Candy season is in full swing. Candy season start at Halloween and ends with Easter. It is a horrible half year of sugar, sugar and more sugar. This sugar, when combined with holiday feasts, can end up all over your body. This is why I joke that the Jews created Passover in the spring as the first Atkins style body shock diet. It is cruel that summer and bathing suit season is right after this 6 month period of sweets, so we all must fight the good fight against the winter bulge. If you want to combat winter weight gain or allow for some sugar snacks, here's my regimen for keeping my midsection looking fit. You can also go here for even better ideas.
1. Get proper rest. Stress causes the body to retain body fat. You have to calm your mind down and get your rest for your body to act in tip top shape. If you get 5 mins of alone time in the evening, try dimming the lights and meditating. Laugh, but it works.
2. Drink water and take a multivitamin. Your body needs micronutrients and needs a way to deliver them. Plus, a stomach full with water eats fewer Santa shaped cookies.
3. Cardio. No sense in punishing yourself with sit ups, crunches and leg lifts if you have a lot of fat layered over those muscles. When women ask me about 'ab work', usually in April-May as bikini season creeps up, I always say "rock the cardio". I have a fast metabolism, for now, so I limit cardio to 10 mins after a weightlifting work out and 20-30 mins on 2 days other days. For me, that is 5 days total. If I did not lift weights, which boosts your metabolism more than a cardio session, I would do 5 sessions of 30 mins a piece.
4. Crunches-Sit ups. If done right, they can engage all 8 ab muscles. They will focus more on the top 4 muscles. I do sets of 20. Start just doing 1 set. Once easy, do 2, then 3. Once 3 sets are easy, hold a slight weight behidn your head when doing crunches. Look at the ceiling as you lift your body up.Breathe out as you crunch up, which keeps your diaphragm compressed and prevents your ab muscles form developing a bulge over the diaphragm.
5. Leg lifts. You do need to target your lower abs. No one wants a pot belly except for that annoying French girl in Pulp Fiction. If you can't get to a gym, just do leg lifts while lying on the ground. Extend your legs and lift them up, hold the lift and slowly lower them down. If you can get to a gym, use a roman chair or hang from a bar and lift your legs up and slowly lower them.
6. Planks. Sometimes I end a midsection workout by doing planks. I just hold the plank position as long as I can. I do this a few times. The Wii fit has a plank challenge. This works your lower back as well.
Just doing some of the things on this list can greatly help fight the battle of the belly bulge. At the very least, you can eat gingerbread cookies feeling a little less guilty.