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everything & anything that motivates me to be healthy.... day in, day out.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 1, 2011


Five secrets to flat ab success


Stay in control. Don’t use momentum (for example, rocking your upper body back and forth) instead of your abs to do the work. Keep your middle muscles contracted throughout the entire range of motion. Let them pull your shoulders and/or hips off the floor.

Know when to take it easy. Your rectus abdominis, the large ab muscle, responds best to high-intensity training (doing tough exercises, not necessarily more reps). But if you hit it hard every day, the muscle will fatigue and you won’t see results. Work your abs 2 or 3 times a week on nonconsecutive days.

Add the bike to your ab routine. According to a study by the American Council on Exercise, the bicycle (lying faceup, bring right knee and left elbow toward each other, then switch sides) is the best waist-firming exercise because it uses every muscle in your abs.

Get on the ball. Prefer normal crunches? Doing them on a stability ball is more effective than doing them on the floor because your abs (and core) will have to work harder to stabilize your position and you’re able to move through a larger range of motion.

Fire ‘em up. To engage the deepest muscles of your abs during any exercise-or just sitting at your desk throughout the day-try this: Inhale, then exhale and pull your bellybutton toward your spine, without hunching your shoulders forward-don’t just suck in your belly.



Berry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
makes enough for 1 hungry person or 2 smaller servings

1 banana cut in slices and frozen

4-6 strawberries, cut up (freeze them if you like a really thick smoothie)
1/4 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup milk (more or less to suit your tastes)

Put the oats in the blender and let it run until they are ground up to be a powder. Add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. You may want to add more milk to thin out the smoothie as needed. I ended up adding 1 cup of milk in all.


Summer Berry Muffins
 21/2 cups fresh/frozen summer berries
1/2 cup water

21/2 cups almond flour (ground almonds)

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

pinch salt

1/3 cup honey

3 eggs

Set the oven to 160° C. Place 8 medium muffin cases in a muffin tray.  Pour the berries into a pan with the water and simmer until the liquid is reduced and has started to thicken. Leave to cool.

 Using a 237ml cup as the measure, mix together the ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl.

In another bowl whisk together the eggs and honey.

Pour the cooled fruit into the eggs mixture and stir until well combined.


Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well.


Using a spoon evenly fill the muffin cases. 

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed. 



Mistakes to avoid when stretching

Don’t bounce. Using momentum to increase your stretch can activate the body’s protective reflex, causing the muscles to contract instead of stretch, which can lead to small tears.

Don’t stretch to the point of pain. While you may experience a little discomfort in an area that is tight, actual pain is your body’s way of letting you know something is wrong.

Don’t forget to breathe. Not only is oxygen exchange necessary for the muscle to respond in a beneficial way to a stretch, but holding your breath may temporarily increase blood pressure. Focus on inhaling as you get in position for the stretch and exhaling as you move into it. Keep your breathing slow and regular.





Tummy tucker
Start in plank position with wrists directly under shoulders, abs engaged. Bring left knee to left elbow, then extend left leg behind you above hip height, foot flexed (as shown). Do 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat.




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