By Shannon Miller, Olympic Gold Medalist & founder of Shannon Miller Lifestyle: Health and Fitness for Women
We all want to have great abs but there’s no need to give up chocolate or live in the gym to see serious results. Whether your breaking out your bikini for the summer, toning up after the holidays or (like me) trying to fit into my clothes post baby there are a few simple tips that can make all the difference.
FIND BALANCE: I don’t like to ever use the word “diet.” Finding and maintaining a healthy weight is all about creating a lifestyle you can live with, not a rigid plan you have to suffer through. Here are a couple of my favorite rules:
Do Not Skip Meals. Eating 6 smaller meals a day can guard against hunger pangs and keep your energy up throughout the day.
Everything In Moderation. Indulge in your favorite treat once in awhile. However, watch out for the frequency and the quantity.
GET ACTIVE: Fit exercise into your personal schedule and lifestyle. If possible try to work out earlier in the day so you have fewer excuses to skip it. Set your goal for a minimum of 30 minutes 5-6 per week. And remember, it doesn’t have to be a 30 minute block of time to be productive (10 minutes of yoga in the morning, a 10 minute walk on your lunch break and 10 minutes of strength training in the evening is a great start). Pull from cardio, strength and flexibility to balance out your workout week.
FOCUS ON YOUR CORE: There is no need to live in the gym to get results. One of my favorite tricks to a great abdominal workout is using them throughout the day. Sit or stand with good posture, pull your belly button toward your spine and squeeze. Do that while you are sitting at your desk, in the car or on line at the grocery store. Get in the habit and you’ll notice the difference.
A strong core improved your balance and posture, protects against spine and back injury and trims and tones your waistline. In addition, here are a couple of my favorite moves from my Shannon Miller Abs To-Go book:
Single Leg Crunch
1. Begin in Plank with hands shoulder width apart.
2. Keep your upper body stable and raise your left leg several inches.
3. Bring your left knee toward your right elbow, squeezing your upper abs and obliques. Hold.
4. Slowly return your leg to the floor. Repeat on other side.
Rock and Role with Twist
1. Place palms on the floor, shoulder width apart.
2. Place the top of one foot on top of a firm ball, then the other.
3. Begin in a “push up” position with shoulders stacked directly above your hands.
4. Use your lower abs and obliques to pull your knees toward your right elbow. Hold.
5. Slowly extend legs to the start position, hold and repeat on other side.