I have two serious addictions.
Chapstick is the first.
Music is the second.
However enervating and extremely inconvenient my chapstick addiction is, it is currently not the least bit important.
My addiction to music is, however.
I pump tunes when I'm at home, when I'm driving, when I'm sad, when I'm happy, and most importantly when I'm at the gym.
Some songs work better than others on the motivational spectrum, it’s just a fact. So here we go! *CRINKLE OF THE ENVELOPE* The booty-motivating, super sassy songs of this week are "Crazy Bitch" by Buckcherry and "Burn It To The Ground" by Nickelback. *AND THE CROWD GOES WILD*
Disclaimer: While the first song is extremely insulting to the feminist in me, and the second heartily promotes rowdy behavior and excessive drinking, they are darn handy songs to have in those last few minutes of cardio when I feel as if I'm going to puke. So download, load, and listen, ladies!
On to the more important business of the day: Abs, abs, abs. The source of core strength and one of the single most challenging areas for me to tone. From what I've heard, I'm not alone. We women seem to struggle with the love handles and the dreaded pooch more than our male counterparts or the 1% of women who walk the runways. I watch T.V or I flip open a magazine and I wonder, "How the heck does Heidi do it?"
When I started working with Renee I mentioned this very quandary. “What's the best way to strengthen my core and tone my stomach?” Well ladies, forget the hassle and endless repetitions of "conventional" crunches, here's what I got. It requires a little floor space and a small squishy exercise ball. If one isn't available go to your local Target and grab a kids ball of the same size. Not only is it funnier, but it will work just as well.
The goal with this exercise is slow, controlled movements that engage your core and tone the whole stomach--NOT endless repetitions. Prepare yourself, take it slow, and you'll feel it.
1. Place the ball behind your back (I usually place it at the base of my ribcage), engaging your core so that the ball is not supporting your full weight. Inhale.
2. On the exhale, pull your bellybutton to your spine and crunch those abs, pulling yourself up, towards the wall in front of you. Think about engaging every muscle in that stomach. Physically thinking about it will actively work the muscles.
3. Inhale, and lower back down. Keep those muscles engaged so you aren't relying on the ball.
(Aim for 10-12 reps)
To increase the difficulty, try this:
1. Place the ball behind your back and engage that core. Inhale.
2. Exhale. As you pull your bellybutton to your spine and crunch up, keep your knee bent in a 90*angle and lift your leg.
3. As you inhale and lower your core back towards the floor, lower your leg back to the floor.
4. Repeat with the other leg.
(Aim for 10-12 reps)
Take it slow and really think about the muscles you want to tone in the lower stomach. Take it easy the first time around and readjust if it feels as if it's putting too much stress on your lower back.
So, next time you're at the gym pop those iPOD buds in, grab your squishy ball, and work those core muscles! You'll be well on your way to a stronger, toned, Heidi stomach in no time!
Your Wicked Workout Partner,