The Vie Challenge for March 2018 is an “Abs Challenge”, in which we encourage you to take a greater look at what goes on in your kitchen to refine your abdominal section and core strength. Not everyone wants bulging abdominal muscles and not everyone wants a perfectly flat stomach, and guess what? That’s perfectly okay! What we’re more concerned about? Helping and encouraging you to be happier with your body while actually enjoying the process of becoming healthier.
What exactly makes ‘abs’ in the first place and why is core strength important, especially for women? Are abs really made in the kitchen? Is working out alone enough to outwork a bad diet? Questions like these and more will be addressed in the following; we hope you enjoy!
Belly Fluff is Serious Stuff
One of the biggest troubles with abdominal belly fluff is that extra layer of padding located deep inside the abdomen that surrounds your internal organs. Subcutaneous fat is the type that provides us with visual and cosmetic concerns while visceral fat is linked to more dangerous health risks, especially in women, including cholesterol issues, breathing problems, Type II Diabetes, Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure. Reducing overall body fat and increasing lean muscle mass can improve both subcutaneous and visceral ‘fluff’ leading to a more positive self-image and a healthier body. But working out alone won’t do the trick and neither will just a healthy diet. Together, both Vie Workouts and a Nutritious Diet, work together to help you achieve this month’s “Ab Challenge”.
Question: Are abs really made in the kitchen?
Answer: Yes, you cannot outwork a poor nutritional lifestyle.
While genetics can play a big part in determining the insertions and muscular shape of your actual abdominal muscles, your strength, muscularity, and size of your muscles are determined by your body fat percentage, nutritional lifestyle, and your muscularity. Nutrition plays the biggest piece of building a strong and healthy midsection rather than ab workouts and 800 crunches (please note, we don’t encourage 800 crunches in a session).
Where is this Kitchen That People Say Makes Abs?
It’s in your own house, silly goose! While your Vie Workouts are going to ultimately help you become stronger and to develop muscles you may have never even known existed, you have to do the other 80% of the work at home on your own, in the kitchen.
There are certain foods that are more prone to increase overall body fat as compared to others. Carbohydrates aren’t created equally, unfortunately, and they happen to play a big role in getting the results you want from your fitness (or don’t want, for that matter). Simple carbohydrates (think sugars) cause your blood sugar to spike. When blood sugar spikes, your pancreas releases insulin pushing the majority of glucose out of the blood and into muscle and fat cells where it is stored (eek!).
When you have imbalanced cholesterol levels (mentioned above) those extra sugars from simple carbs are stored as fat (often in the abdominal/gut area). We encourage incorporating complex carbohydrates that provide both macro- and micro-nutrients into your diet (think fruit, whole grains, vegetables) instead of simple carbohydrates (think processed and sugary foods).
Question: Is there a special diet that I have to follow to get abs?
Answer: Not exactly. What you eat does have a direct impact on your overall body fat, we encourage incorporating foods that will promote a healthy weight and muscular build rather than those that promote fat gain and storage. We’ll go over some of these towards the end of this article.
Aren’t I Burning Enough Fat During My Vie Workouts to Have Abs?
Not quite… if you’re burning fat during your workouts only to go home and eat foods that promote fat gain and not lean muscle mass, then you’re right back where you started before you worked out. Some foods promote fat gain while others can actually help you lose fat. Foods that are high in protein stimulate your metabolism – you actually gain the ability to burn more calories to digest and absorb protein. Sugars, on the other hand, do the opposite. This is referred to as the ‘thermic effect’. Protein has a high thermic effect and sugars have a very low thermic effect.
Question: If I spot target my abs I should have abs, which makes me think, why don’t I already have a flat stomach and abs if I workout a lot?
Answer: Because it doesn’t work this way. You cannot spot train your way to prominent abdominal muscles. Just like every other muscle in our body, they’re covered by a layer of body fat. The higher the body fat, the lower the muscular visibility is and vice-versa. You can do 1000 crunches every day and not see a difference in your abs (other than strength). If you’re not willing to make differences in your nutritional lifestyle that promote overall body fat reduction, you’re not going to see any prominent difference in the appearance of your abdominal area.
Good news! For most women, a ‘flatter’ stomach may begin to appear in the 15% – 20% body fat range, which is actually higher than percentages generally found in men (~10% body fat for visibility).
SPRING AB CHALLENGE: You Cannot Have One Without the Other
Vie Workouts supplement abs and a nutritional lifestyle supplement abs. Do you see the correlation? You’re going to need both in order to achieve improved overall health, a flatter stomach, and better core strength. While the two are completely different from each other, they’re inseparable when it comes to building yourself and your goals.
Vie Workouts Will:
Help you gain lean muscle mass and in turn make you a stronger individual (mentally and physically ). Working out at Vie will not only help you make the most of your healthy nutrition but it will also encourage you to burn calories and carbs in a more productive and healthy way while providing you the energy required to get through the workout, repair and recover adequately.
A Healthier Nutritional Lifestyle Will:
Help you lose overall body fat leading to overall improved health and happiness. Remember this – the goal of your nutrition should be to feel happy and healthy before the aesthetic benefits come. Eating a more nutritious lifestyle, by reducing the intake of simple carbohydrates and trading them for complex carbohydrates, eating more fruits and vegetables, and incorporating protein into most meals, you will, in turn, lose body fat and have a more defined overall appearance (to show off those Vie muscles of course!) While ‘building muscle’ might not be your number one goal, you do need to build lean muscle mass to speed up your metabolism to in turn burn fat.
Question: Do I have to give up my favorite foods and drinks to have a healthier and happier mid-section?
Answer: Not entirely… you just have to incorporate healthier foods than not-so-healthy foods to achieve results. You’ll find what works and what doesn’t work for you. You may even find that eating all of the not-so-healthy foods doesn’t actually make you feel very good, inside and out. Small changes are key when it comes to improving your nutritional lifestyle.
|Common Foods to Lose Body Fat and Increase Lean Muscle Mass More Efficiently||
Common Foods that Make Losing Body Fat & Gaining Lean Muscle Mass More Difficult
|Meat (chicken, turkey, beef, etc.)
Fish (salmon, tuna, halibut, etc.
Vegetables (Leafy, avocados, sweet potatoes, etc.)
Nuts (almonds, soybeans, walnuts)
Apple Cider Vinegar
Oats with added sugar
There Are So Many Reasons…
Why you should strive for a healthier midsection. They include having better overall health and wellness, a flatter stomach, less bloating, a better self-image, and even some prominent abdominal muscles! Additionally, core strength contributes a lot to overall strength, so if you’ve been eyeing those pull-ups or big lifting movements, here is your starting point!
If you want to be happy, you have to be happy on purpose… if you want to lose weight, you have to have a plan in place… if you want to get stronger, you have to lift weights. The formula for success isn’t complicated, but you must be willing to put in the work, the extra thought, and be willing to go the extra mile, for none other than yourself. Small decisions every day will end up leading up to big results.
We encourage you this:
Use this month’s Ab Vie Challenge as a way to lay a foundation for the rest of the year. Make smarter choices nutritionally, show up to class consistently, and reap the benefits.
We believe in you!