The Secret to Gorgeous Abs

 Ever heard the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen”?  Well it’s true, seriously!  Abdominal definition goes beyond doing a billion crunches or even just “eating healthy”.   Don’t get me wrong your abs and body very much do need at LEAST the minimum amount of daily/weekly activity recommended BUT the biggest change you can make when you are not working out is in your diet way of life.
 healthy foods
Photo via Flickr by Aria Ziai
It’s not about the amount of food you eat (within reason of course).  Nor is it about starving yourself with just smoothies or salads to reach your target weight.  Do you have a plan for after you hit that number?  How will you sustain?  This is how the vicious cycle of lose some, gain more is achieved.  To really make a difference you need to create a workable way of life that you will stick with long after bikini season comes to a close.
One of the biggest areas of impact you can have in the kitchen is the quality of food going in your mouth.  Don’t be shy, raise your hands… how many of you look at labels for the items you buy BEFORE you buy them?  That’s what I thought… the fact is most people don’t nor do they know when they do what they are looking for.  Below are just a few basic guidelines to help you avoid those bloating, artificial junk foods that call your name loudly when you are perusing the grocery aisles at your  local Target or Mariano’s etc:
Mantra in life and while grocery shopping: I have standards!
Rule 1. If it has more than 5 ingredients do NOT buy it
Rule 2. if the first 3 ingredients aren’t even related to what the items it’s a big NO (ex tomato sauce should not have #1 ingredient sugar it should be tomato, water, salt that’s about it maybe some seasoning).
Rule 3. NO yellow #5 (aka Kraft mac and cheese… switch to Annie’s brand or another alternative).  Yes may cost your family $.15 more sense but the health benefits outweigh that price.  Simple put, yellow #5 is crap and it’s been known to cause hyperactivity in children.  Yellow #5 is even in goldfish!  So not kid friendly…
Rule 4. Corn syrup, palm oil, high fructose corn syrup -is you see these ingredients ditch it they are just garbage.
Rule 5. enriched white enriched wheat enriched anything NO (this one is least of all but is a reason for belly bloat).  I think this is the hardest one as it’s really in everything.
Look for cane sugar, honey, agave as sweeteners. Corn is good too so cornmeal, corn chips, tortillas if corn not flour all good.  All natural ingredients skip the sugary enriched crap.  Lots of veggies quinoa, brown rice, lots of protein but not modified protein.
Here’s some of my favorite brands you can go to as alternatives to what you are using today:
  • Ezekiel bread products
  • Amy’s Brand
  • Annie’s
  • Rudi’s
  • Skinny Pop or Angie’s
  • Skinny Sticks (great flavors)
  • Trader Joe lentil chips…yum. Actually trader joe is a fantastic inexpensive way to eat healthy on a reasonable budget.
  • Applegate
  • Boar’s Head Natural
  • Most Kashi
  • Honest

 

These are just a few of the brands I like.  Some of your favorite brands can be still enjoyable as a lot of these companies do have less evil alternatives to the foods you love it just takes quick research in the aisle initially.  Once you find your favorites it should be easy weekly just to pick these up and add into the mix.  You and your family’s health is worth it!

 

By Kimberly Hale

 

Serious Morning Cardio/Weight Workout

Here’s a killer combo that incorporates cardio and most importantly weight training. Feel free to adjust weights and reps as fit for you keeping in mind the weight sections consists of 3 sets.  That said always consider starting out heavier you can always reduce the weight.  

5 minute warmup

  • Jog (1 minute)
  • Jumping Jacks (1 minute)
  • Side lunges (alternating for 1 minute)
  • High knees (1 minute)
  • Alternating toe touch (1 minute)

 

Workout (3 sets, 2 parts)

 

Part I

  • Jump rope (1 minute)
  • Dead lifts  with alternating leg extensions (10-12 reps, 15-30lbs)
  • Bent over chest fly (10-12 reps, 8-10lbs)
  • Concentration bicep curls alternating (10-12 reps each arm, 10-15 lbs)

 

Part II

  • Jump rope (1 minute)
  • Plank rows (20 consecutive rows each arm, 15lbs)
  • Tricep extentions (10-12 reps, 15-20lbs)
  • Hammer curls (10-12 reps, 10-15lbs)

 

Repeat above 3x

 

Part III (repeat 2x)

  • Plyo box jumps (15)
  • Stability ball crunches (20 reps holding 10lb weight)
  • Stability ball lower back extensions (12 reps)

 

Cooldown (5 minutes) – light yoga and stretches

 

Ahhh, now don’t you feel stronger already?