Mix Fitness's Blog

Upper Abs vs. Lower Abs

Posted in Uncategorized by mixfitness on March 8, 2010
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How many times have you heard someone say, “You’re working your upper abs when you do crunches?”  It leads you to believe your “lower abs” are doing nothing during a crunch, right?  It also sounds like you have two separate muscles.  Well, that statement is a misnomer.

You don’t have “upper” or “lower” abdominal muscles.  You have one long muscle called the rectus abdominis.  It’s the same muscle that is nicknamed the “6-pack.”  This muscle runs from your ribs to your pubic bone.  Take a look at the picture.  Locate the belly button.  Do you see the dark lines just to the right and left of the belly button?  That outlines the rectus abdominis muscle.  Notice how the outline starts just below the pecs (chest muscles) and continues past the belly button into the crotch.  (Sorry, but that’s how low this muscle goes!)  

Now, lay on your back to prepare to feel for yourself the inaccuracy of the above statement.  Place one hand behind your head and the other on your stomach, a couple inches below the belly button.  Do a few crunches.  Can you feel the rectus abdominis contracting under your hand?

When you do crunches, your entire muscle contracts.  Similarly, when you do reverse crunches – typically to target the “lower abs” – the entire muscle contracts.  Yes, the upper fibers will fatigue after several reps of crunches.  But, know that the whole muscle was worked.

I’m being nit-picky about the usage of the phrase…I know.  But, this phrase has led to misconceptions.  Next time you hear it, realize what he really means is, “When you do crunches, you’re working your rectus abdominis completely, but you’ll feel it more in the upper portion.”


When to Expect Exercise Results

Posted in Uncategorized by mixfitness on December 9, 2009
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This morning, I wrote an article about the success a cancer survivor has found by working with a personal trainer.  It got me thinking about the fitness journey.  Exercise benefits everyone, no matter what problems you face.  It takes commitment, determination, and hard work.  Results do not happen over night, nor do they happen even within a month.  The women I wrote about has been working with her trainer for two years now.  If you want to read her story, click here.

I’ve blogged so much about weight loss, that I want to talk about the other types of results you can expect when exercise is a regular part of your life.  It’s true that beginners see results more quickly than those who have been at it a while.  The cool thing about novice weight-lifters (and I don’t mean professionals) is that while the training improves your muscles, it also trains your brain.  Your brain starts to make a better connection to your muscles and you often feel stronger.  There are many factors contributing to when you can expect the toned/defined appearance.   If you have low body fat and start weight training, you may see results within three months.

For the other great benefits like improvements in balance, body fat, blood pressure, and cholesterol, it takes several months.  And, the more you train, the faster the result.  Now, I’m not recommending you start over-exercising!  Remember, fitness is not a race.  But, the old saying applies:  practice makes perfect.  So, exercising two times per week will yield quicker results than once per week.

Finally, a tip about working with a personal trainer.  Hiring a personal trainer can speed up your results.  Let me stress can speed results.  However, it still boils down to how much exercise you’re getting per week.  If you workout once with your trainer per week and get no other activity, results will be slow to come, but will come eventually.  So, do yourself a favor and exercise independently of your trainer.

Want to know what to look for when hiring a personal trainer?  Read on.

Best way to lose weight over the holidays

Posted in Uncategorized by mixfitness on December 2, 2009
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