Chasing the Elusive Six Pack

At this stage of my career, I feel priviledged to be still very actively involved in training, particularly with my latest project Kaizendo Fitness, a training programme I developed over the last 10 years, to facilitate both the needs of the fitness enthusiast and the adult martial artist.  A personal goal of mine, now at the age of 56 is to chase down the elusive six pack, although I would settle for four. These guidelines have served me well but I will be the first to admit, I don’t always abide by them (see my latest blog on how to stay on track with your training). We have just a few weeks until Christmas, so join me in making that bit of extra effort and don’t forget those before and after pictures. Looking forward to hearing how you get on…

GUIDELINES FOR A FLAT MID-SECTION

Chasing the Elusive Six Pack - An Article by Master Frank Murphy1. Work the entire body. The “Abs” are only part of the entire flexible group of muscles known as the midsection or “Core”. While doing ordinary crunches are good, they alone won’t achieve a complete workout. So try and include a variety of crunches that will work all the associated muscles attached to the core. For example, this can be done by doing alternative crunches (with a twist), side lateral bends, reverse crunches. Technical punching all the way out and all the way back, twisting the torso, and not bending the spine will work various parts of the core.

2. Work the abs last of all in all of your sessions, and just before the cool down is better. As too soon into the session will fatigue them and this lack of stability may lead to back injury.

3. Throughout the day maintain good posture, stand up straight and even when you’re sitting down, or driving, keep the posture upright. It is important to pay attention to your posture and abdominal shape. This sort of thing is normally emphasized in pilates (well worth studying even at a basic level if you know nothing about it). For example, pull your belly button in as you do your exercises to engage the deeper layers of the abdominal muscles which do the job of pulling you in. If you do sit ups or crunches with a bulge shaped stomach, that is the shape you will end up with, even if it is muscular.

4. Do crunches slowly rather than at a fast rate. Try counting to three on the way up, and then hold for two, then lowering again for three.

5. Do not work the abs every day, after a good session take a rest the following day.

6. Eat after your training session, because your metabolism is faster, but keep the amount you eat small.  Most of our classes are held in the evening and eating a very large meal an hour afterwards and then going to bed will be heavy on your digestion and will affect your sleep. Keep it light, have some protein to help to regenerate muscles while you sleep.

7. Watch what you’re eating, if you are overdoing the calories, the first place they’ll deposit is generally around the mid-section. Eating five smaller meals rather than the traditional three meals a day, about the size of your fist will keep your metabolism burning and your blood sugar levels stable. Eating like this prevents fat to store on your body, helps muscle recovery and will keep those hunger pangs at bay.

8. If you drink beer, try and keep it in moderation. An average pint of booze contains just under 200 empty calories. This is long associated with Irish culture and I have contributed to this social and cultural habit at various times in my younger years. If you are really serious about getting your midsection in good shape, keep the booze to a minimum. Take this point fairly serious if you are over 40 years of age, because as we age our metabolism slows down.

9. Drink Plenty Water because this is one of the most important things that you should do throughout your day. Try to drink 1.5 – 2 liters per day (and this does not include the water in your tea and coffee). Don’t just drink before training, drink during and after training. Dehydration slows down your metabolism and will also have a dramatic impact on your energy levels and performance during exercise.

Thanks again for reading and please share this with a friend or your own students if you happen to be an instructor. Once again, any feedback is most welcome, Frank Murphy

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