It’s 5:00 am and I’m on the grid. I’ve had my bulletproof coffee, vitamin C, Omega-3’s, and I’m ready to kick some ass. At this exact moment, I’m surrounded by Los Angeles’ finest as they grunt, lift, stretch, and sweat on mats, machines, and more. With my days of sleeping in past noon firmly behind me, I can say I’ve experienced a direct correlation between waking up early and personal success. While most of the world is still hitting the snooze button and yelling “five more minutes,” life’s go-getters are dragging their butts out of bed and into the gauntlet, gaining a leg up on their competition before most have even had their first cup of coffee. And so, as I confidently strut through this elite pantheon of self-discipline and Lululemon, I position myself on my favorite treadmill with the feeling of accomplishment already blossoming in my chest.
Shifting into gear, I select the “quick workout” button on the digital screen and manually alter my speed to a comfortable 5.5 mph. About three minutes in, I click upwards to 6.3 mph and a 1.5 incline, feeling the strength of my body beneath me as my breathing intensifies. Now that I’m past the initial warm-up stage, I take it upon myself to be admittedly nosy and scope out the other worker-outers. Subtly glancing around the room, I take note of my fellow gym-goers, mainly, the woman to my left. With barely any detectable sign of physical exertion, I see that she’s running comfortably at a sustained 9mph. Holding my look of disbelief, I continue to stare at her monitor which indicates that she’s fast approaching her 6th mile. WTF.
Attempting to compete with this mystery Olympian, I realize somewhere in between 9.5mph and death that I’m just not as good of a runner as she is. As she closes in on her 10th mile that she basically sprinted, she takes a sip of water from her perfect lavender canteen and makes a beeline for the floor mats. I, on the other hand, chug water from my plastic thing and spill half of it onto my questionably see-thru sports bra, still staring at Usain Bolt’s white female doppelganger. She continues her workout with an uninterrupted fifteen minutes of crunches, leg lifts, push-ups, and planks. Still jogging pathetically, I start to wonder… How the heck is it possible that this woman just finished one of the most intense workouts I could have ever done, and yet- she looks completely untoned?
If I had to name the most fundamental truth about working out, I’d say this: ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN. For all of you trying to lose that stubborn belly pooch or muffin top, the sad truth is that working out isn’t the answer. Yes, exercise is PART of the answer, but diet is unequivocally the most important factor in obtaining the toned abs you’ve always wanted. If you’re busting your ass in the gym and not seeing results, don’t seek harder, more exhausting exercises. Head to your fridge and reassess what it is you’re eating. With a perfect combination of exercise and diet, a toned stomach can be just a few short months, or even weeks, away. Here’s how to get em’ without any crash dieting or overkill. Keep this plan up, and you’ll be bikini bod ready by spring!
High Protein/Low Carb is the way to go! That means no starch or sugars and definitely stay away from processed cheese and meats. Below’s a list of Lynx Approved foods that will not only get your tummy tight, but will be great for your hair, skin, and nails. It’s kind of my take on the Atkins/Paleo diet with a little bit of common sense sprinkled in.
-eggs (1 yolk for every 3 whites)
-low carb veggies (cauliflower, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, avocado might be a fruit but whatevs)
-leafy greens (kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, celery)
-fat-free greek yogurt and/or cottage cheese
-unsweetened almond and/or cashew milk
-nuts and seeds (or a Kind Bar if you need a little sweet treat!)
-Try not to eat three hours before bed at night
-If you’re going to have an alcoholic beverage, go for red wine or a vodka soda
-Cook with coconut oil or avocado oil instead of butter
-Instead of sauces and salad dressings, stick with fresh squeezed lemon juice, balsamic vinegar/ olive oil, or coconut amino acids
-Make sure you have a great protein powder on hand. These are VITAL in the face of cravings and for replenishing post-workout. I like Amplified Gold 100% Whey Protein in the chocolate flavor. Strawberry is good too!
-Obviously, this is a LIFESTYLE change, and with any lifestyle, you’re going to need some actual carbs in your system over time. For me, toasted Ezekiel bread with a ton of all-natural no sugar added peanut or almond butter is the way to go. If you want something more savory, toasted Ezekiel bread with cream cheese, salmon lox, and capers is great and won’t undo your progress!!
-Run 1 mile at 5mph on the treadmill
-Jump rope for 5 minutes
-Run 1 mile at 6mph
-10 minutes of elliptical at Level 13 resistance and 10-degree incline
-Run 1 mile alternating between 3 minutes of running at 7.5mph (or higher if comfortable) and 1.5 minutes of walking
-30 reps of bozu ball crunches
-20 seconds plank
-50 reps of bozu ball crunches
-30 seconds plank
-10 push ups
-Cool down walk
-Get your workout in first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, then refuel about an hour after. Fasted cardio is one of the easiest ways to get rid of belly fat!
-Try and workout without the use of pre-workouts/artificial performance enhancers…you can do it- you don’t need any help!
-If you’re having an off day and can’t do a full out the workout, just be sure to make it to the gym EVERY DAY. A little something is better than nothing- for your body AND for your morale.