Fitolution – Exercise #7 and Habit #7

Welcome to Exercise #7 of the Ab Challenge and to Habit #7.

Exercise: Supine Spinal Twist with Rib Grab and Progressions

·     Step 1

Starting Position: Lie on your side on a mat with your legs and feet stacked. Both knees are bent to about 90 degrees and the knees are tucked up toward the hips. Your hips and shoulders are stacked and vertical to the floor. The spine and head are in a straight line. Reach your lower arm out along the mat at chest level. Wrap your upper arm around your trunk holding your ribcage. Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Pull the shoulder blades down toward your hips without moving your trunk. Try to hold these engagements throughout the exercise.

·     Step 2

Gently exhale and begin to rotate your trunk by pulling the ribcage around with your upper arm. Try to keep the hips still. If your upper thigh slides backwards your hips are moving. Continue to rotate your trunk until you feel a comfortable stretch. Do not bounce or push. You should not feel pain. A deeper bend at the hips along with abdominal engagement will help prevent arching in your low back during the stretch. Grasping under your ribcage facilitates the rotation and stretch of the trunk and reduces stress in the shoulder joint.

·     Step 3

Hold this position for 15 – 30 seconds then relax and return to your starting position. Perform 2 – 4 repetitions then repeat to the opposite side.

·     Step 4

Progression 1: Straighten the bottom leg and rest the inside of the top knee on a small riser. In this variation, the top leg may rotate with your trunk. You will see and feel the top leg sliding backward during the rotation. Try to stabilize your hips while allowing rotation to occur only in the trunk.

·     Step 5

Progression 2: Remove the riser place the top knee firmly on the floor. In this variation, the top thigh may lift off the floor and rotate with your trunk. Try to facilitate stabilizing the hips by pressing the knee into the floor and only allowing rotation to occur in the trunk.

·     Step 6

Progression 3: Repeat the same exercise, but begin with both arms reaching out in front of your body at chest level. As you begin to rotate, bend the upper elbow, sliding it towards your trunk, then unfold the arm in the opposite direction at chest level as you continue your rotation and open your chest toward the ceiling. Rotate until you feel a comfortable stretch in the trunk and shoulder. Avoid arching your back or rotating your hips. This will increase the stretch in the shoulder and chest, in addition to your trunk.


Keep doing your first–sixth habit.  Why?  Habits are cumulative — they build on each other, one by one.  So a new habit doesn’t mean ditch the old ones.  A new habit means you simply add one more tool to your tool belt.  
In other words, keep doing the older habits – 

  • Habit #1 – Taking a 5-Minute Action 
  • Habit #2 – Eat Slowly
  • Habit #3 – Stop When 80% Full
  • Habit #4 – Eat Lean Protein at Every Meal
  • Habit #5 – Eat at Least 5 Servings of Colorful Fruit/Vegetables
  • Habit #6 – Make Smart Carb Choices

Habit #7: Eat Healthy Fats
Key points –

  • Healthy fats:
    • help with hormone synthesis, recovery, and other key metabolic tasks;
    • help regulate appetite and satiety; and
    • make food taste good.
  • Healthy fats are best found in whole, minimally processed foods.
  • We need a balance of healthy fats to feel and function best.
  • This is an “easy” habit to understand but a little harder to do properly, since it’s easy to overeat fats.

How to –

  • There are different types of fat, with different effects in the body.
  • Ensure that you are able to buy, prepare, and have healthy fats / fat-containing foods on hand, easily available.
  • Let’s explore how to add healthy fats to your regular menu. This habit lends itself well to substitutions.
  • Approximate serving size is,
    • Women: 1 thumb of fat per meal
    • Active Women: 1-2 thumbs of fat per meal
  • Understand that healthy fats — while nutritious — are still energy-dense and should be used sparingly.
  • Keep it simple. Focus on getting healthy fat sources and correct portions. Then, improve quality, variety, and consistency. You can consider an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, if desired.

Strength or Cardio:

Is it a strength or cardio day? If you don’t have a solid strength exercise plan, refer to the plan given on Day #1.  Cardio day?  Ex: walk, run, jog, dance, elliptical, Arc, row, bike, whatever you prefer.

There’s been a lot of talk about Prebiotics and Probiotics.  According to PN, both are essential to gut health, which is essential to immunity. 

Prebiotics help nourish our bacteria and/or help move food through the GI tract. 

Best whole food sources of prebiotics are –

  • Vegetables: asparagus, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, and onions
  • Carbs: barley, beans, oats, quinoa, rye, wheat, potatoes, and yams 
  • Fruit: apples, bananas, berries, citrus, kiwi 
  • Fats: flax seeds and chia seeds 

Servings – Healthy? Try 2-3 servings of prebiotic-rich foods each day.

Supplements – 2-4 grams of prebiotics per day can help to feed healthy gut bacteria and keep things balanced.

Probiotics (the bacteria) help us recover from illness faster. 

Best whole food sources of probiotics are –

  • Dairy: yogurt, cheese, and kefir with live and active cultures 
  • Fermented vegetables: pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi Fermented soy: miso, tempeh 

Servings – Healthy? Try 1-2 servings of probiotic-rich foods each day.

Supplements – Starting doses are between 3 and 5 billion (of live organisms).  Your doctor could recommend an increase to 10 billion if you have specific health issues. 

Other things to discuss with your doctor if supplementing pre- and probiotics –

  1. Is there a benefit to taking at the same time? 
  2. Since bacteria release toxins, discuss reactions i.e. feel worse before feeling better.  

Have questions?  Need some guidance?  As always, I’m only one click away.