Going hardcore on your abs but still not seeing results? Here’s why

 

You’re not working the rectus abdominus 

One of the more damaging myths of the modern gym locker room is that you don’t need to dedicate time for ab isolation exercises. It’s true that big compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts do work your core, but research suggests there is very little activation in the rectus abdominus (the six-pack muscles). To focus on the bodies midriff you’re after, include core exercises such as flat leg raises and rotation movements such as Russian Twists.

Your body fat is too high 

You can hit your core muscles constantly and build a solid wall of abs, but unless you’ve chiselled away all the flab from your stomach no one’s going to know. Generally, we find if your body fat isn’t around 10-12% mark your abs won’t show. For a simple fat hack, accompany every meal with a high source of protein and more veggies. Here are some more ways to lose your love handles: 6 ways to help you lose belly fat

You need to mix up your moves

Your body is smarter than you unless you periodically change the methods you use to assault your core, the muscles will adapt to training and stop growing. There are three main types of core movements which effectively work your abs: flexion and extension move like rotation exercises, static full-range-motion contraction moves like a plank, lying or hanging leg raises. The best ab workouts will include exercises from every movement type.

You haven’t honed your diet properly

The saying “abs are built in the kitchen” and not the gym may be a little exaggerated, but that doesn’t make it less true. In the quest to build a toned core, consistently focusing on healthier eating habits and a balanced calorie deficit is crucial. Follow these tips and you won’t go far wrong: How to ease of hunger when you’re trying to lose weight

You’re not getting enough rest time

The often-ignored third element in the six-pack and muscle recovery equation is sleep. It’s when you’re sleeping-sound that most muscle is built: your growth hormone levels are elevated throughout the night. What’s more, fail to get enough shuteye and the stress hormone cortisol floods your system, encouraging your body to store fat around your midriff and putting the brakes on your progression.

 

 

 

The ‘AFTER-BURN’ of HIIT, is it really as good as it sounds?

High intensity intermittent/interval training (HIIT) is a popular training system in the fitness industry. Its claimed to be the best thing for burning fat and developing muscle tone and we’re told that its far superior than Low intensity stead state (LISS) training due to the after-burn. But, is the after-burn actually real?

EPOC

Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption also known as EPOC, is what most of us know as the after-burn from exercise. This is due to the body being in an oxygen debt and will need to work harder to replenish the body and bring it back to homeostasis. This, in turn burns more calories over a period of time (some studies have shown from 15 mins up to 48 hours). The higher the intensity you train at and the longer you train for both have more of an impact on EPOC.

Studies have shown that when a HIIT workout is done properly, EPOC can cause your metabolism to increase by up to 14% of the calories burnt in your workout, compare that to LISS which studies show only up to 7% of your workout.

As just mentioned, we need to be working at a high intensity for HIIT to be achieved. Unfortunately, people chuck these 4 letters (HIIT) in front of any workout they do and say its a HIIT session. When done properly, HIIT should be where your working at sub-maximal heart rate (MHR) (85% – 95% MHR).

Now doing a 30 seconds jog on the treadmill with 30s rest probably won’t be doing that for you, well maybe for the last 5 mins out of your 20 minute session! With a proper high intensity training session and to get the real benefit of HIIT you want to get that heart rate above 85% MHR for as long as possible. Unfortunately many people don’t have the fitness levels to do this kind of training, let alone the mental strength (Yes, it bloody hurts!).

If you find that you are not fit enough to do this, or just don’t like training that hard, then don’t do it! That doesn’t mean you can’t get results, it just means there are other types of training suited to you.

EPOC in numbers

increase of 14% would mean that you would burn an mind blowing 42kcal! (300kcal x 14% = 42kcal). If we had burnt the same amount of calories through LISS training we would have burnt only an extra 21kcal (300kcal x 7% = 21kcal). So even though HIIT has more of an after burn than LISS, the after burn isn’t that great! 42kcal would equal about half an apple!

Right, so now I’ve crushed your hopes and dreams about HIIT training in relation to EPOC. Your about to unfollow all your social media fitness pages that swear by HIIT, hold on. Theres are some massive benefits with HIIT that you need to know.

  • Muscle maintenance – One great benefit of HIIT training over LISS is that there is a big demand on muscles to train at a high intensity. With a lot of cardio exercise you can lose muscle mass, but because of the demand on your muscles from HIIT, you will maintain it. This is important as muscle mass plays a big part in our metabolism and if your losing muscle, then you will be burning less on a daily basis!
  • Increase fitness, speed, strength and power – if HIIT is done properly, then not only are you going to look better, but be able to back your looks up with better performance!
  • Increase fitness, speed, strength and power – if HIIT is done properly, then not only are you going to look better, but be able to back your looks up with better performance!
  • Time saving – a typical HIIT session should last 20 – 30 minutes in total, including rest period! A lot quicker than a normal 1 hour cardio session.
  • Feel good factor – Now, even though we know the after-burn of HIIT isn’t what you thought it would be, generally you’ve worked really hard and achieved something from your session. Feeling better usually leads to better nutrition and better adherence to your exercise regime, which therefore leads to better results!
  • Feel good factor – Now, even though we know the after-burn of HIIT isn’t what you thought it would be, generally you’ve worked really hard and achieved something from your session. Feeling better usually leads to better nutrition and better adherence to your exercise regime, which therefore leads to better results!

Other health benefits associated with HIIT include decreased heart rate and blood pressure, increased Vo2 max, aerobic and anaerobic fitness, insulin sensitivity and plenty more!

CONCLUSION

So EPOC does exist, but unfortunately isn’t as great as it sounds. I am still a massive fan of doing HIIT and most of my clients have it programmed in their training, I even use it myself. If your looking to add HIIT into your training then great! Just make sure your working at the right intensity (85%+ MHR) for as long as possible, you can get heart rate monitors to check if your hitting these numbers. The easiest way to work out your maximum heart rate is 220 – your age.

I would also recommend having the right nutrition around HIIT, if your low carb (low energy) and your trying to work at a high intensity then forget it! Go for LISS. If you’ve had a super busy day at work and your really tired, go for LISS. Remember, HIIT is hard and it should be! If you finish your session and you don’t feel like crap, that doesn’t mean your fit, it means you’ve done it wrong!

 

Coach Rob and the team!

http://protofit.co.uk

 

New Year resolutions sound great in theory. However, realistically the motivation to accomplish high hopes and wishes fade fast. While motivation begins high and 77% of resolution makers stick at it for the first week, we fall off the wagon pretty quickly and most abandon resolutions by February.

Instead of making huge, vague goals that are quickly abandoned, try goal setting techniques to create a plan of action, these can work best when you set a weekly, month goal and yearly goal, and helps to focus on the smaller win’s short term which lead to the bigger results long term. This topic is especially important for those looking to lose weight and/or getting fit.

These six tips get better as you go, so make note of all six:

 

1. Think Short Term

It’s easy to get caught up with what you want to accomplish during an entire year, but 365 days is a long time to stay focused on one thing. Break the year into smaller chunks and focus on completing each chunk individually. For example: 30, or 90 day goals can be a great time period to accomplish health/ fitness goals and a lot easier we find also for our clients to focus on, rather than a yearly goal in one go. The variety over this these time periods can be kept high and attention span stimulated.

2. Be Realistic

Sure, it would be great to cut sugar from your diet or to say you’ll never have an alcoholic drink if you enjoy drinking. Any of those things aren’t actually realistic within your means over the long term, and may be extremely difficult over a long period which make a lost less chance of sticking to them and gaining results which last. Another point is that when your goals are so lofty and big, they might not even be right for you in the end.

3. Invest In Your Goal

A sure-fire way to make your goals a reality is to throw money at them. Not having necessarily needing to spend lots of money but hiring someone can help make you truly invested. If you’d like to get fitter, or stronger invest in a trainer or specific coach. If you want to run a marathon, register for one and start training in small segments for it. You might want to start with 5 or 10k runs. If you want to ditch take-out dinners, sign up for a healthy meal delivery service. You get the idea; having your expenses align with your healthy intentions is money well spent.

4. Measure Your Successes

Staying motivated depends on your ability to track progress by using specific metrics appropriate for your goal. However, if your goal to improve body composition, you might look at body fat percentage, measurements, clothes size and a host of other metrics to gauge progress. For non-weight related goals, there are a plethora of ways to see how well you’re doing. Apps can track phone use, budget and time management. Fit trackers can count steps, record sleep and some even provide a daily stress score.

Get our free 12 week transformation guide: 12 Week Lean Body Guide

5. Make An Action Plan

To make your goal something you will actually work toward, that work needs to be defined step by step in a plan.

Take the previously mentioned mini goals, monetary investments, time chunks and tracking metrics that align with your broad goal and turn it into an action plan and work out a strategy on how you will action it. A good action plan leaves little to chance and dictates specifically how you will go about reaching your goal.

6. Stick It Out

Keep in mind: Long-term goals ebb and flow, and there will be setbacks. Even if progress seems slow at times, you’ll get more out of your resolution by taking the tough days in stride and returning to your action plan the next day. Not reaching your mini-goal on the day you set for it doesn’t mean you can’t make progress toward it, and is not a reason at all to give up on your New Year’s resolution entirely.

Whatever your 2019 resolutions may be, these tips will help you make actionable steps toward reaching your goals. Above all, pick a goal that makes you happy and motivated and start taking action as soon as you can!