Thursday, June 10, 2010

Best moves for your [drum roll]...muffin tops, love handles and obliques

Oi! The soreness! Yesterday, I worked out like four times! Not on purpose, just happened:

#1: Taught Chizel at 5:30am
#2: Practiced PiYo for launch next month at 4:00pm
#3: Taught Step n' Sculpt at 5:30pm
#4: Right after I get home from the gym, my BF is asks if I want to go rock climbing? His friend is an experienced rock climber and could coach us through the maze of rocks at The Upper Limits Gym.

Heights aside, I had an awesome time rock climbing. But after like 5 attempts to climb different walls, my arms basically gave me a big "f-you, B" for all the planks, push-ups, and weights I subjected them to throughout the day.

In case you're curious, on top of fatigue, I sucked. I failed epically, massively, and miserably. Rock climbing takes a lot of upper body strength, and even though I can do a gazillion and ten push-ups, my upper body is like a pencil compared to my tree trunk lower body. In high school, I barely passed the physical fitness test--I could not do a single pull-up. So instead, I had to do the "arm hang"--you know, where you hang with your chin above the bar for so many seconds. For some reason that is a test of fitness...but I digress. It just goes to show you that even fitness instructors aren't perfect...or necessarily the strongest...and they too can have tree trunks for legs (and be PROUD of it!) :)

Look at this, I mean, this sh*& is bananas! They had climbing areas in HUGE silos! It was a MEAN total body workout and I highly recommend it for anyone seeking a fun and challenging fitness experience (or hobby)! Just don't look down. Oh yeah, and rent the special climbing shoes. I tried doing it in my clunkin' sneakers and it was not easy. I definitely want to go back, but next time I think I'll plan ahead and preserve my strength.

On to today's topic o' choice....

The absolute, hands down #1 question I get asked as a fitness instructor is: "How do I work [points to body part]?" To which I then reply by explaining the mechanics of that part, how to tone it, and demonstrating 3-4 moves to "work" it.

I will express this time and again--you can only "work" or tone an area so much. Your body has a natural layer of fat on top of the muscle you are attempting to sculpt. The amount of body fat you have is determined by your health, but is also predetermined by genetics. Some people (such as moi!) are genetically predisposed to have a higher percentage of body fat.

(Miss Piggy and Miss B have a few things in common.)

You might not SEE visible results in this area until this body fat layer is whittled down by cardio and/or nutritional changes. Keep your expectations realistic. You must trust that you are toning and view your results and hard work as the strength and firmness that you are developing in the area---NOT as how big or small the arm/leg/abs/shoulders/etc. are physically.

That being said, the most common area I get asked about is....The obliques! (or sides, love handles, muffin tops and other names used to refer to that area)

Here are just a few of my favorite moves to work this area. Remember to proceed with these at your own risk and ALWAYS consult a doctor before starting any exercise regime.

Move #1: Side Pulls
While standing, shift the weight to one leg and keep the knee of that supporting leg soft. Reach up with the opposite hand and pull down, as if you are bringing your HIP up to MEET your ELBOW. This movement is sort of like a standing side crunch. Do 10-12 reps on one side and switch to the other side. You can repeat this exercise in as many sets as you like until you "feel the burn" (in my group fitness classes we may do up to 32-40 side pulls on each side total! OUCH!).

Move #2: Lying Side Pulls
Laying on your side, with hips stacked one on top of the other and abs drawn in, lift the top leg up. Like the standing side pulls you are bringing that HIP up to MEET your ELBOW. Do 10-12 reps on one side, flip over and repeat on the other side.

Move #3: Zig Zag
Alright, the credit for this move goes out to Chalene Johnson, the founder and fitness goddess of TurboKick. The move is used a LOT in TurboKick, but is HELLA effective.

Start with feet wide apart and toes turned out slightly. Tuck the hips under and forward. This will engage the abs. With your hands up and back straight (as if it is up against a wall), crunch to the right and then to the left. Again, you are trying to keep your shoulders flat against that imaginary wall, hips tucked under and abs engaged.

I hope these moves help you chizel those sides. Remember that the best way to avoid love handles and unsightly spillage is to WEAR PANTS THAT FIT! :) lol. If you have any other areas you'd like to see moves for, email me or leave a comment!

(Rawwwwking the No Doubt stylee)

(A few outtakes from the "photo shoot." My BF secretly wants to be a kicka** instructor like me! Don't worry--he's not hurt--just being a goonie)

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