Editor’s note: Living Fit is a new column featuring nutrition and exercise advice from Newburyport resident Kate McKay, a personal trainer, fitness competitor, author and business consultant. It will run on the fourth Friday of every month in this space.
Fall is here! Time to pull out your favorite jeans and enjoy the beautiful weather! But are you having a tough time getting them on because maybe you enjoyed the summer just a little too much?
Follow these five easy steps to reduce the bloat and feel more confident while enjoying this beautiful time of year:
1. Perfect your posture. Remember the skeletal model that you used in the corner of science class when you were a kid? How it hung from a hook on the very tip of its head? Imagine that you, too, are being hung from that same hook, and feel how your whole spine lifts up long and lean. Feel your shoulders roll back in proper position, abdominals lifting. Now, look at yourself in the mirror and smile. Hold that pose!
2. Visualize yourself lean. Exercise your core muscles by visualizing a greater distance between your pelvis and your rib cage. Shimmy your hips back and forth as if you are trying to get out of a too-tight shirt, and then reach your arms up overhead, to increase that sense of length. Stretch from one tip of the finger on one hand to the sky slowly side to side 10 times, feeling the stretch through your entire waistline. As your arms gently float down to your side, hold the additional waist space in your body and mind. So much of our outward appearance is reflected in how we hold ourselves on the inside. Revisit this simple stretch and visualization throughout the day for a longer, leaner look.
3. Try yoga. Yoga is a great way to lengthen and stretch your body from the inside out, producing a leaner look and flatter abs. No time for a class? Try the yoga plank pose. Start by getting into the pushup position (you can also rest on your forearms with hands flat and fingers spread), and engage the core muscles. Hold the position starting for just 10 seconds, eventually working up to 60 seconds. Repeat this exercise three times a day.
4. Watch your diet. Do you know what foods make you bloat? You do? Please stop eating them. Too much fruit, alcohol, diet drinks — these are belly bloaters and bathing-suit busters. Are you someone that says to yourself that you will quit it tomorrow, next week, New Year’s and then don’t? And why is today, right now, the best time? Because you know it is a problem, and by reading this and nodding your head, yes, you have let yourself fully in on your little secret.
5. Hydrate. Drink up your water! A minimum of 64 ounces of the clear stuff a day flushes your body of toxins and keeps the cells of your body healthy.
Today is your day to start living your life as you define it, with flat abs and a sense of self-confidence, knowing that you can make the changes to live your best life now.
Start by eliminating or minimizing one or all of your culprits. Make the change today, because the smallest change with a big-heart commitment leads to the most powerful shifts in our lives.
Make it a great day!
Kate McKay, an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and business consultant, resides in Newburyport. For more fitness tips, visit her website at www.kate-mckay.com. Please feel free to submit any fitness and health questions to Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org.