White Jeans for June
Last weekend marked the unofficial start of summer. Did you spend Memorial Day barbecuing with friends and family? Or did you go through your wardrobe pulling out all your summer fashions? After all, it’s okay to wear white now.
But, it’s been a long winter, so maybe, after trying on a few outfits, you wish your favorite pants, shorts or summery skirt looked more flattering or felt more comfortable, especially in the lower belly area. You know the region; it’s what some people call “muffin tops” or “love handles.” This is an area a lot of women find so hard to firm up. But when it is toned and tight, not only does it make your stomach look awesome, but your hips, butt, and legs look fantastic, too.
Even if your endgame isn’t a six pack, but just a nicely shaped midsection, the key to fabulous abs is a combination of toning, cardio, and nutrition.
Old-school, but effective
The truth of the matter is you’re not going to get great abs from crunches alone. That doesn’t mean you should completely forget about these exercises. They’re actually a great starting point because they target all the right muscles.
Did you know the abdominal or core area consists of three different muscle groups plus your back muscles? The rectus abdominis are the “six pack” muscles running from ribs to hips. The transverse abdominis hug or wrap around your midsection.
It is the obliques, though, that are responsible for any love handles…or lack thereof. These muscles run diagonally from the ribs to the front of the pelvis. When out of shape, they can slack and rest on top of the waistband of your jeans or shorts, giving name to the infamous “muffin top” look. When worked out and made strong, the obliques cut inward creating a defined and sexy waistline.
The key to targeting this set of abdominal muscles is to include a twist, literally, like a rowing crunch.
- Sit on the floor with knees bent.
- Lean back as far as you comfortably can while keeping a straight back.
- Pull your belly button in toward your spine to engage the abs.
- Clasp hands together in front of you with elbows pointing out.
- Keeping your back braced, twist to the left bringing your elbow slightly down toward the floor, but not touching it.
- Then come back to center before twisting to the right. Return to center after each twist.
- Repeat the whole move for 15 reps.
Toning the underlying muscles is only one part of the vanishing-ab-flab formula. Most women have a layer of fat covering our abdominal muscles. That’s why crunches alone rarely ever lead to flat stomachs. To melt away this fat so you can show off the muscles hiding behind it, you have to get moving. Yes, I mean sweat-producing, calorie-burning cardio.
You don’t have to become a competitive runner to get great cardio results. Even better than running at a steady pace for miles or just full-out sprinting all the time is alternating between the two intensity levels, or interval training. When you switch from a moderate pace to a higher intensity that cardio burst kicks your metabolism into high gear. The best part is that your metabolism stays in that super-productive mode for an extended time, even after you finish your workout. That means prolonged calorie burning.
- Warm-up: 4 minutes walking at a steady state—fast enough to get your heart rate up.
- 90 seconds moderate (on a scale of 1-10, keep the pace at 4-5)
- 90 seconds at level 7
- 90 seconds recovery (level 3-4)
- 90 seconds at level 8
- 90 seconds recovery
- 30 seconds at level 8-9
- Cool-down: 4 minutes steady
- Go through the full cycle FIVE times.
Want even more ideas on how to look great in your white jeans this summer? Here’s one that we don’t think about too often: water retention. When our bodies hold onto extra water, it emphasizes that pouchy look. Here’s how to keep belly bloating to a minimum:
• Swap water for sugary or alcoholic drinks.
Not only will water taste refreshing on hot days, but soda and alcohol add extra calories to your daily intake.
• Cut back on salt.
This mineral naturally makes us retain water, so ease up on it, especially on hot, humid days.
• Load up on fiber.
If you’re craving summer salads, add dandelion greens or spicy arugula for flavor and fiber. Another high-fiber favorite of mine is avocado, which is great in salads, with eggs, or spread over a piece of toasted whole-wheat or multi-grain bread.
• Drink your vegetables.
If you have a juicer at home, throw in some kale, spinach, cucumber, and celery with a little apple or lemon. No juicer? No problem. Skip the creamy smoothies and ask for a fresh green juice at your local juice bar.
Get ready white jeans… here we come!