huge impact on my life.  Enjoy!

To your health and success!

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Goals-Your Gameplan for Success

So you want to lose weight and get in shape FOR REAL this time and you have set your goal you want to lose X number of pounds.

That’s great but that isn’t really a goal. Did you write it down? Set benchmarks? Make a plan? If you said no to any of these questions your chances of success go down dramatically.

If you want to improve your odds keep reading I will share how I set goals that get real results.

Step 1:
Identify your goal and write it down.
Determine if its a long-term goal, mid-term goal, or an immediate goal. If it is weight loss it is most likely a long-term goal.
Is it realistic? Ideally it should be challenging but doable.

Ex. you want to lose 40 lbs in 6 months this is doable but challenging It is perfect now you want to move on to step 2.

Step 2:

Set  Benchmarks or Mini Goals
Now that you have a goal set it is time to set some benchmarks or mini goals so you can track your progress and identify what is or is not working.
So with the example of losing 40lbs you can break it down into monthly and even weekly goals. I highly recommend breaking it down you can then enjoy the satisfaction of reaching these small benchmarks that will keep you motivated and moving forward. It will also help you identify what is not working so you can revise your plan.

Ex. Goal- Lose 40lbs in 6 months. This is doable but challenging it will require you to lose almost 7 lbs a month but it IS doable.
Benchmarks
Month lose 7 lbs per month
Week- Lose 1.75 lbs per week.
Daily- Create a caloric deficit of 750 calories per day through diet and exercise.

Ok now you have some benchmarks next step planning. How are you going to achieve these goals.

Step 3:

Planning

Identify small daily tasks that will help you achieve your goal.
Ex. Plan and prepare meals ahead of time, schedule workouts.

*Remember if you fail to plan you plan to fail!

Step 4:


Take action!

Make sure you plan and follow through on all the small daily tasks you planned to do.

Step 5


Monitor and Reassess

Ok so now you have been acting on your plan it is now time to determine if it is working and if its not where its going wrong.
So at every benchmark or mini goal you want to track your progress and if you did not reach your goal you need to figure out why. It is possible that the goal may be to challenging and you need to modify it or it could be that you are not following through with your daily tasks. Regardless whichever it is you will only know if you track your progress so don’t skip this step. It will make a huge difference in the outcome.

So that is it. Set your goals, make a plan, follow it , and then track your progress. It is really pretty simple and should not take you much time but it will make a huge difference in your results.

This is a simple goal planning system that I use for a more in depth look into goal setting check out the book Goals by Brian Tracey he really goes into depth on how to use goals to change your life. I highly recommend it because it can really change your life.

To your health and success!

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Eating Disorders: A Tragic Problem in society today

Hey everyone. I just had to share this video because it is near and dear to my heart As a psychology student I learned a lot about the inner workings of the mind and how it contributes to eating disorders. However it was very clear that physicians and psychologists still struggle with the treatment and care of individuals with these disorders.

As a girl who struggled with weight my entire life and who explored every strategy (healthy or not) in order to get the body of my dreams. Including exploring proana websites and the scary and dangerous advice that can be found there. Thankfully for me I never took it to the extreme but it is important to be aware of this growing trend to identify it in family and friends as well as to stay away from it yourself.

Please check out this news clip featuring fellow Beach Body Coach Michelle L Meyer’s who struggled with an eating disorder and has managed to overcome it. She is very inspiring and a great person to look up to and check out her book I can’t wait to get a copy I am sure it will really offer great insight into the struggles of eating disorders.

News Story

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What Workout Are You Doing Today?

Hello

Motivation is a major challenge so I want to offer some accountability here. What did you do today to improve your fitness? It can be a walk or jog or a workout anything active fits. Just share what you did and your goals. I can’t wait to hear from you.

Today  I did 45 min. of TurboJam and 30 min. of yoga. Let me know what you did!

Laura

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Exercise 101 Aerobics Vs. Anaerobic Which is better?!?!?

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Aerobic vs Anaerobic which is better? The truth they both are essential however they have different purposes and a well designed program will address both. So lets get down to the science.

Aerobic- Simply means with oxygen. This means you are working out at a level where you are getting enough oxygen so your body can use fat as its primary source for fuel.

Anaerobic- Means without oxygen. This means that you are working so hard that your body can no longer use fat as fuel and instead uses glycogen (sugar) as its source of fuel.

So when you get down to the basics the different types simply refer to the fuel source used to fuel the exercise. As I have stated in previous posts the type of fuel source is not really that important when it comes down to weight loss it is the deficit you create in calories consumed versus calories burned. The way you create the deficit is not as important.

Ok so lets address the benefits of the two.

Aerobics has been highly touted as the best way to burn fat. The reasoning is that the body uses fat as fuel during aerobic exercise which is good. However it is not the only way to burn fat. Your body uses fat throughout the day to fuel your metabolic processes as well as during your workouts. The major benefit of aerobics is the affect it has on your heart. Aerobic exercise works the heart for an extended period of time making it more efficient. Meaning that it has to work less overall throughout the day. So some form of aerobics or cardio training is essential to a well balanced training program. More on techniques later.

Anaerobic is generally associated with strength training. Your body does not generally burn fat when you are lifting weights because there is not enough oxygen. However interval training also has you working in anaerobic zones. This means that you are working so hard that you are no longer getting enough oxygen to use fat as the primary fuel source this is not a bad thing. It also has cardiac benefits as you push your heart to higher levels your body rebuilds to make it more efficient just like you get with cardio.

So now lets discuss how this affects you. What is the best way to burn fat and get the cardio benefits of both types of exercise? The truth is there is some controversy around this. One camp says aerobics is essential (by the way I am a cardio junkie) and I agree it is important. It is a great way to elevate your heart rate for an extended period of time giving you cardio benefits as well as burning some fat. However the other side says you are wasting your time on cardio and you can save time by focusing on anaerobic training. An example of anaerobic training is HIIT training or high intensity interval training which is a great way to burn fat. However you should not do it everyday.

According to AFAA you should aim to work at a higher intensity (ex interval training) instead of long endurance cardio workouts. The reason is that you burn more calories doing higher intensity exercise than you do during steady state cardio. So it ultimately comes down to calories in versus calories out. The higher the intensity the more calories you burn and thus the more fat you burn.

The bottom line is both modalities are important but depending on time constraints and your personal preferences you can design a program that works best for you. For example I love cardio so I do it regularly however I also include strength training and HIIT Training. The combination gives me the best results. However if you do not like cardio you can perform a circuit that gives you cardio benefits as well as strength benefits (a post on circuit training coming soon). So you need to figure out your goals and available time and then  create a program that works for you. As always get your doctors consent and I highly recommend getting a trainer or a dvd program designed by professionals so you know you are working out safely.

A post on HIIT training is in the works. Thanks for reading please share and as always subscribe I have lots of great info planned.

To your health,

Laura

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