How to get six pack abs

There is a lot of promotions and products out there that promise many things….. but you want to really know what it takes to find your abs?
Here is a quick ‘abbreviated’ guide that if followed will put you on the right track!

A) Proper nutrition
B) Proper Exercise
C) Proper flexibility

A) Nutrition. You can NOT out train a bad diet. This is KEY!

Eating guidelines is something that many people seem to struggle with. It can be very confusing due to all the mis-information and Advertising that companies do. Companies do advertising in order to increase sales, and increasing profits is the true bottom line.

Nearly every cell in your body reproduces about every 6 months, it can only reproduce based on the nutrients that are provided!! So, you truly are what you eat.

This 10+ page document outlines how I made some easy changes and lost 20 pounds of fat in less than 2 months! It was easier than I thought it would be. Trust me, I have a thing about going hungry and the whole time, I didn’t. I was surprised that this way of eating allowed me to satisfy my hunger, and actually eat less snacks.
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B) Exercise. You must Move! If you want to loose fat, you must move. If you want to loose fat quickly, then you must sweat while you move! If you don’t want to sweat, then you must have lots of time to move slowly.

Tip: Get a Heart Rate monitor!

Quick fat loss = you must push your heart rate up doing exercises, then allow the heart rate to drop….intervals will ideally vary! Intensity and using the highest number of muscle groups is KEY! That is another reason functional training is so popular!

Want six-pack abs? then you have to remember it is the visibility of the abdominal musculature, not the strength of the muscles that matters.

C) Flexibility. In order to prevent injury, perform optimally, and reduce aches and pains, the muscle must be with in proper length tension relationship.

In fact here is an ebook on how to do myofascial release, which is more effective because it is just like a massage and better than stretching.
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So, is doing abs a waste of time? Yes and No.

Yes, it is a waste of time if you want a six pack and that is all you are doing to attain that goal – everyone has abs, you just can’t see them – so you have to start there first!

No, because done correctly, ab work is great for your core.

How to dress for Winter Cycling

It is once again that time of year when the clocks have “Fall Back” and the weather has turned from cool to cold seemingly overnight, or you don’t know what to expect from 1 week to the next.

During this time of year, it is important to remember that if you are riding in the afternoons, you must expect that towards the end of your ride, as the sunsets, it is going to get much cooler than when you started.

This early sunset also means that it maybe necessary to have a tail-light. It is challenging for motorists to see into the setting sun – a tail-light will help you be seen. This past weekend we were out a bit longer than anticipated, unfortunately the short route had a quarter mile of a busy road – although have a RoadID is a good idea, a tail-light is more of a preventative measure.

Dressing in layers may mean that you carry extra clothing that you can put on or zip up towards the end of the ride.

Of course, The core or trunk of you body is the main area that you need to keep warm. Dressing in layers is 1 of the best ways to do this. A big thing that I like about layering is that you can adjust how much or how little air you gets to your body. My way of doing this is to have a moisture-wicking base layer. Then I usually add a jersey. Now depending on the temperatures, I will either put on the wind-breaker or vest. The great thing about wind-breakers and vests is that either one can be worn on the outside. I have found that sometimes the warmth from the wind-breaker or winter jacket is too warm, but the air flow is too cold – put the vest on the inside and you can keep cooler, yet still keep the cold air from direct contact to the body.

Another thing that I like to do is where a hat or skull cap under my helmet. Most of the bodies heat loss is through the head – so keeping your head covered slows this loss of heat.

If it is below freezing then I like covering my face and nose. This keeps the cold breeze off and allows me to warm-up the air just a little bit more before breathing it in.

The other 2 main body parts are the furthest points from the trunk of the body – the fingers and the toes. Try to Never start a ride when your fingers or toes are already cold. If those get cold, then it is tough to ever get them warmed back up.

A great tip that I learned is that once you get inside to a heated area, loose the outer layers of clothing. The warm air will get to your body easier and warm you up quicker. Also, just before you go back outside you want to trap that warmer air and keep out the cooler air by adding the layers back on. By taking off your jacket while inside, it allows your jacket to better do it’s job of keeping you warm once you go outside.

The muscles of sport

Have you noticed in your latest cycling catalogs there are now stability balls and bands for sale – what do they have to do with cycling!? LOTS! Many people have now heard the word “core” and core training, but what does that have to do with cycling, group rides, and racing? Again, LOTS!
Think of your core as being the center structure based upon which all movements start from. When you have to quickly adjust to changes, bunny hop, shift in the wind to remain upright… etc. etc. all these require that the core is engaged, strong and stable.

But, what is the CORE? The core is more scientifically referred to as the lumbar pelvic hip region, and is essentially your trunk without your arms or legs – however your muscles and tendons have a lot of connections and extensions that go past just the trunk area into the legs.

The transverse abdominus is a muscle in your core that is the first muscle (in the body) to fire in response or preparation for movement. If you have a dysfunctional timing sequence (weak core), then the chance that you have lower back pain is great!
We train our clients on how to better engage their core muscles to get the most out of the body!

This information has many effects on you as a cyclist.
If your core is not engaging properly, then you may feel pain in your lower back. The interesting thing is that your back may be stronger than you think. In fact it may just be overloaded because your abdominal muscles are not doing their fair share of the work, and the lower back has to do extra to support your spinal column.
Try pedaling with your abs pushed out for 30 seconds, then try pedaling with your abs pulled in for 30 seconds – big difference.

Check out my post on how to get six-pack abs.

What those bands and stability balls are supposed to be used for is strength and stability in the core. There are dozens of exercises and even more variations of each exercise to suit all ability levels!
Check out some variations in the Video section.

Get more info on 4 things for stronger cycling:
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Why you should do Single Leg exercise

Everyone hears that they should weight train to gain strength. That’s true, take 2 athletes with the same body/endurance & the one that is 10% stronger will always win!

When you go to the gym is most of your strength training take place with 1 leg or 2? Most equipment in the weight room is designed for you to use 2 legs – why? Because the training philosophy that has dominated the industry for the past decade has been body building – building large amounts of muscle, and to impress the judges on stage. But does all the muscle size translate into speed & endurance?

When you train and race, all the force production is generated with single leg contractions – running, only 1 leg is on the ground at a time. Cycling, 1 leg is creating the force while the other tries to pull-up or at least not interfere.
So if your workouts should help you become better, faster, stronger shouldn’t your weight training also include specificity to your sport – for example single leg training.

I like to warm-up with squats on a balance board – each leg has to press equally or the board will flop to one side. I will follow this exercise with cone reaches on one leg – this requires using balance/stabilization as well as hamstring & glute activation.

Next I often do lunges – trying not to use the back leg and using the front leg as much as possible. Also, with doing single leg lunges, I find out if 1 leg is producing more power than the other leg. Optimally, both legs produce an equal amount of power!

I will follow this up with another single leg hamstring exercise that mimics the cycling and running foot/leg action, such as hamstring roll-ins on a stability ball.

I always use the best form possible & rely on Quality over Quantity of each exercise – do something until I can no longer hold proper form – then stop, move on to the next exercise.

I hope you like some of these tips and put the ideas behind them to use in your next workout!

Cycling Circuits

I have a workout by the same name. I did this because it is a great way to think of a good workout for an Athlete. Circuit training.

As I was riding with a friend yesterday he was asking me about workouts for cyclists. It slowly became apparent that he was just doing some exercises with no basis of why. I can remember doing the same thing with my cycling training when I was a category 4 rider and all I did was the group rides…..but when I got serious and wanted to improve my cycling using a plan was a huge improvement and boost for me to upgrade to a category 2 rider the following year!

The same preparation that goes into a cycling training program should go into a cyclists weight training program! Don’t use machines! Use Body weights and then add Free-weights!

Another guy asked me about doing weighted squats. Asked him to demonstrate a squat for me. As he squatted, he could not get to parallel and his heels came off the ground, which is pretty typical of guys. So, I showed him the difference in the way he squats and the way I squat. How and why the mechanics of it were different. Part of the reason that his heels come up is because he is not engaging his glutes, and using mainly the quads. Tight hamstrings may also be a contributing factor to this also.

If your squat isn’t using proper form, WHY would you then want to add weight and Amplify improper form? That leads to injuries! You will get much more out of your workout if you correct the muscle imbalance.

Pretty good workout video of Lance at his home gym. Notice that there are no machine based exercises!! You shouldn’t do them either.