Are You Working Your Inner Core?

 

Many of us have spent a lot of time in the gym doing crunches or have purchased Ab workout videos that we have seen late at night on t.v. Everyone has washboard stomachs and we drool over having one of our very own. What we don't know is that even though they look strong and powerful, underneath their outer appearance is a very weak inner core. The CORE is divided into two categories: 1. The Stabilization System and 2. The Movement System. The Stabilization System are the muscles that stabilize the lumbar-pelvic-hip complex  and the Movement System are the muscles that move our trunk. Why strengthen those inner core muscles?

 

1. It is where our center of gravity is. If it is weak than it affects our whole center of gravity not to mention how all of our other muscles inner relate.

2. Having a weak inner core and a strong outer core causes imbalances and is compared to building a house without a foundation.

3. Doing traditional ab exercises without strengthening these inner muscles has been shown to increase pressure on the discs and compress the lumbar spine, causing Low Back Pain.

4. I find that it also helps to cinch in the waistline which for us moms is very welcome.

 

To get started, you first need to learn to do the Drawing-in Maneuver. You will hear me say this a lot. "Draw your belly button into your spine". Because the core-stabilization system is made up of primarily slow-twitch fibers which means they grow stronger when you create tension for a certain amount of time (6-20 seconds), the drawing-in maneuver works well to strengthen those inner muscles. Here is the Drawing-in Maneuver explained as well as two exercises to start strengthening you inner core muscles:

 

DRAWING-IN MANEUVER - The best way to learn this is to get on all fours. Your knees should be shoulder width apart. Pull the region just below your belly button towards your spine. Now that you have mastered that, remember to do this while you do each exercises.

 

 

TWO LEG FLOOR BRIDGE

 Lie face up on the floor with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Toes should be shoulder width apart. Place your arms to the side, palms facing down. Pull your belly button into your spine, squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off the floor until they are in line with your knees and shoulders. Hold for 20-30 sec. and slowly lower to the floor. Repeat.

 

 

 

PRONE ISO ABS 

Lie face down on the floor. Feet are shoulder width apart. Elbows are on the ground. Draw your abs in and squeeze your glutes. Lift your body off the ground until it forms a straight line from your head to your toes. Your weight should be on your forearms and toes. Hold it for 20-30 sec. Repeat.

 

 

Do these exercises to start building your solid foundation and get the whole package... you can have your "ripped" abs and a strong inner core at the same time. Cheers to that Stabilization System.

 

 

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I Married a Lover of Cheese

 

Often, it can be tricky because we are balancing the tastes of our husband and children when we decide what we are cooking in our homes. I thought this would be a great topic because I think a lot of us can relate to this. More than not, we want to eat well, but our children and/or husband may not like what we need to eat to stay healthy.

 

Before I got married I thought of Food as Fuel. I ate a lot of salmon and miso soup, rice and veggies. I rarely bought junk food...and then I fell hopelessly in love with a cheese lover. I loved cheese, too, but knew it was bad, bad, bad! I was late to get married in life and was just so head over heals that I had this Donna Reed fantasy of making him his favorite foods and being the perfect homemaker. I am not kidding you, we had cheese melted on everything. Pasta, white bread, cheese, cheese and more CHEESE and no vegetables! This is coming from a woman who would look up which vegetables had the most nutritious value and buy them...brussel sprouts and all.

 

I was training at the time, but slowly saw my weight go up 5 lbs. Eating was one of the ways we connected. I just remember going out to a restaurant and we would get a big "cheesy" smile on our face when we saw the waiter bring out our cheesy pasta. I laugh now at the "honeymoon" stage. I soon got pregnant and stepped away from training and put on 60 lbs by the end of my pregnancy. Can any of you relate?

 

I mention in my site that we set the tone in our homes. I was not leading in my home and using what I knew to impact us in a healthy way because I was too afraid of being the party pooper. After several melt downs on my end after shopping for jeans he, too, realized our way of eating was hurting both of us. It was then that we started tracking our calories. (I recommend this as a form of accountability.)  As our daughter grew into her picky eating stage I,again, felt our eating challenged. She liked the same foods as her daddy! A lot of us have this challenge and often find ourselves feeding them what they will eat...chicken nuggets, cheese burgers, pizza, "fwench fwies" as my daughter says. I looked at her one day and had this realization that I was teaching her to eat horribly. That as a grown women she might struggle with her eating. I owed it to her to do right by her.

 

I started implementing making what was healthy and went through a month or two of battles with my kids , but soon they caved and I won. Today, we set out a veggie tray before and during dinner with english cucumbers, baby carrots and peppers and my kids eat them like candy. I realize now that they were open, but I was just not giving them the choice to eat healthy.

 

By taking charge and doing what I needed to do, my family followed my lead. Do any of you have this struggle? Have any of you conquered this area in your family? Please share with us. We want to hear from you.

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Perseverance, Character, Hope

"Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." - Romans 5:3-4 came to mind tonight as I was taking a break to collect myself. Taking on this project and all the work that goes into it and all the other fitness sites out there was starting to plague my mind and I started to have a sinking feeling. It was then that verse came to me and I just sat there thinking of how it applies to my situation.

I was reminded of my experiences running. It did not come natural to me. In fact, I had to learn how to run. Every step was a challenge, but I did it minute by minute and kept trying again and again until I could run 30 minutes straight. With every step I got more confident and soon realized that it was not my body holding me back but my mind. I had victory through perseverance and it led to hope. Now I can honestly say I like to do it.

How can something so simple as exercise bring victory? Just like tonight, the memories of past successes and pushing through every run makes me feel I can push through this current obstacle. It is a tool I am able to pull out of my tool box when I need an extra boost. There is something to be said about conquering your flesh and not letting it control you.

My hope is that through taking small steps you can gain confidence. Fitness is a journey and if you push through little by little you can reach those goals. You will also have amazing tools when you are having a down moment. Take it out like I did tonight and say, "No. I can do this because I was able to do that." Trust me, it works.

For those that are even having a down moment with exercise, you can do it. Don't give up and just try again. Have grace for yourself and you will always be moving forward...just keep moving.

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