What are your core muscles?
Core muscles or simply ‘core’ is a series of muscles stretching around the middle portion of your body that makes it easy to move in many directions such as turning your body from side to the side, standing upright, walking, running, dancing, sitting down, bending, stability, reaching over your head . . . . just to name a few.
These muscles need to be activated to stay strong. Sitting or laying in a completely relaxed position for extended times makes them very flaccid and shapeless resulting in poor posture, flab around the waist, poor breathing, excess fat around the internal organs and slow circulation.
Because excess weight, especially in your mid section, is a marker for pre-diabetes it’s very important that you keep these muscles active.
How to keep your core active
Your core area needs movement to maintain strength and flexibility. For the human body to be healthy it has to move. Certain professions lend themselves to core activation such as construction work, school teachers, farming, factory work, policing and even parenting (depending on your point of view).
If you are in a profession that doesn’t require you to be actively moving every day then you must make time to do so on your own.
The best core movements are those involving functional activity. This means that your exercises should mimic your natural movements.
When mowing the lawn or vacuuming the house, for example, you are pushing and pulling — the best exercise for these movements are push-ups and pull-ups. The great Herschel Walker, who played pro football for the Dallas Cowboys, never used weights when training in school and was in phenomenal condition because of doing body weight and other functional exercises.
As mention above, you activate your core muscles when bending or reaching overhead on tippy toes. These movements not only involve your lower body but also your entire midsection. Overhead squats and lunges using either body weight, resistance bands or dumbbells are great for strengthening not just your legs but also your core.
A great way to strengthen your shoulder muscles is by doing the ‘farmers walk’. If you have ever had to carry two heavy pails in either hand you are doing the farmers walk. The good thing about this movement is that it also activates and strengthens your core muscles.
Your core area can also be exercised when doing isolation exercises such as arm curls or triceps pushes and shoulder lifts. You do this by focusing on holding them tight. This is a secret many bodybuilders use to keep their abs shredded.
I have been a big proponent of isolation exercises in the past and although I still do them my focus these days are on multipurpose workouts because of the natural movements involved . . . and they keep my core muscles active.
Can you spot reduce?
As you know by now it’s very difficult to spot reduce, so doing sit-ups and crunches by themselves will not give you the elusive six pack. To reveal those hidden gems you will need to do more intense workouts. These would include sprints, plyometrics and slowing down the speed at which you do resistance exercises. I like to do HIIT (high intensity interval training) three times per week for best results.
To shed excess weight that could potential lead to pre-diabetes and other health issues I would also recommend the 3 week diet. Just imagine three weeks from now being able to fit into that new pair of jeans or to show off your sexy arms and legs. Visit the three-week diet here.
P.S. Go to How to Prevent Pre-diabetes for information on how to keep your motivation high and in line with your weight loss goals.