By Tracey Mallett
My mission as a fitness expert is to guide and motivate you to find time to put yourself first, just a few hours a week. I know exercise is the last thing on your mind, or is it sex?
I'm sure it's a close tie after hard day with the kids and work. But remember: exercise will give you energy and bring your confidence back. I like to look at it like this: if your mind and body feels good, your whole out look on life will completely change. No longer will you care if your husband doesn't pick up his smelly socks off the bathroom floor or if your kids start screaming in the middle of the grocery store. Think of it as an investment in your sanity and for your children's future.
Your family needs you to be happy, healthy and confident. It's now time to take control and connect to the HOT Mama inside of you.
On that note, I wanted to share with you some hot tips to work that midsection anywhere and everywhere.
You've probably read about the CORE in magazines and news papers. Most of us haven't got a clue what this is -- it's such the "buzz" word right now in the media. Let me go ahead and shine some light.
The Core is associated with those muscles that primarily support your spine, stabilize the pelvis, and aide in correct posture.
The transverse abdominus is the most important muscle to achieve this. It is the deepest of all the abdominal muscles acting like a corset around your midsection. Out of all the abdominal muscles, it's probably the most neglected muscle and essentially the most important. The beauty of activating this muscle is that you can do it sitting down, driving the car, standing in the line at the bank -- basically everywhere!
No movement needs to take place to activate this muscle. It's almost like feeling a belt tighten around your midsection. In order to truly activate the transverse abdominus, we need to essentially breathe (forcefully exhale and draw the abs towards the spine) and make a mind body connection to those often dormant muscles.
Okay so here we go....
Start by inhaling through the nose, feel your rib cage expand as your lungs fill with air. Now as you exhale draw the ribcage together and pull the abdominals towards the spine. Think of pulling in your tummy or scooping out the belly without squeezing your glutes, thighs and hip flexors.
Simultaneously contract your pelvic floor, just like those Kegal exercises you were supposed to do ALL the time during and after pregnancy. Can you feel your abdominals contract? Try adding this concept to a traditional crunch. Exhale as you lift the head, neck and shoulders off the floor without moving the hips, you will be amazed how much stronger the abdominal contraction will be. Don't worry if your abs start shaking, they're working!
Making a mental connection to the core and adding breath to your strength training routine will also add a new spin to your workout and translate in to more functional strength. Carrying your 35lb toddler around Disneyland will be a breeze, I can truly say that from experience.
Once you build the neuromuscular connection, try balancing on one leg and performing some bicep curls with free weights or single leg squats. The unstable surface forces your core muscles to fire helping to stabilize your spine (basically stopping you from falling over). Working the body as a whole, not just as an isolated body part forces the core to work harder. Remember, if your center is strong, the rest of the body will follow. Some of the best exercises are basic calisthenics like push-ups and lunges using your own weight for resistance. Super Body Boot Camp Series is full of these types of moves. Pilates is also a fabulous workout for the core. Personally I thank Pilates for getting my abs back in shape after pregnancy.
So let's take the time to connect to the abdominals and make a conscious effort to pull in the abs and activate the core in our daily chores.
The results are definitely worth it, improved balance, athletic performance - running at the park with the kids, posture - correcting humpback from breast feeding, decreased back pain from holding two kids on your hip all day long, and a stronger pelvic floor, which can only help your sex life.
So what are you waiting for? Try these exercises every day and you'll be on the road to an improved midsection and better sex -- now that's an incentive!
About the author: Tracey Mallett ( www.TraceyMallett.com) is an internationally-recognized certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist. She is the author of "Sexy in 6: Sculpt Your Body with the 6 Minute Quick Blast Workout." Tracey is the creator and star of the "3-In-1 Pregnancy System," for pre- and post-natal mothers. Her newest videos are "Renew You" and "Super Body BootCamp." A proud mother of two, Tracey, now lives in Los Angeles .