Core Training Secrets
It seems that you can’t walk through a gym these days without the term “core” landing on your ear. Likewise, infomercial products routinely promise to tighten, trim, and tone your “core” and even magazine headlines boast ‘Secrets to an Envious Core’.
So what is all the hype about “core” training? And – more importantly – why should you care?
Since the fitness industry is notorious for going through crazes (remember jazzercise in the 80’s and kickboxing in the 90’s) it’s understandable for you to be skeptical of the latest fad. However, I have news for you.
Core training is definitely worth your time.
In fact, training your core will result in tremendous benefits in a relatively short amount of time. This is because a strong core improves your posture, decreases your chance of injury, increases your power and functionality, and gives you a great-looking lean midsection.
Core training is rapidly gaining popularity for one specific reason: sitting leads to a weak core. Sitting? Yep, sitting.
Think about your typical work day. If you are like most people then your day starts with a 30-60 minute drive to work, followed by 8 hours at your desk and then another 30-60 minute drive home. That’s a lot of sitting. And it all adds up to one thing: a weak core.
What is Core Training?
The term “core” refers to the muscles of your abdominals and those of your lower back. If you picture your body and then aim for the very center you would be looking directly at your core. The muscles that make up the core play a unique role since they provide stabilization for your entire body.
Core training seeks to strengthen the muscles of your abdominal and lower back using coordinated movement. A strong focus is put on contracting your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button in toward your spine throughout the exercises to ensure that your core muscles are engaged.
What are the risks of a weak Core?
Unfortunately many ailments stem from having weak core muscles. You may be personally acquainted with the most common ailment…lower back pain. Other problems include poor posture, being injury prone, having minimal strength and (drum roll please) a bulging waistline.
If you are suffering from a weak core then read on…
What are the benefits of a strong Core?
Alleviating persistent back pain is one of the most welcomed benefits of a strong core. An increase in strength and protection from injury are also nice, and who doesn’t love to lose inches from their waist as a result of tightened muscle?
Everyday motions such as lifting, squatting, reaching, twisting and bending will become less challenging after strengthening your core. While you may not immediately see the value in this, remember that it is better to be safe than sorry – who really wants to throw out their back while taking out the trash? I sure don’t…
How can I strengthen my Core?
A great place to start is to practice the technique mentioned earlier – pull your belly button in toward your spine, not by simply sucking in your gut, but by contracting your abdominals. Do you feel it? Good. Now make it a habit to do this exercise while you sit. Like on the drive to work…at work…on the drive home – you get the idea.
It doesn’t stop there – you also want to routinely exercise the muscles of your abdominals and lower back. This can be done by performing exercises that target these specific areas such as crunches and bridges.
If your interest has been roused and you want to lean more about core training, then give me a call! I work around the clock to bring fitness into the lives of my clients, and I want to help you too. Contact me now, and let’s get to work on reshaping your body – starting with your core.
On The Side, Please…
Make it a habit to order creamy or rich dressings on the side. This lets you enjoy your favorite tastes, but also gives you the ability to enjoy them in moderation. Dip instead of pour, and save yourself a boatload of calories!
Lemon Chiffon Dessert
Mmmm, who doesn’t love creamy lemon chiffon? This unique take on the beloved dessert has dropped the fat content to only 2 grams and has increased the protein to 11 grams per serving. That is reason to celebrate—pass the chiffon, please.
Yield: 6 servings
- 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- 1-1/4 cups cold water, divided
- 1-1/3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
- 2-1/2 teaspoons unsweetened lemon soft drink mix (like KOOL-AID)
- 3 to 4 drops yellow food coloring, optional
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup reduced-fat cottage cheese
- 1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs
- Fat free whipped topping
- In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water; let stand for 1 minute. Cook and stir over low heat until gelatin is completely dissolved; set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the milk powder, drink mix, food coloring if desired, salt and remaining water; beat on high speed until smooth.
- Place the cottage cheese in a blender or food processor; cover and process until smooth. Add milk mixture and gelatin; cover and process until thickened.
- Spoon 1/2 cup each into six 6-oz. custard cups. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Spread with whipped topping; sprinkle with cracker crumbs.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals 118 calories, 2g fat, 12g carbohydrate & 11g protein.