Today's featured Core Envy sculpting exercise: Reverse Tabletop. Get ready to feel the burn! The Reverse Tabletop is one of those movements that can feel foreign at first because the arms and legs are behind the body while the torso is pushing up toward the ceiling. Though challenging, it is an excellent way to open up the chronically tight muscles on the front side of the body while strengthening the muscles in the back.
Today's featured Core Envy sculpting exercise: C Series. Core exercises performed from a standing position are a favorite of mine. After all, this is primarily the position from which we call upon the core muscles to work for us in daily life, and we need to train them accordingly. This particular movement also benefits your posture because it elongates the spine and helps open up the shoulders.
Today's featured Core Envy sculpting exercise: Twisting Side Plank. If you're already using the Core Envy program, you were introduced to Side Planks in the Balance & Isometrics routine, where you learned how to set up the fundamental Side Plank pose and hold it for a given amount of time. In this exercise, you'll call upon the balance you have developed and add to it an upper-body twist to create rotational strength through the core.
Today's featured Core Envy sculpting exercise: Hip Bridges. I love this exercise because it works the gluteals and the muscles on the back side of the core while being easy on the knees. It's quite common to feel the quadriceps attempting to do all the work during this movement, so try to focus on releasing the quads and forcing the glutes and hamstrings to fire.
Today's featured Core Envy sculpting exercise: Sliding Series. Learning to stabilize the torso while moving your limbs is an essential part of functional core strength. This exercise keeps the body stable while the upper arms slide (or tap) forward and back.
Today's featured Core Envy sculpting exercise: Single-Leg Kicks. This is a hip extension exercise that works the gluteal muscles as well as the deep stabilizers of the hips. In this series, we will also challenge the deep abdominal muscles by moving the upper body into different positions. Focus on tall posture as you do this exercise. It's a good idea to have a chair or table nearby in case you need a little extra support or help with balance.
Today's featured Core Envy sculpting exercise: Superman Series. The muscles of the back are frequently neglected in many popular core training routines, though they are just as important as the muscles on the front side of the body. Try this Superman Series to help establish good muscle tone, good posture, and functional strength.
Allison Westfahl's new book Core Envy: A 3-Step Guide to a Strong, Sexy Core features 90 sculpting exercises. Try out these 9 sample exercises to see how they'll work for you!
Check Out 9 Core Envy Sculpting Exercise Videos!
It might come as a surprise that a core strengthening program does NOT include crunches! In this video, exercise physiologist Allison Westfahl shares why her Core Envy program gives you permission to stop doing crunches -- forever!
Why There Are No Crunches in the Core Envy Program
For the Core Envy program to work, you will need to create a caloric deficit that leads to weight loss in addition to toning your core muscles. By choosing highly nutritious foods, you can get more out of every sculpting and cardio session and see the results in the mirror.
I’ve prepared some tips that will make your Core Envy diet even easier:
#1 Eat Core Envy Foods: Core Envy offers recipes and a meal plan that rely on nutritious, affordable foods that are easy to find at home or on the go—in fact, most of the Core Envy foods are readily available on restaurant menus. Of course there are countless foods that could help you achieve your goal, but by narrowing the field, I hope to make this diet less daunting and streamline the process of calorie counting. If you stick with the Core Envy foods, you can save yourself the time and trouble of hunting down nutritional information and more easily hit your daily calorie goals.
#2 Eat on Time: In my sample Core Envy meal plans, I have laid out options for three meals and two snacks each day. You’ll see that there are no guidelines around when you eat these meals and snacks—at the end of the day, it comes down to calories in versus calories out. You can consume them whenever you like. That being said, most people (me included!) enjoy eating every 3–4 hours, and by eating small portions on a regular basis, you are more likely to avoid that “starving” feeling at the end of the day that often leads us to make poor dietary choices. No matter when you choose to eat, the key to a healthy, successful diet is planning. If you don’t know where and how you’re getting your next meal or snack, you run the risk of grabbing something convenient and unhealthy.
#3 Core Envy Offers 100-Calorie Portions: For each of the foods, I have specified a portion that is equivalent to 100 calories. Thinking of your diet in 100-calorie portions makes it much easier to keep track of your calories for the day.
#4: Drink Plenty of Water! To have a lean body, you need to eat healthy foods in the right quantities, but you also need to be well-hydrated. In order to ensure adequate hydration, you should aim for a number of ounces that is half the number of pounds of your body weight each day (for example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces per day). If you sweat a lot during your workouts, you will need to drink even more to replace that loss in water. A general rule is to add 20 ounces for each hour of intense workout.
#5 Keep a Food Journal: Be honest about what and how much you’re eating. If you grab a few M&Ms from your colleague’s candy bowl, write it down. To help guide you in keeping track of your daily calories, I’ve created a Core Envy log in the book that makes it easy to check off the baseline requirements and fill in the rest of the day’s calories. Review the sample that follows and use the method that works best for you. At the end of every week, check your measurements. There’s a chart for tracking your body composition and waist, hip, and belly-button measurements (page 188). It might take a few weeks for your waistline to begin to tell the story of how hard you’ve been working. Be warned that if you lie in your food journal, your weekly measurements will deliver the hard truth.
#6 You Can Cheat and Still Win: You might be wondering if there’s room for the occasional indulgence—a small piece of chocolate, a glass of wine, anything at all? In fact, I encourage you to enjoy “cheating” once a week. I don’t believe in following a diet protocol that is so rigid that there is literally no room for error; this is dangerous both physically and mentally. You need to have a plan that is sustainable on a daily basis and that you can adhere to for the long term, not just a crash weight-loss program that is too extreme to follow for more than a few days. For these reasons, I want you to have the luxury of looking forward to a little indulgence once a week, knowing that you have worked hard to earn it.
There’s just one caveat—if you overdo it on your cheat meal, you could ruin all the progress you made in the previous six days. If this sounds overly dramatic or calorically impossible, think about the cheat meals that you have enjoyed in the past. Based on both my own failed diet attempts and those of my clients, it could look something like this:
- Basket of warm bread with butter or olive oil on every slice (500–700 calories)
- 3 pieces of sausage-and-mushroom pizza with thick crust (800–1,000 calories)
- 3 glasses of red wine, 6 ounces each (450 calories)
- Large piece of cheesecake with whipped cream (1,000–1,200 calories)
If you were to eat all of this in one sitting, it would add up to as much as 3,350 calories! If a daily 500-calorie deficit is the goal, that amounts to a 3,500-calorie deficit each week. Our hypothetical cheat meal is dangerously close to 3,500 calories, effectively zeroing out the caloric restriction that you worked so hard to create.
I’ve seen cheat meals sabotage progress more times than I can count. To avoid this scenario, cash in your weekly cheat for a single food, not an entire meal. This means your cheat will consist of a couple hundred calories rather than a couple thousand. Stay focused on obtaining an enviable core, and don’t let the concept of a cheat meal equate to a carte blanche for consumption.
This post is from Core Envy by Allison Westfahl.
Allison 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.