How Full-Core Sculpting Exercises Complement High Cardio

Most core exercises, especially any exercise that includes “crunch”, are not, in fact, going to create the sleek, toned belly you want. So why should we do core exercises at all? Since doing high-intensity cardio burns fat more effectively than crunches, why shouldn’t we just do cardio all day long and ditch the core sculpting routines?

Core Envy Sculpting Exercise: Lunge by Allison Westfahl

Here’s why:

Working the core in a functional, progres­sive manner will give you nice, lean mus­cles that will be on display once that layer of fat is burned off by doing cardio and cleaning up your diet.

You don’t want to spend months burning off that spare tire to reveal, well, nothing underneath.

While core exercises are not the most effective way to burn subcutaneous and visceral fat off your belly, they are the answer to toning the muscles underneath.

As stated earlier, spot-reducing fat from your body is not realistic, but spot-toning your muscles most certainly is.

For exam­ple, you can absolutely make the muscles in your legs stronger and more toned by doing lunges and squats; this maxim holds true for any muscle in the body. Putting repetitive stress on a muscle causes posi­tive adaptations in those muscle fibers that range from improved cardiovascular effi­ciency to increased bone density and neu­romuscular control.

The bottom line is that if you put repetitive stress on your core muscles by doing the 90 sculpting exercises in my Core Envy program, you will improve the strength, power, endurance, and coordination of those muscles.

This post is from Core Envy by Allison Westfahl.

Core Envy by Allison Westfahl Book CoverAllison Westfahl’s Core Envy will tone and sculpt your abs, back, stomach, and sides—and build a strong, sexy core you’ll love showing off. Core Envy solves the problems traditional abs programs ignore with HIIT cardio, functional core sculpting exercises, and a smart diet overhaul.

Core Envy is available now in Target stores, bookstores, and from these online retailers. Take a look!

Target.com
VeloPress
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
local booksellers

Are You Slouching? Good Posture Can “Take Off” Five Pounds

A few years ago I worked with a woman who was very concerned about building her abdominal muscles back up after two pregnancies. I immediately noticed how rounded her shoulders were and that her posture was making her stomach stick out enough that you might begin to wonder if she were still pregnant. She looked down at her stomach and exclaimed, “See? Ever since I had kids, I have this horrible pooch that won’t go away!” I promptly pulled her shoulders back and told her to lift her chest up 3 inches. Voilà! Her dreaded “mommy tummy” disappeared immediately. She was shocked but came to the realization that she had started slouching thanks to her daily routine of breast-feeding, carrying babies, and being chronically sleep-deprived. I started her on a program that focused on strengthening not only the abdominal muscles but also those of the upper back and midback. Her posture improved dra­matically, the mommy tummy went away, and her confidence skyrocketed.

The problem of poor posture is not restricted to mothers and older women. Over the past decade, I’ve noticed a signifi­cant increase in the number of women who come to me with extremely poor posture. As poor posture becomes more and more prevalent, our collective memory of good posture fades away. The ramifications go far beyond vanity and a belly pooch. When the spine is excessively rounded forward for long periods of time, ischemic tissue (tissue that no longer has oxygen flow to it) will develop in the area and contribute to the irreversible curvature of the spine. In addition, poor posture can interfere with the brain’s ability to communicate with the muscles (by putting pressure on the spinal column), can cause joint and muscle inju­ries, and can even lead to painful trigger points from overused muscles.

Take a look at your profile in a mirror and compare your natural posture with the illustrations shown here. The position of your head will have a domino effect on the rest of your spine. You can experience this by pushing your chin forward 6 inches, which should cause your upper back and shoulders to round forward and your chest cavity to collapse.

Core Envy Good Posture Vs. Slouching 600px

Notice that if you have poor posture, it is likely that your shoulders are slumped and your hips are tucked under in a way that makes your gluteals look weak and untoned, which in turn makes your stomach look bigger. Now move your body into the opposite position, which is called a back exten­sion. The abdominal muscles immediately become elongated and flatter, the shoulders pull back and create an opening in the chest, and the hips move into a slight anterior pelvic tilt (pushed backward), which helps the gluteals look round and toned.

When your mother harped on you to stand up straight and pull your shoulders back, she should have mentioned that good posture makes your chest, abs, and butt more attractive. Now, I’m not talking about an exaggerated position like that of a gymnast salut­ing the judges. You want to find the natural posture that helps you look great and allows your spinal column to rest in its optimal position.

This post is from Core Envy by Allison Westfahl.

Core Envy by Allison Westfahl Book CoverAllison Westfahl’s Core Envy will tone and sculpt your abs, back, stomach, and sides—and build a strong, sexy core you’ll love showing off. Core Envy solves the problems traditional abs programs ignore with HIIT cardio, functional core sculpting exercises, and a smart diet overhaul.

Core Envy is available now in Target stores, bookstores, and from these online retailers. Take a look!

Target.com
VeloPress
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
local booksellers

You Have to Lose It Everywhere

You Can’t Burn Fat In Just One Place

We all store fat in different areas of our bod­ies; women with pear-shaped bodies tend to store more in the hips and thighs, while women with apple-shaped bodies store more in the abdomen and upper arms. When you want to reduce fat in a specific area of your body, it would seem reasonable to do exer­cises that work the muscles in that region. So if you want less fat on your thighs, you do lunges; if you want less fat on your arms, you do biceps curls; and if you want to burn off that spare tire, you do core exercises. Seems perfectly logical, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, this approach to fat reduction is simply false. The reason we can’t microtarget fat areas is that fat is stored primarily in the form of tri­glycerides. These triglycerides might tend to collect more in certain areas (such as the abdomen or thighs), but that doesn’t mean the muscles of that area are using those spe­cific triglycerides for fuel.

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When we need energy to move, our body will call upon the stored energy in our fat cells and convert that energy into fuel that our muscles can use. Just because we have fat cells in our stomach doesn’t mean our body will choose those particular fat cells to convert to energy when we’re doing core exercises. In short, the fat cells in our stomach don’t “belong” to the muscles of the stomach. The body will pull energy from fat cells in many dif­ferent areas of the body and will use that fuel to help power whatever activity we are doing.

The Key Is Burning Many Calories

For this reason, the key to burn­ing fat as quickly as possible is to choose activities that burn the highest number of calories, in turn eliminating the high­est amount of fat. In my new book Core Envy, we will look at which types of workouts are the most effective for burning fat calories, and we’ll examine why manipulating your heart rate is the key to losing belly fat.

Core Envy by Allison Westfahl Book CoverPlease take a look at my new book Core Envy, which will tone and sculpt your abs, back, stomach, and sides—and build a strong, sexy core you’ll love showing off.

Core Envy is available now in Target stores, bookstores, and from these online retailers. Take a look!

Target.com
VeloPress
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
local booksellers

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Philipp.

 Core Envy by Allison Westfahl Book CoverAllison Westfahl’s Core Envy will tone and sculpt your abs, back, stomach, and sides—and build a strong, sexy core you’ll love showing off. Core Envy solves the problems traditional abs programs ignore with HIIT cardio, functional core sculpting exercises, and a smart diet overhaul.

Core Envy is available now in Target stores, bookstores, and from these online retailers. Take a look!

Target.com
VeloPress
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
local booksellers