A weekend of binge-eating your favorite foods, and drinking sugary and alcoholic beverages may leave you feeling bloated and guilty. Certified fitness trainer and exercise physiologist of 15 years Michelle Falco shares tips and exercises to help you get healthy back and shape those abs.
Get Healthy Back
What is the best way to debloat after a weekend of unhealthy eating and drinking? “Drink plenty of water and avoid foods high in sodium and high in sugar. Stay away from starchy carbs—anything that is white. Non-starchy carbs include oatmeal and cereal with seven grams of sugar or less. If you choose carbs, try to eat them in the morning.”
What foods are great to snack on to get back on track?
“Some great snacks include natural peanut butter, vegetables, and fruit that does not have high sugar content. Avoid cherries, grapes and watermelon. Yogurt with some granola natural is great. Avoid drinks such as soda, diet soda and iced tea. Stick to water or seltzer water. Avoid eating two hours before bedtime and starchy carbs at night.”
What about after a workout?
“A good choice after your workout is a protein shake, which does not include creatine and that is no more than 25 grams of protein. Your body can only absorb 25 grams of protein at one time. Anything more will turn into fat.”
Shape Those Abs
Perform each exercise in three sets of 10-12 reps, with a 60-second rest in between.
1. Hand Slide Crunches (Focuses on Upper Abs)
1. Lay on your back with knees bent at about 90 degrees, and yours hands placed on the front of your thighs, palms down.
2. Using your abdominal muscles, crunch upward, sliding hands up thighs until your wrists meet your knees.
3. Slowly lower back to starting position.
2. “Bicycles” or Elbows-to-Knees (Focuses on Obliques)
1. Lay flat with your lower back pressed to the floor, and your hands placed on either side of your head. Bend knees at about 90 degrees and elevate your legs. Slightly lift shoulders off the ground into crunch position. Pro Tip: “Be careful as not to strain your neck during movement.”
2. Straighten your right leg as you bring the knee of your left leg toward your chest. Simultaneously bring your right elbow toward your left knee, and exhale as you crunch to the side.
3. Inhale and slowly return to starting position.
4. This time, straighten your left leg as you bring the knee of your right leg toward your chest. Simultaneously bring your left elbow toward your right knee, and exhale as you crunch to the side.
5. Repeat alternations in a pedaling motion, similar to how you would ride a bike.
3. Reverse Crunches (Focuses on Lower Abs)
1. Lay on your back with knees slightly bent and legs elevated. Place hands either palms faced down next to you, or under your glutes.
2. Pull knees upward toward your midsection until you reach chest level. As you execute this movement, contract your abs and slowly exhale. Once your knees reach your chest, hold position for a few seconds. Pro Tip: “As you perform this motion, your lower legs (calves) should remain parallel to the floor.”
3. Inhale and return to starting position.