Words, actions, thoughts, stress and belief systems can cut right to the core. Literally! Unfortunately, it probably isn’t the kind of “cut” you’re seeking. A person’s internal core rests in their heart; externally, however, the core tends to settle in our midsection. How about you… do your “feelings” show around your stomach?
What many people don’t realize is that belly fat is an emotional comfort of sorts for holding onto hurtful situations, past and present. The stress brought on by negativity causes the body to release Cortisol from the adrenal glands. Cortisol is an essential hormone for releasing insulin in order to maintain blood sugar levels, regulate blood pressure, increase immune functionality, and enhance glucose metabolism and inflammatory response. When Cortisol is released in abundance into the bloodstream, it can also trigger unhealthy eating habits and carbohydrate cravings. Keep in mind that diet weighs in at a whopping 80% when it comes to developing ripped abs.
Every muscle in your midsection is vital for keeping in shape and maintaining a healthy posture. Certainly we all can attest to the fact that our core can be attractive and a sign of good health. From magazine covers to TV shows and commercials, a healthy core broadcasts sexiness, energy, vitality, health, and strength.
If you are looking to get chiseled abs, your first course of action should be to cut the stress! Studies indicate that 3 out of 4 people report experiencing major stress at least twice a month. Although not all stress is created equal, minimizing extreme negative and long-term stress can add years to your life.
Positive stress, however, can actually be healthy and contribute to the cut in the core you’re seeking. In fact, positive stress can be a motivator for great abs. Some people are so accustomed to living in stress that they find it difficult to differentiate “good” stress from “bad.” For instance, a job promotion that requires learning new skills actually is associated with good stress, as is planning for a big event (such as a wedding). Bad stress, on the other hand, is associated more with financial, health, and relational situations. Long-term negative stress not only affects the body but the mind and spirit as well. Following these steps will help relieve stress and equip you to conquer your mission toward undeniably perfect abs:
1. Breathe Better. No need to hold it in any longer—this exercise (Deep Breathing with Abdominal Contraction) is as simple as everyday breathing. Stand with feet side by side, hands at sides. Press abdominal muscles down with great tension while exhaling. While flexing the stomach muscles, pull in with all your strength as you forcefully inhale. Create a strong vacuum and hold for one-thousand-one (as in one second). Perform 10-12 reps, breathing with great force on both inhale and exhale.
2. Rewrite Your Story: Script your new life story. Ditch and release your past and current belief systems of possible negative labels, such as “I’m too fat… I’m too ugly… I’ll never be good enough,” etc. Now is your chance to become the person you were created to be without being attached to negative stress or thoughts. Create a step-by-step action plan to accompany your new life story and journal your positive progress.
3. Sleep On It! So strong is sleep deprivation that, for centuries, it’s been used to torture enemy captives of war. Without proper sleep, one literally breaks down by the sheer weight of physical weariness on mind, body, and spirit. As a result, excess fat lingers around the midsections of those who get less than the proper amount of sleep. Studies found that people who sleep six hours per night are 23% more likely to gain weight than those who sleep between seven and nine hours.
4. Eat Clean: Fueling your body with natural, God-given foods equates to less stress. Organic foods are the way to go, if at all possible, so your body doesn’t have to fight toxins, such as pesticides, that may be on fruits and vegetables. When you eat clean, your body receives the proper vitamins and minerals that it is seeking—not the feel good “sugar pick-me-up” that so many people instantly reach for when stressed.
5. Walk or Run it Off: A 20-30 minute brisk walk or jog releases positive endorphins, which are the brain’s feel good neurotransmitters, that relieve stress naturally. Even if you only have 5 to 10 minutes to walk, it will do wonders for your attitude and mood.
Let’s cut to the chase… getting cut to the core takes work, but it’s worth every crunch, breath, stride, vegetable, thought and shut-eye that you take in! It’s (Ab)solutely never too late to make healthy life choices!