Do you have areas that you wish were more toned, smaller or more defined? We all do. I do. We all seem to look in the mirror and see only these areas. “If I could just get rid of this (pinching off the so called muffin top)” Let’s tackle em’.
But first, I would like you to take a second to think about this in a few different ways.
1. Do you understand that it is not possible to change the appearance of your body by just strengthening the muscles. Fat must be burned off to reveal strengthened muscles. Therefore, all the crunches in the world are not going to give you a 6pack. Repeat that again! Diet, cardiovascular exercise, strength training, age, genetics, and overall heath, and health history are all going to contribute to the look of your body. Think about it as a whole package deal to decrease body fat, strengthen and tone, and feel good!
2. So that being said; is your goal realistic?
3. Are you trying to look like someone who is not even close to your body type? Some of our bodies are not capable of looking like Beyonce or the extreme opposite might be Carmen Diaz. Do you see what I mean? It might be good to look back and find a picture of you at a size that you felt good at. STOP COMPARING YOUR SELF TO OTHER WOMEN! You are beautiful and it’s about getting healthy, strong, and looking good in your body, not like someone else.
4. Are you decreasing fat in other areas? The body does not always lose it in the places we want first. However, eventually it does have to go from somewhere. So maybe it’s just a matter of hanging in there.
5. Is this area truthfully not as strong as could be?
This is where I’d like to give you exercises that you can do to target a real “Trouble Zone”. To me this is an area that is either not strong or not properly activating so that you can perform well on other exercises.
Do you know the areas of your body that are not as strong?
Does your lower back curve more than normal?
Do your shoulders round forward?
Do you feel your gluteus maximus and medius (Butt Muscles) when you squat or lunge?
This is sometimes a sign that your abdominal muscles and your glutes are weak or not properly firing.
This can make you not as strong when you do planks or when you do exercises such as lunges and squats. These exercises are critical to your strength routine. So what can you do? One way to figure this out is just to Take a look.
If your lower back curve looks a bit like the picture than it is quite possible that your abdominal muscles are not as strong as they could be and/or your glutes are not working properly.
Try this exercise: The Wall Crunch
It looks easy. But if you do it right, it’s tough!
Gently press your hands into the wall.
Tilt your hips so that your lower back is moving towards the floor and your belly button is pulling toward your spine. Abs intensely contracted.
Slowly extend one leg at a time. Try for 30 of these.
You should not be able to talk if you are doing it right.
In addition to strengthening your abs, your glutes will also help you to tilt your pelvis. This will not only improve the appearance of your body but strong butt muscles also help you perform better when you do lunges and squats and we all know (or should) that they are the best exercises for burning calories and strengthening the lower body!
Place your feet onto a chair. (notice the 90 degree angle)
Push your hips up and squeeze your glutes (butt muscles)
You can make this harder by doing one leg at a time or easier by placing feet on the floor.
So what about those shoulders? Are they rounding forward? Probably! 90% of the people that come to me do this.
It doesn’t look nice, it’s horrible for your shoulder health and it makes many exercises harder; push ups, overhead press…
The Band Buster:
Hold the band with palms up.
Without bending your elbows, pull out until your hands are almost out to shoulders.
Squeeze your shoulder blades down and together.
Feel how beautiful your posture is after this exercise!
Do these exercises 2-3 times a week, 2-3 sets each to improve your trouble zones. You may also want to check out my article on foam rolling. Tight muscles are another factor to consider. This will have to be the topic of another blog.
Keep that whole realistic picture in your mind throughout the week so that you can start seeing the body that you want!
What you put into your mouth, how often you move, how much sleep, how stressed you are….you know what I’m saying.