I missed some workouts, now what?
We all know stress is well, stressful. Stress comes at us from home, relationships, work, school, our family, friends, and even pressure we place on ourselves. All that pressure adds up to a lot of tension on our minds and bodies. And as our bodies don’t understand the cause of your stress, it reacts in ways to protect itself. Your body will prepare to battle your stress and remove the unwanted fear the only way it knows how.
Fight or flight.
When we feel stress, it triggers the age ol’ fight or fight reaction. Our bodies haven’t changed how it reacts to stress, regardless of the cause. Whether a lion is about to attack or you received a nasty email, it causes the same reaction.
When we feel stress, we release a hormone called Cortisol. This hormone kicks in and will help you stay alive if you really are about to battle that lion!
Cortisol does a few things simultaneously for us in stressful situations.
- In stressful situations cortisol rises
- This causes us to eat (and usually over-eat) because it wants to prepare your body to have enough calories for battling whatever you are about to face
- It slows your metabolism so that you don’t burn through your energy source too quickly
- Cortisol encourages your body to store fat
- Again, so you can be prepared for and sustain through whatever you are about to face!
This one hormone has just prepared your body for your fight or flight. In America though, our battle isn’t with a lion or neighboring village. Our battle is a computer screen, where we sit and no longer need the additional calories and fat stores to stay alive. Meaning we consume more calories than we burn, and chose unhealthy choices to help us cope.
Cortisol isn’t the only culprit here though, stress can sabotage you in other ways too.
- If you eat when you are worried or distracted, you aren’t focusing on eating. Meaning we tend not to realize ourselves becoming full and over-eat. We also are more likely to want a snack more quickly and eat more during that next snack.
- Salty, sweet and fatty foods release pleasure chemicals in your brain which reduce tension. Your body will crave these more than a healthy snack to combat unhappy feelings.
- Over time any and all of the above actions will become habit and we do them each day without realizing it, adding additional, unhealthy calories to our daily routine.
- Stress causes us to lose sleep which is also a powerful factor in weight gain.
Feeling stressed about feeling stressed?
Take a long deep breath. Here are ways to beat stress and it’s impending weight gain.
- I know this seems obvious but common sense ins’t common practice in a busy world. Exercise releases all sorts of chemicals in our brain to help us relax. We also are more likely to chose healthier foods after we exercise and moving our bodies will help us get a good nights sleep! With a full calendar, start with 20 mins a day or one of Emily Langlois’ FIT Guide programs to guide you through a full total body workout on YOUR time.
- Stop Strict Dieting
- You have enough stress to deal with at work, home, and your every-day life. Putting your body under extreme pressure only adds stress in this area as well. Yo-yo dieting is stressful for our bodies and our minds. Eat a clean, healthy, balanced diet as laid out in this Nutrition Package, to keep yourself on a stable, weight loss plan you can enjoy forever! And that allows splurges! 🙂
- Eat Mindfully
- I’ve covered this in a few articles now but the idea of eating mindfully could NOT be stressed enough. Our bodies won’t recognize that we’ve eaten too much until we’ve over-eaten 500-1000 calories! That’s half or MORE of your whole day. Gone.
- Before you sit down to eat, take a deep breath. Notice how you feel. Are you eating because you are hungry? If yes, turn everything off and sit down to eat.
- Eating should be enjoyable! Taste your food! Enjoy what you’re eating! Don’t play games, don’t watch tv, read, scroll social media. Just eat. By being present and eating, you will recognize when you’ve had enough and stop 2.5 times sooner than if you were distracted. So slow down the world around you and enjoy your meal! Everything else will still be there 10 minutes from now!
- Move Your Body Every Hour
- Our minds can only focus on one task for about an hour before our output decreases dramatically. We become drained, unfocused, thirsty, restless and our creativity worsens. After 50 minutes of deep focused work, stand up. Move around and grab some water. Stretch, walk, jump, whatever feels natural to you. Just move your body and drink water at least once per hour. Then sit back down and tackle your next task!
- Write in a Journal
- We boil our worries up in our head until they become so massive that we think our heads might explode! Write down all of your stresses and write your plan to work through it. By writing your thoughts on paper, you extract them from growing in your mind and see how manageable it really is!
- Find non-food activies you enjoy
- Choose a better stress relief than happy hour each night. Try yoga, painting, writing, photography… Something you can do to relieve your stress, that you enjoy and isn’t centered around food or unhealthy habits.
Choosing new habits and ways of dealing with stress will be your way to beat the weight gain stress can bring. Unfortunately I can’t remove all of the stressful people in your life, but I can help you to find healthy, positive ways to keep yourself sane and slim among them.
A great way to become healthier is with a supportive group who are fighting the same battle as you! We’ve created a community to support you through your goals and celebrate your wins as you push through each week. These women complete the FIT Guide program and exercise around THEIR busy schedules, any time of day, anywhere! Take the FIT Guide to the gym, your home, work or hotel. You will see results quickly and love how you feel.
Visit FITonYourTime.com to learn more and start your transformation today!
Emily Langlois is a Certified Personal Trainer, Weight Loss Specialist and Group Fitness Instructor. She trains hundreds of men and women to lose weight, see definition and LOVE their bodies.
Imagine yourself walking on the beach. You are in your new swim suit, and someone wants to take a picture. How great would it feel to stand there confidently loving your flat, strong and defined stomach?
Our abs are hard to sculpt but they are what we all want, right? So let’s take a dive into how we can define our midsection and the best ways to do it quickly.
To build a strong core and see defined abs, we must eat a healthy diet and complete effective workouts consistently. Changing our thinking about food so that we eat according to our goals is most important. Food is fuel to nourish our bodies.
The types of exercises you complete are also important. Changing up your exercise routines often and selecting dynamic movements will sculpt your abs quickly to see a solid midsection.
Variety is important because our bodies adapt to workouts. We want to constantly keep our muscles working. Consistency of working out though is true too. Do the work and you will see your result.
The best workouts for defined abs include exercises that work every area of the core (upper,mid,lower and obliques). You also need a strong back to help with posture and support which is why many workouts will incorporate exercises such as a superman or push ups.
Weighted exercises work exceptionally well for defining your abs because it increases the work load.
Best Exercises for Defined Abs
To see best results in your core, I recommend a total body workout. Total body workouts use both your upper and lower body, causing your abs to contract and stabilize you. You also burn more calories and get the most value out of a short workout!
Additionally, for my clients I add an extra set of ab exercises “10 min Abs” to their workouts 3 times per week.
In this ab workout, it’s important you select exercises that challenge each area of the core as mentioned above.
Below are 5 of my favorite ab exercises to see definition quickly.
Please complete this workout 3 times per week with a healthy diet.
Open and Up
Weighted Russian Twists
Abs are like any muscle, it needs time under pressure (exercise) and time to rest and recover. I rarely recommend ab exercises more than 3 times a week because we become overworked and struggle to give our full effort if we do too much. I would rather you give full effort 3 times per week than half effort 5.
Best Foods for Defined Abs
You’ve heard the saying, “abs are made in the kitchen”, right?
A poor diet most often appears in our midsections first thereby claiming that if you eat healthy, you will lose weight in your belly. Simply eating healthy will create a flat stomach over time. True.
What does eating healthy look like?
1.Eating balanced meals and snacks every 2-3 hours
2. Eating a balance of protein, fats and carbs
3. Choosing the right carbs (whole grain or whole wheat, beans, starchy veggies)
4. Using seasonings instead of sauces
5. Avoid sugary drinks or added calories in your beverages
6. Make meals at home to avoid processed foods
For More Tips, Check Out My FREE Meal Planning Guide (FITonYourTime.com)
How do you know what to eat to define your abs?
Think of lean proteins:
Chicken, fish, greek yogurt, eggs, lean cuts of red meat
And Healthy Fats:
Avocados, Nuts, Seeds, Oils,
What are good carbs?
Starchy Vegetables (eggplant, squash, zucchini, sweet potato) Beans, Whole Grains
The most important factor is to eat enough protein and in correct portion sizes. Too much of anything will turn into fat on the body so maintaining healthy portions is key!
Can Everyone Get Defined Abs?
I hear this question often when clients have been struggling to get definition. They’ll say something like, “I cannot get defined abs” or “can anyone get defined abs?”
Answer: Yes, you can. Unless you have had major surgeries in your stomach or some rare medical condition preventing you, you can. It will take effort, but everyone can have a great stomach. Give it time and consistent effort!
Think of it like this. You must be willing to be uncomfortable to reach a goal you’ve never attained before. The workouts will be hard and you will have to give up eating in ways that you used to eat.
Here is the good news:
It doesn’t mean you have to be miserable! Healthy foods can taste good with proper seasoning, good recipes and changing options. Instead of thinking,”I’m giving up” Think of what you GET to do. You can lift more, run further, see your ABS! You GET to eat healthy, you GET to enjoy this food.
Being nice to our bodies is a celebration of it. Eating poorly is not being nice to our bodies.
And at the end? You will have the definition in your abs that you’ve always wanted. You will be ready for summer and to be proud of what you’ve worked for!
To Join My 6-Week Exercise Program, visit FITonYourTime.com
The idea for this article came to me while I was on the set of eightWest chatting with Rachel. I was there recording a 5 minute segment about my online training programs and in conversation, Rachel told me how she liked to work out at home. She added she doesn’t have weights at home so she uses one of her kids’ toys. It’s a ball and it works just as well!
That creativity and convenience is something I try to share with my clients. While I design workout programs incorporating resistance bands and dumbbells, you can always get a great workout in without it! Whether you’re traveling or just don’t have the space for equipment, at-home workouts can be completed with equipment you have already around!
I’ve compiled a list of common household items to be used instead of weights, bands or exercise balls when those items are not available.
- Cans of Soup
- Exercises that require a light weight such as tricep kickbacks, shoulder raises, shoulder circles, King Kong Bicep Curls, etc. would be perfect with cans of soup. The cans fit in your hand and are convenient. Be sure the cans you select are okay to shake and approximately the same weight in each hand.
- Chair or Coffee Table
- Instead of an exercise ball, most exercises can either be done on the floor or with a stable chair! Step Ups? Step on a chair instead. Toe Taps? Tap the seat of a chair. Tricep Dips? Place your hands on the chair for elevation from the ground.
- Please be sure to use a stable chair!
- Basketball (or Other Sport Ball)
- A ball can replace any weighted ball exercise, any lunge/ squat twists, russian twists, push up on ball, or weighted ab exercise. Naturally the size of the ball may change your range of motion but you are using your core, arms and legs – so that’s a win!
- Using your own body to do the exercise and omitting a weight is extremely effective. Please be sure to watch your form but body weight exercises can be: push ups, squats, lunges, jumps of any kind, planks (and all plank variations), crunches, superman’s, etc. You can easily achieve a total body workout without equipment. If you aren’t feeling the burn, do more reps or add in a complex movement. A burpee, for example is a complex movement. You work your upper, lower, core and heart rate at the same time.
- Water Jug
- Anything with weight will add a challenge. Much like the previous examples, using a heavy water jug is a great way to add weight to an exercise. When using this method, please be sure to watch how you hold the water. Keep your wrists straight so not to hurt them!
- Like to read as much as me? You should have plenty of heavy books lying around that will create the perfect weight addition to squats, twists, raise, etc.
Do you have other ideas or objects you’ve used? I’d love to hear!
Working out at home is a great option to fit our busy lives. This can sometimes leave us wondering: what can I use instead?! I hope this list helps you.
Have a healthy, happy and successful day,
Emily Langlois, CPT
Do you get bored with the same equipment? Do you enjoy mixing up your routine?
I personally LOVE trying to exercises and new equipment because it keeps me from getting bored and also, our muscles need change to keep it from platuae-ing.
If you’ve never tried resistance bands before or you bought them but wasn’t sure what to do with them, I’ve created a top 10 list of beginner exercises to use a resistance band. I’m not saying these are easy. But this will be a base that you can build off of. Also, if you are participating in my Love Your Body FIT Guide, a few of these should look familiar 🙂
It’s important to choose the correct band for your level and the exercise you are doing. Bands come in different resistances. Think of it like different sizes of weights. Some are heavier and you can use with squats, other 2lb weights are lighter and you use them for shoulder raises, for example. Choose the resistance you need to feel the exercise but not strain yourself.
Make sure the band is secure before you stand or move. It’s important to secure the band while you are sitting and then either move to standing or begin the exercise. Adjusting the bands while we are standing can challenge our balance and cause us to fall. Please be careful.
If the band is around your foot, keep your foot flexed! A resistance band is essentially like a large rubber band. If you let go, it can hurt. Keep your foot flexed and the band in place.
As I always say – draw in your core, please!
- Walking Squats
Adjust the band so that it is around your thighs.
Begin in proper squat position, knees behind the toes, sitting back in the glutes, chest up
Take a step to the right with your right foot, bring your left foot in
Walk 4 steps right then 4 steps left
Repeat until you’ve completed your full set
2. Tricep Push Down
Just like the machine at the gym, but now you can do it at home!
Hold the band by your chest with your left hand
Place the right hand in the band with your palm down
Press down with your right hand to the right side of your body squeezing the back of your arm.
Complete a full set on this side, then switch to the other side
3. Plank Kick Back
Adjust the bands to the proper height on your thigh
Begin in plank position – hands and elbows directly under shoulders, back in a straight line
Kick your right leg up to the sky, squeezing the back of your right leg
Return to plank
Kick your left leg up to the sky
Repeat alternating legs until you’ve completed the whole set
4. Mountain Climber
Adjust the bands so that they are securely around your feet
Begin in plank position
Draw in your belly and bring your right knee in to your right elbow
Return to plank and switch
Left knee to left elbow
Continue alternating through your whole set
5. Row in Plank
Place the band around your hands
Begin in plank position
Row your right elbow to the sky, squeezing your shoulder blades
Continue a full set with your right arm, then switch to the left
6. Bridge with Open
Place the bands around your thighs
Begin laying on your back, knees to the sky
Squeeze your glutes and raise your low back off the mat
At the top, open your knees apart wide
Bring your knees back to center and lower down
7. Plank Walk
Place the bands around your wrists or hands
Begin in plank position
Walk with your right arm to the right, then left
Repeat until you’ve completed your full set
8. Clam shells
The side of your booty will be on FIRE with this one.
Place the band around your thighs
Lay on your right side to begin
Bend your knees as pictured, left knee on top of left
Open the left knee away from the right knee
Hold at the top, then close
Do a full set on this side then turn over and repeat
9. Lift and Lower
Place the bands on your thighs
Lay on your right side to begin
Lift the left leg up away from the right leg, keeping the town straight or pointed down
Lower the leg back to starting
Repeat a full set on this side, then turn to the other side
10. Standing Kick Out and Back
Place the bands around your thighs
Stand with your shoulders back and belly drawn in
Kick your right leg out to the side slowly
Do at least 10 of these
Then extend your right leg back behind you, squeezing the back of the leg
After your set, switch to the other side.
Resistance bands are amazing because with little movement, they add a big difference. A bridge without a heavy band, is much different than a bridge WITH a heavy band. Too, having these basics allows you to mix up your workout routine to avoid platuaes and keep your workouts fresh.
From these basics, you are equipped to created other movements such as squat jumps or twisting mountain climbers. The possibilities are endless. Just remember, stay safe and adjust while sitting.
Emily Langlois, CPT
Emily Langlois is a Certified Personal Trainer, Weight Loss Specialist, Group Fitness Instructor and founder of FITonYourTime.com
Visit FITonYourTime.com now!
Emily Langlois is a certified personal trainer, weight loss specialist and group fitness instructor. She founded FITonYourTime to help women achieve their weight-loss and
muscle tone goals through 6-week exercise programs.