Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Abs Issue

Holding steady at 124 lbs. I weighed myself this morning for the first time in a long time. I have felt so good lately that I haven't really cared what my weight is. I am loving my morning workouts.

I have said before I think I have reverse body dysmorphic dysfunction (I think I look way better than my weight suggests). Since I love my morning workouts so much, I also have the reverse problem that most people have. I wake up before my alarm (5:00 am) excited to workout. The snooze button never gets used. I am still just keeping my cardio intervals under 30 minutes for the most part, but the leisurely pace and time to actually stretch and listen to the radio is addicting. By Fridays, my body is usually ready for a rest day but my mind is not. I got up this Friday just to spin my wheels on the bike and read a magazine. I am so thankful for this time, and still my workouts are 'me time' driven and not 'lose weight' driven.

Despite my writing in 2 online journals and explaining till I am blue in the face that what I am doing is not time consuming, just CONSISTENT. People still do not believe my methods. I don't care, but it saddens me that people think there still has to be over obsessed, deprived, extreme way of doing things in order to lose weight. I guess because if they believed it was this 'easy', they would have to face facts that they could do it too.

It wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination. 20 minutes a day may be easy for some, but with a newborn and 3 year old this was so challenging. Yet, I stayed consistent. Every day. 20 minutes. I may not have showered, I may not have made dinners, I may not have grocery shopped but I got my 20 minutes a day and am thankful for it.

That is all I can attribute to my weight loss. Consistency. What I can attribute to my abs-well, I had to be patient and see if this really worked before I wrote all this, but I think I can now.

By no means is this an ideal stomach for most. By no means is there a 6 pack there. For the record this was after a day I had cookies as snacks and McDonalds for meals. By no means is this the end result. But considering my stomach was 47 inches around and I weighed 181 lbs on the day I came home from the hospital 7 months ago, I'll take it.

I am going to post my postpartum ab routine only because I want to dispel this myth that more crunches is the answer. And the myth that the only way to a flat stomach postpartum is to have 'hernia' surgery. (now the skin...well, that's another story). What isn't a myth is that abs are made in the kitchen 90% of how your abs look is attributed to diet. Which I why I don't have a 6 pack, but I don't know if I ever want to give up my homemade ice cream on the porch with my kid in order to have one.

this is what I did:
1-2 weeks postpartum: laid on my side trying to pull my belly in. Simple as that yet my mind wouldn't make the connection. This took a long time to get.

3-4 weeks: Once I could do it sidelying. I tried it on my back, even harder. I would use a towel to squeeze my abs together as I did this. Began to ad kegals (they were too painful prior to this.)

Neuromuscular retraining of the deep abdominal muscles on back. Began to add dynamic movement while maintaining that deep ab contraction. I would do this while lying in bed, any time I would think about it.

Began activating them while driving.

2-4 months: could not really lift my head while performing exercises because I was still so weak it hurt my neck, so began to add arms to the dynamic activity, bridging (all with head down on the ground).

4-5 months: Began adding some mini-crunches, lifting the head, rope climb, but still not able to come far up off the ground.

Kept abs contracted during all weight lifting.
Planks on knees then transition to feet.
Holding plank position and adding dynamic activity of upper and lower body.
Knee grabs.

6 months: Added resistance-

Weighted cable rotations
Using a weight to do overhead lat stretch with a mini crunch
Weighted oblique rotations
Progressed to dead bug on a bosu
A couple crunches here and there, usually with a medicine ball
Plank, push up, on elbows, then up

7 months:
Crunches are still last on the list if they make the list at all.
Reverse crunch
Use glider disks for plank/pike

This isn't descriptive, it doesn't have pictures demonstrating these things like a good blog should, it doesn't encompass every exercise. But what I hope it shows is that a million crunches are not, and not even suggested after a trauma such as pregnancy. The progression of doing things correctly and simply is more important that just doing an ab routine that you read in a magazine.

Laying on my side, that's where it all began.