There is a lot of conflicting information about whether or not you should train your abs in order to get abs. In the past even I have been skeptical of ab exercises as many of them come with the risk of injuring your lower back, and I believed that abs were purely made in the kitchen.
For the month of February I have been giving abs workouts a try. I recently really got into Sarah's Day on YouTube and got some serious ab-envy from her. She's had a baby in the last 9 months and has managed to get her old body back in a healthy and gradual way and so I wanted to know how she did it.
In a recent video (linked below) she was preparing for a photoshoot to launch her new swimwear with White Fox Boutique, an Australian brand that she has worked with in the past. She eats very well, so making her abs in the kitchen is definitely something she supports by choosing to eat only foods that support healthy hormones and digestion.
The day before her shoot she also did a full on abs/core workout. Within the workout were 7 or 8 ab focused exercises. I really liked how she said that she didn't want to just bust out a bunch of reps, but instead she wanted to take her time, focus on breathing, and making sure she really feels the exercise as it was intended.
I just really loved the simplicity of it. So I decided that I would also try to incorporate more ab workouts into my program. Me being me I made it a 6 day program, with 3 ab days and ab exercises on my legs and upper body workouts. I am going to tailor this program down to a 3-day program that is more accessible to people and more realistic for normal people's schedules.
Do I think that training abs is necessary to get abs? Sort of.
I think like any other muscle in the body if you want it to get stronger you need to train that muscle. Will doing 100 sit ups a day melt away the fatty tissue on your belly? No, but it will give you something to reveal when diet, inflammation, hydration, and all of your other training comes together.
For many people, January starts off hot and heavy. There's excitement and motivation and a real drive to make the new year the best one ever.
I have had so many of these. With the climate in Ottawa, where I have been living for more of my life, January is cold. Cold, windy, icy, and many people spend the month complaining (I have been one of them).
Why this year is different
This year I didn't start the year with a glass of wine, or with friends, or celebrating in any way. I was wrapped up in bed, timing my antibiotics, and making it through many, many episodes of Netflix. I was really sick, and it was easily a sickness I could have avoided had I acted more responsibly.
This was a wake up call. I started the new year and the new decade alone and very aware of the consequences of my poor choices. But, in the spirit of being an eternal optimist and always seeking the positive in the situation, I looked at this as an opportunity. This was my chance to actually take control of my life.
No more self pity.
No more doubting myself.
Just real change.
So I started reading. I started listening to podcasts. I got really focused on what areas of my life need improvement and how exactly I was going to fix them.
This is why I decided to focus on habits. Habits are at the root of many of my faults and if I want to change something, my usual and more successful course of action is to research the heck out of it and "get to know my opponent."
What I have done to change my ways
I read about about habits, called The Power of Habits. I read about finding my "why", by Simon Sinek, called "Start with Why". I have recently finished a book call "The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" by T. Harv Eker that taught me about ambition, and the importance of money management and pursuing your passion.
All of these books have brought up a lot of baggage that I was carrying around. I was allowing that baggage to weigh me down. Once I addressed it and realized that the baggage was a learning opportunity, and also a guiding light to what I actually believe in, I began to believe in myself.
When we grow up we are all born with a little personality. That personality is then influenced and developed by our environments and the experiences we have throughout life. What I have learned is that there are aspects of my personality that I have allowed other people to dim.
I have always had wild/big ideas. I have always wanted to pursue the most extreme goals. When I wanted to be a photographer, I didn't want to be just any photographer, I wanted to work for National Geographic taking pictures of animals in the wild. When I wanted to study climate change, I didn't just want to do research projects, I wanted to save the world from global warming.
I am not a small goals type of person. I have also never particularly enjoyed working for other people. I would always tell my managers at a new job, "I start off quiet but that's just because i'm trying to figure out how I can make my job as efficient as possible." Essentially I was just trying to make the job work my way, instead of how they had always done it.
When I was given my business registration number in the early days of my personal training career it sort of felt like the door was opened to me. I could actually start seeing myself as an entrepreneur.
So this year I am laser focused on improving myself. I know have areas of my life that I have been neglecting and if I let them go on any longer I could be in big trouble.
While I continue to grow and improve, I have a long list of items that I want to deliver to you! These are things that I have been wanting to do for ages but my self-doubt always held me back. I am working on getting rid of that self-doubt and so you will be seeing a lot more of me online, sharing what I love doing, and hopefully achieving my original goal: to motivate, educate, and inspire. This was my original bio when I first started my fitstagram and it reminds me of why I started this in the first place.
My hope for this year is that I engage a community of friends and family and help them feel better educated in the area of health and fitness. I want each of you to feel like you have a place to go where you can find great workouts, relevant and useful information, and a whole heck of a lot of support.
This is the dream and it has become very clear to me. I think that's why January has been so good to me. I feel focused. I feel purposeful. Every day I believe in myself and my vision more and more. There's no better feeling than that.
Here's to February being just as great!
Do something good for your today, friends!
Riri's Discoveries blog documents Riri's discoveries as she develops her skills as a marketer, and finds new and sustainable ways to stay healthy.