Welcome to Exercise #4 of the Ab Challenge and to Habit #4.
VERTICAL TOE TOUCHES
Starting Position: Lie flat on your back on the floor / mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your arms are by your sides. Brace your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Pull your shoulder blades down your back. Try to keep these engagements throughout the exercise. Slowly lift both feet off the floor. Straighten your knees until your thighs are vertical to the floor. Your toes can point away from your body. (DO NOT move your thighs beyond this point as that shifts your body weight from your butt into your low back, causing increased stress to the low back). Put your hands on your thighs. Shoulder blades are flat on the floor.
Gently exhale, contract your abdominals to flex (curl) your trunk, lifting your scapulae (shoulder blades) off the floor, slowly sliding your hands down your thighs towards your ankles. Maintain your head position aligned with your thoracic (upper) spine and avoid flexing your head too far forward. This movement will press your low back into the floor / mat.
Continue curling upward until the tips of your shoulder blades lift completely off the floor. Hold this position for 5 – 10 seconds. Slowly return to your starting position and repeat the movement. Complete a set of quality repetitions. Discontinue the exercise when you are unable to maintain good form.
To maximize the benefits of this exercise and reduce the potential for injury, it is important to control your movement speed, keep your thighs aligned vertically and roll your trunk upwards and downwards during the exercise.
Keep doing your first three habits. 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:
- Take a 5-Minute Action
- Eat Slowly
- Stop When 80% Full
Habit #4 – Eat Lean Protein at Every Meal
- We need protein for almost every metabolic process in the body. Making sure to get enough protein will help preserve lean mass (i.e. bone and muscle), as well as help us feel fuller, longer.
- This is an “easy” habit that is easily understandable.
- Nutritional strategy:
- Add food instead of taking it away.
The How to
- Let’s discuss protein dense foods.
- Lean meats such as ground beef, chicken, turkey, bison, venison
- Fish such as salmon, tuna, cod, roughy
- Dairy such as cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, cheese, etc.
- Beans, peas, legumes, tofu, tempeh, etc.
- Protein supplements
- Milk-based – whey, casein, milk protein blends
- Plant-based – pea, hemp, rice, soy, etc.
- Determine which high-protein foods you like and will eat.
- For now, it doesn’t really matter what specific foods as long as you get into the habit of adding protein to meals.
- If needed, we can discuss how to add protein to your regular menu. click here
- What is a serving size?
- 1 to 1 1/2 palm per meal (women)
- 2 palm size per meal (men)
- Just try adding a bit more protein to each meal, using foods you enjoy.
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? Walk, run, jog, dance, elliptical, Arc, row, bike, whatever you prefer.
Important with any exercise is nutrition. Working out won’t get you to your goal. You’ll have to tweak your daily food intake. But important to:
- Find healthy food you like.
- Learn how to substitute.
- Order it “your way” when eating out.
Reminder: Don’t be perfect. Just be better. Small changes daily will lead to BIG results.
Have questions? As always, I’m only one click away.