Why an abs challenge during a month that leads into the busiest of holiday seasons?
Well, why not?
I honestly can’t think of a better time of the year to host an abs challenge right when we’re starting to become slightly more sedentary (um, hello! no more sun after 5:30pm) and eat a bit more indulgent foods (I heart Christmas cookies).
So this week we start a 30 day journey to eat a bit cleaner and get a bit leaner. No reason to wait for New Year’s and waste 2 perfectly good months!
Each week you will find a “nutrition focus”, and each week the nutrition bits will build upon the other. Therefore, write them down, take note, and use the week to learn more and get better at incorporating each of the new trends.
This week’s focus is on “WHOLE FOODS”
Why whole foods? Well it’s simple, chemicals, preservatives (think salt), and added sugars can help you pack on pounds and also add to bloating. For this week and throughout the abs challenge, keep 90% of the foods you eat whole foods. Meaning, reduce eating out or ask how foods are prepared to see if there are added sauces or salt. If it’s in a bag, box, or can and has more than 7 ingredients, you might want to re-think. Bagged veggies do not apply to this rule 😉
RECIPES FOR YOUR WHOLE FOODS FOCUS
Here are a few typical whole foods I keep in my fridge and kitchen:
- Grape tomatoes
- Salad mix
- Greek yogurt – plain
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Brown Rice
- Almond milk
NUTRITION CHALLENGE: For the first day – today, MONDAY! – I recommend starting to write down the foods you’re eating. I really like the MyFitnessPal app for this. Don’t change anything just yet. Write it down. Then tonight, come home and take a look at it. Circle anything that wasn’t prepared by you or was a packaged/processed food. If it’s more than 10% of your intake, start to brainstorm what types of whole foods could replace those for the rest of the month. Do this each day until you feel like you’re in a rhythm with eating 90% whole foods.
I’m sure you’re wondering what type of exercises I’m going to give you to train your core and get that 6 pack – right?! RIght!?
Well, actually this week’s Fitness Focus won’t be on crunches, planks, or sit ups. Prepare yourself. Take a deep breath…. I’m suggesting interval training!
Yes, interval training. As in, cardio. Sorry, I’m not sorry.
Why interval training? This type of cardio is great for overall fat loss and when we’re aiming for abs, we need to burn the outer layer of fat to reveal all that hard work you put into sit ups, pushups, and crunches. You stayin’ with me here? So with the first week, we’re going to start turning our bodies into lean mean fat burning machines!
FITNESS CHALLENGE: Include 2 days of interval training this week. Because intervals are short bursts of high intensity effort, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on each workout. Think something closer to 15 – 20 minutes versus 30 – 60. Even better right?
Here’s your first interval training workout (I’ll introduce the 2nd on Wednesday – stay tuned). You won’t need any equipment, just your body and a 6 foot x 6 foot space to move around.
Warm up – 5 minutes in total with 1 minute each of jogging in place, jumping jacks, butt kicks, lunges, and air squats.
Workout – 10 minutes
- 45 seconds jump squats/90 seconds recovery (jog in place, air squats, or just walk in place)
- 45 seconds burpees/90 seconds recovery
- 45 seconds high knees/ 90 seconds recovery
- 45 seconds jump lunges/90 seconds recovery
- 45 seconds star jumps/90 seconds recovery
Cool down – 5 minutes, 1 minute jog in place, 1 min air squats, 3 minutes of full body stretching
WEEK 1 PREVIEW
What can you expect the rest of the week? On Wednesday I’ll be giving you another interval training workout. I recommend doing your two sessions with at least 1 day between. Get excited!!!
I’ll also be sharing some more of my favorite whole foods and a recipe.
Last, you’ll get 3 abs exercises on Friday to start targeting your core. Just like you wouldn’t train biceps every day of the week, you want to train your abs only 1 to 2 times per week. Heather and I will show you how!
What are your favorite abdominal exercises?