The recipe for the perfect set of abs seems simple enough: you put yourself on a healthy balanced diet, exercise frequently and just keep being consistent until you start seeing the results.
However, life as a way of trying to get between you and your fitness goals… Your boss asks you to stay late to finish that important report, so you miss a couple of gym days. You need to get out of work early to pick up the kids from the dentist, so you just skip lunch – or worse – eat something unhealthy just because it’s fast and convenient.
In such a fast-paced world, where your plans are subject to frequent and unexpected changes, what can you do in order to make your fitness journey a constant one?
Preparation is the key. Make sure you always have a backup plan.
Time constraints force you to have lunch at your desk a couple of days a week? Start meal prepping. Make a meal plan and reserve some time to cook your food for the whole week. You can then freeze it and just take it out as you need to.
Your work schedule is getting in the way of your workout routine? The good news is you don’t always need to rush to the gym. If you are sparse on time, just make your home your gym. There are a couple of great and effective exercises that you can to at home with little to no equipment! Don’t believe us? Well take a look at the great examples below:
The Planking Possibilities Are Endless
A great way to strengthen your core muscles – which will in turn help with the toning of your abdominal muscles – is planking. Planking is also a great way to improve your balance and flexibility. The traditional plank is easy enough: lay down on the floor (you might want to get a mat before hand), ground your toes into the floor and then support your body weight by either standing on your palms (plant them right under your shoulders) or forearms. The best thing about planking is that you can easily add some variety and difficulty levels to it: lift your leg for a couple of seconds at a time or pull your knee towards your elbow, these variations will help you build up your body strength while working various muscle groups.
Sit Up Straight For A Six Pack!
Although sit-ups and crunches are not the only way to work on your abs, when part of a balanced exercised routine they can be quite helpful, since they teach you how to work on your muscle control. If you are new to sit-ups or fear of hurting your back while working out without a personal trainer’s supervision, then try this simple arms-high partial sit-up. Lie on your back and keep your knees bent at 90 degrees. Then, raise your arms straight over your head and keep them pointing up while you sit-up halfway. Make sure to lie back down steadily, so as to not strain your back.
Roll Out Your Abs!
For this exercise you will need a Swiss ball and also a mat so you can protect your knees. Kneel on the mat and place de Swiss ball in front of you. Then, while keeping your back straight, roll the ball forward, as far away from you as you can. End the exercise by rolling back to the starting position. Remember to keep your abs tight while performing this exercise. A set of 10 rollouts is ideal, but if you are new or just getting back to exercise, no problem in aiming lower. However, if you want to add another layer of difficulty, try rolling out at a 45º angle to the left and right – this will challenge your obliques too.
For this exercise you will need a small towel, to be placed beneath your feet. Start by placing yourself in a forearm plank position and put your toes on the towel. Slide your body forward – while keeping your middle section tight – and bring your shoulders as far forward as you can, past your elbows. Finish the movement by sliding back, allowing your shoulders to shift behind elbows. Continue to move back and forth for 60 seconds, or for as long as you feel comfortable – if you are a beginner, don’t push yourself too much, so as to avoid injuries.
Squats With A Twist
Start in a standard squat position: your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your arms should be extended in front of you at shoulder height. Then begin squatting down. Bend your knees 90 degrees and twist the upper portion of your body to the left. Slowly come up and repeat the exercise to your right. Make sure to keep your weight in your heels; don’t allow your knees to move forward past your toes. While performing this exercise, keep your knees facing forward as your chest and shoulders move side to side.
Keep in mind that how hard you attack each of these exercises depends on your fitness level; don’t try to do too much, too fast. Pace yourself and gradually build up your resistance. As you progress, you can add some elements to your home gym, such as jump rope, kettle bells and dumbbells – these will add an extra layer of difficulty to your workouts, which will help you build even more muscle! Be consistent – if you are going to make your home your gym, respect the schedule you made for yourself. In the long run, that consistency will pay off in great results!